Monday 6 May 2013

Thought Picnic: The Barrier to Confiding in our Guardians

My troubles in me
As I sat on the train on my way back to North Wales this evening I began to think about things that have happened to me that probably would not have become big problems further on in my life if I had someone who could help to talk to then.
Some might wonder if my childhood was as idyllic as I have so painted it in many blogs before, what could have left me tongue-tied on more personal and emotional issues that I have now acquired the knack for writing about now.
Under their noses
Indeed, I had an enchanted childhood, we lacked for nothing materially and we had much freedom and the support of extended family and servants for the convenience of my parents and ourselves, we had it good.
However, within that somewhat safe setting, we lost our innocence and were exploited by those who were supposed to care for us and somehow we never seemed to pluck up the courage against threat and fear to approach our guardians to put a stop to the atrocities.
Unresolved emotional baggage
In the end and I think I speak for many, we have carried humongous emotional baggage into our adulthood where many are still trying to get some sort of normalcy in their lives and existence hoping the situation if we have learnt the better of our past does not become a vicious cycle of the failings that we then pass on to our wards.
It goes without saying and people of our parents’ generation probably thought children had no emotional problems, we could be seen but not be heard, we were to listen but never to engage in discussion, we ran errands but our latitude for initiative was constrained to a modal expectation of the best behaviour we were to acquire even if we had no example of such character.
Tradition gave voice and truth to the older, it gave honour and absolution to the community leader and if the child ever did have a voice that got heard, at home it was trouble and in school it was radical – in both cases curtailment came through corporal punishment, the child was moulded by stripes and pain – a cuddle or a kiss was a sign of weakness, whilst encouragement if any was never effusive for the fear that the child might become big-headed.
Fear for respect
I was however taken aback but the resonance of a tweet I sent on the train which read thus – “When our parents confused our fear of them with our respect of them, they lost the many times we could have confided in them.
Our fear of our guardians was supposed to be a moderating influence on our behaviour, the fear of rebuke and harsh discipline apparently made us think of the consequences of our actions the inference was our fear was a sign of respect but what that also did was it raised barriers to interaction and conversation where it was necessary, we have internalised much hurt and abuse until when we have the independence to give voice to what could have festered for decades.
Break that chain
It is interesting that this issue is not just identified with cultures I am quite familiar with because even in Spain lenticular printed posters are being put up that reveal at a child’s eye-level what adults would not see at their eye-level, information about who they could call if they do need to confide in someone.
Sadly, everywhere somewhere a child cared for by someone does not necessarily have the sympathetic ear of that person on the deeper issues of life – questions, concerns, troubles and fears – we must break that chain and refuse to allow the damage we have experienced become a generational heirloom handed down to those that follow us.

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