Friday, 25 October 2013

Finding Perspective

Frustrated again at the half Lego body lying, decapitated on the bathroom floor; the toilet seat that miraculously seems to have wee on it  ("it wasn't me, I ALWAYS wipe it up" hmmm) and the overflowing cardboard box in the kitchen which is for me to put in junk left lying around the house but has become a new place to keep it instead, I wonder at the 'difficulties' of my life and try to keep perspective.

I sigh over the stains on the white shirt which haven't come out in the wash (and I did use Ariel - they're not whiter than white, after all) and remind myself that somewhere out there in the world is a child whose clothes have never been inside a washing machine.  Somewhere there is a child who may not have clothes at all.

Wondering yet again how we are going to help Max to control his temper after another explosive outburst this morning, I remember that some children don't have a mum or dad to help them learn self control.  What will become of them?

Feeling irritated at the boy's obsession with money and their focus on constantly saving up for things, I think about the children who are sent to work at the same age as my little ones.  Exploited and prohibited from having a proper childhood, these tinies work long hours for not even half of my boy's weekly pocket money.  They can't 'save up for things' because the money is needed for basic essentials.  Forced to be adults before their time, these children don't know how it feels to have a new toy car or Lego kit they've been watching on eBay for weeks.  They don't even hope or dream for such things.

I feel shut out of my boy's lives when I walk into a room while they are dressing, only for them to cover themselves up.  "I changed your nappies!" I exclaim to them.  "All your body parts grew inside me!"  Embarrassing, I know.  Then I remember how many children out there don't have the opportunity to cover up.  Their bodies are infiltrated, abused, ravaged by adults who use them for their own disgusting pleasure.  Some of their bodies are even used to make money, when they should be wrapped up in their pj's and snuggled under cuddly blankets with those who love them.  

The screen battle is my consant war.  "Go outside!" I shout at them. "It's a beautiful day!" I think about the children who not only don't have screens, but are kept inside all day and night, a prisoner to someone else's demands.  No fresh air, no footballs, no pooh sticks over a bridge.  Just the never ending story of being held captive.

Racing up and down the stairs at bedtime, I wonder if the boys will ever go to sleep and give me some peace.  What excuses will they think up next to call me from their beds?  "I can hear a scratching", "I've just figured out that conkers go mouldy really quickly", "Max's teeth scare me" to name but a few. And then I remind myself that for some children, bedtime is the most terrifying of all.  Not knowing whether they will wake again the next morning, they go to sleep in fear of their lives and the lives of their family.  Some children, fleeing the violence, don't have a bed to sleep in or even a mummy to tuck them in and stroke their hair.  

I feel bored of our meals.  I look at 'family meals recipes' online to try and find something more interesting for us to eat.  And then I remember that some children are grateful for the same food day in, day out because otherwise they might not have any food at all.  

And so, I try to put my own worries and frustrations into perspective.  There's a whole world out there that needs us.  Sometimes it's good to lift our head from our own busy little lives and take a daring peek at what the lives of others look like.  It might just propel us into action.

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