In the early hours of this morning, during a “night feed”, I was made aware of yet another atrocious act of terror within the UK this year alone. When morning came, I sat with a coffee and H playing at my side and turned on the news. Just seeing the flashing blue lights on a street in our capital was enough to make my eyes well before the reporter had even started speaking. H turned to me and placed her hand on my knee. Her innocence overwhelmed me as she gave me an unsure smile. I know I am not alone in feeling a great wealth of emotions over raising a child in this all too often sad world.
How will I teach her to have enough fear to help keep her safe, but enough braveness to see beauty in the world. How will I teach her not to trust strangers, but not so much so that she overlooks the kindness in many. How will I someday attempt to explain to her why some people do bad things, especially when I can barely comprehend that myself. How will I someday explain death and grief to her in a way that acknowledges our heartbreak but also honours the dead. I think of all the things that I want to protect her from. Not only the obvious, but the smaller things like being picked on, having her heart broken, her first loss. How will I teach her to be aware of threats, but to not demonstrate prejudice against others and make assumptions.
I must remind myself, and teach her, that for every awful act there are so many more positive ones to counteract it. The stories following Manchester of all the selfless acts; like people rushing in to help, people offering places to stay, cafes donating free food, these were each so uplifting at a time when we needed them most.
I want to raise little H to be courageous and kind. Cliche as it is, she is the next generation and I hope she grows to do great things. Whether that be as great as running the country, or by being one of those truly wonderful people who remind you of the greatness within the world. My heart is breaking for those affected by the Manchester and London attacks. My prayers are with you.
Hang in there Britain.