I had planned to blog about roses this week. In particular, I wanted to blog about the last flower clinging onto this plant at the bottom of the garden. I couldn’t believe there was a lone rose still in bloom in November.
But all this seems so trivial compared to recent events in Paris. I generally blog about our allotment, crafting and my vintage finds. I'm aware of how lucky we are to have a safe and comfortable life. My mind is a jumble of thoughts at the moment and I wanted to try and write some of them down. This isn't just about Paris, there is so much sadness and killing of innocent people in the news and it is hard, even as an adult, to process it all.
Blogging about gardening feels unimportance at the moment. And yet, this rose has become more poignant to me after last week’s terrorist attack. All the other leaves have withered and fallen to the ground, but a single crimson rose flowers on. Life prevails. My late-Grandmother always said “where there’s life, there’s hope”. You could argue that I am naïve, but I refuse to think that all we have ahead of us is fear and hatred.
As a Mum I worry. We want our children to feel secure, but our world seems increasingly insecure. We have not watched the recent news whilst Magoo has been around…we watch it when she has gone to bed. As I flicked through the channels yesterday, she happened to see some of the Paris vigils at the end of the evening news and asked: ‘why are those people so sad?’. My husband told her people in France had died and their family and friends were very upset.
His explanation avoids the topic of terrorism, but Magoo is six and I think it was better to say something than nothing at all. Magoo experienced her first taste of grief last year when her Great-Grandmother died. We’ve always been open about the topic of death. We’ve talked about it being a natural part of the cycle of life. Admittedly we talked about it in the context of old age or illness. Broaching the subject of people losing their lives prematurely through violence is probably too much for her at the moment. I’m aware that Magoo is one of the lucky ones, the fear of violence and death are part of some children’s daily lives. I want to be engaged with the world we live in, I don’t want to turn away. I want Magoo to be engaged too, but it's hard to know when it is appropriate and how to talk about these topics. This piece in The Guardian suggests we “give children the chance to tell you what they know and how they are processing it”. I'm sure as Magoo gets older, she will have more questions about the wider world. There will be events that scare her. Fear is a normal reaction, maybe we shouldn’t try and shield our children from it completely.
Many other bloggers have written about this situation recently. Hurrah for Gin illustrates it perfectly with this simple illustration:
As adults we’re scared too, so how do we not pass this fear onto our children? How do we see the positives in situations like this? Over the weekend I read the post “How do I talk to my children about terrorism when I don’t understand it myself?” by Cardiff Mummy. She writes about the Fred Rogers quote, which has been widely shared since the Paris attacks:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
The vast majority of people in our country are aware of the dire situation in places such as Syria, Beirut, Kenya and the loss of innocent life across the globe. But we feel helpless in the face of it all. So it is truly amazing that there are people out there making a hands-on effort to help. The police, paramedics, doctors, security guards and aid workers have my utmost respect. They are usually first on the scene when tragedy strikes. They go into the eye of the storm when everyone else is understandably running for their lives. Similarily, charities supporting refugees and organisations such as Medicine Sans Frontier work in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. They provide ongoing support once the world's media have moved on.
So maybe this rose isn’t so trivial after all. It has encouraged me to write down my deeper thoughts and feelings and in the process I have read more widely on the subject, it's good to feel more informed. I also feel more confident about talking to my daughter if she asks questions in the future about serious world events.
Above all, I agree that we need to focus on the helpers. It is a positive we can take from this situation. We must try and support each other, we must support those who help others. There are far more people on this planet who want peace rather than hatred. We mustn’t think that all is lost and the world is a terrible place. There is an alternative to hatred. And we should be encouraged to share this with our children.
If you can, please help to support these amazing charities helping vulnerable people:
This week I'm linking up with:
#brilliantblogposts over on honestmum.com
The life affirming 'How Does Your Garden Grow' over on mammasaurus.co.uk
Share With Me over on www.letstalkmommy.com