I have noticed something worrying about the dynamics in our playground at school. Children are nervous about telling people when things do not feel right because there is a culture of being labelled as a ‘snitch’ or ‘grass’ or ‘tell-tale’.
So the children are learning to keep quiet, not saying out loud what they feel and know, whether it is something that has happened to them or something they have observed. This feels like a big ouch for all of us (I am sure our playground is not unique) – that children do not feel safe enough to express what they are feeling.
More so, I think this is perpetuated beyond the playground, in a society that does not want to open its eyes to what is really going on (ongoing conflict worldwide from the disharmony in our homes – accepting arguing as a natural, even healthy part of relationships – to full blown warfare between nations and everything in between, including domestic violence, road rage and cultural and religious divides). We blindly carry on, keeping quiet, whilst all around us these awful things continue.
Are we hoping someone else will do something; are we making excuses for not putting our heads above the parapet to say “This is madness”, all the while trying to convince ourselves that it is all OK?
As long as our nests are secure and apparently unaffected (“sure we argue sometimes, but the war is overseas”) we carry on regardless of the hurt and chaos. Heads down, eyes averted in case we see the same confusion and/or pain in someone else’s eyes and have to feel our own.
Back in the playground the child shakes away their disbelief that no one else is seeing and feeling what they are seeing and feeling, and starts to normalise the things that are not OK: rough play, foul words, gender competition, cruelty to fellow human beings etc.
As I observe the beginnings of this behaviour in the playground I am shaken to my core by the impact of not having spoken up and I am inspired by the fact that I always have a choice:
I can start to practise speaking, writing, standing and walking from a truth I know inside,
I can continue to play the social game – the well-oiled machine of my beautiful manners, well-rehearsed small talk and polite pleasantries.
I feel clumsy as I flounder between these two things: the comfy, familiar habit of social niceties and rightness, and the emerging, urgent, ‘loving humanity’ demand for truth. So just in case I hesitate for a moment, I consider “What happens when I/we do not speak up?”
The playground scene is a brilliant micro of the world. If we do not speak up and make ourselves heard, everyone suffers, getting used to a standard of behaviour between human beings that is cruel, divisive, aggressive and combative.
This foundation is then built into our lives and society: in our relationships – with a lack of respect and judgment about gender that is rife; in our attitude towards life – that it is a dog-eat-dog, combative world and that we have to be tough to survive; in our attitude towards work – do only what is required to keep ourselves provided for and safe; and in our relationship with ourselves – “I am worthless in the big picture and too small to make a difference.”
With deep appreciation for the love and support of the Benhayon family, the work of Universal Medicine and the inspiring life changes made by Students of the Livingness, I am allowing myself to see that there is another way which can turn all this on its head, and that my speaking the truth of what I feel and see in the world will not be treacherous, threatening and scary.
That, and in my willingness to re-learn to say things out loud, I can make a difference and the ripple effect of this is much more far reaching than I can possibly imagine.
Simply put, and in conclusion, my polite silence means I am part of letting the rot continue and pervade. Not OK!
“The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Albert Einstein
by Matilda Clark, Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Trainee Teacher, Mother of 3, Hampshire, UK