In truth, it was going to be difficult anyway. I've been absent for a long time from both social media and publishing blog posts. But right now, as I feel compelled to speak again, the situation in Ukraine is unfolding in front of our eyes via world media.
So, what to say? What can I say?
I have this push-pull reaction, which may be familiar to you.
I’m drawn into a ‘what must it be like?’ hideous imagining prompted by the human stories. I'm appalled by the impact on mothers and children, made totemic by the bombing of a maternity hospital.
Then I recoil from what can feel like the voyeurism of watching a car crash.
Then I try to get my head around the history and geopolitics of it all. What it might mean for my own family, not to mention the future of our entire world.
Then I pan out to the backdrop: an ongoing pandemic, climate crisis, resurgent nationalism, endemic racism... all the many existential forces that we face.
Gentle parents are very adept at seeing things from a child’s eye view. OK, so not all the time, when it is over something seemingly so irrational as now wanting the green cup when they have just spent the last 30 minutes screaming for the red one. But on the whole, it makes good sense to try and get down to their level and empathise with how it must be to be someone with big feelings inside a tiny body.
We know this. Yet somehow we fail to apply the same logic to ourselves.
We tend to forget that big people have a hard time too.
We all know the quote:
"Your child is not giving you are hard time. They are having a hard time."
Well, I’d like you repeat after me:
"I am not giving anyone a hard time. I am having a hard time.”
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We’ve been stuck in fight-fight-freeze mode for the best part of a year. Even simple decisions like...