The most innocent, precious, vulnerable people on this earth are babies and children.
Most of us get the baby part, infants are tiny and can not fed themselves, or communicate with words. Although infants can, when offered the opportunity, often be able to access milk and breast feed. Infants do communicate in their own way, with sounds and movements and facial expressions. As long as we are paying attention and attuning with our baby, as a parent figure, and, or a caregiver, the baby is in essence seen and heard.
Let’s take a look at children. As I raised my kids, I thought a lot about safety as the bottom line foundation. Once they were around 7 and 10, I told them and their friends, “I have one rule at this home.” I called it “No injury.” And I explained that you can have fun, just don’t hurt your body or your heart, and do the same for others.
I also felt my kids were the most important people in the world to me. And I wanted to be as mindful and loving and balanced of a Mom as I could be. I also knew that I would not be a perfect parent.
Being a psychotherapist, with a developmental and attachment lens and specializing in working through trauma, I am very aware of how safety and trust are the most essential elements of a foundation for well being.
Trust and safety starts at home, and then extends to other significant connections, such as other caregivers, extended family, and friends. The next layer of connections, commonly take place in the school environment.
A place to learn and build other relationships with adults and peers. Parents entrust school to be a safe place for their children to learn and be seen, heard, and protected.
When children can not be safe, what is the foundation we are on ? Safety and trust is the ground upon which everything we consider human is built.
In order to honor the innocence and vulnerability of children, we need to raise the level of safety. Apathy is not the answer, and certainly acting on rage is not going to improve our lives. Feel the feelings, yes, grief, sadness, fear, confusion, anger, devastation. Cry it out, talk it out, write it out. And then come back home to your heart. Your heart of compassion. Hold compassion for yourself and your own heart, and hold compassion for children. Children are dependent on the adults in their lives. Children do not have a lot of choices. Children are capable of tremendous trust. That trust is a gift to us. Trust is a gift that is offered and it is our responsibility, not only as parents, but as adults to be mindful and considerate of the safety of children.
First, children are children. Children are not miniature adults. Children are worthy of safety and trust. As compassionate and accountable adults, we can make a difference for children. Our words and actions are what we are accountable for.
Remember yourself as a child. Most of us have a variety of positive and negative memories from childhood. Remember when you felt safe, seen, heard and cared for. Remember that, let it sink in. Now make a decision how you can help build that experience for children now. We each can offer something that can make a difference.