Recent events in Ukraine have triggered a few emotions inside me. I was growing up in Yugoslavia in the nineties when the war was ranging on in the Balkans. And although I was among the lucky ones who lived in Slovenia where war impacts were minimal, it still stirs up unpleasant emotions. It brings up lots of confusion about this world and sanctity of life on earth.
I ask myself, how is this even possible in 2022?
Damage caused in our childhood is all inclusive, it affects us all. All that’s needed later on in life is something to trigger that emotion and we start behaving irrationally. I think there are too many scarred and wounded people in this world, especially those in power managing affairs of the world. Implications of their decision making can be detrimental and have long-lasting consequences. We are seeing it unfold as I write these lines.
The whole saga appears like a viscous circle, catch 22. How can we escape this loop? How to stop this madness?
We are given instructions and asked to pass a driving test before we are allowed to drive the car on public roads. What about a set of instructions that would equip parents with some fundamental knowledge before having children? Something that would help them recognize some of the exposures to their early childhood adversities that might have affected their personality, how they behave and traits they pass on to their children? Examples of such early adversity include child abuse and neglect, exposure to violence, and family economic hardship.
How many of us have escaped such adversities, if any at all? Regardless to what extent we may have experienced it. And still, there’s no subject in school that touches upon these important areas that would equip children to better deal with these issues. It could even reach their parents and help them heal. Instead, society is still keeping our children in dark until they become struggling adults. The extent of the struggle varies, but still, it is obvious. They show up as increased number of people with depression, addictions, mental, and health related problems, etc.
There are exceptions – educational environments such as Waldorf, Montessori, Steiner, and similar, progressive schools that equip children with emotional intelligence and set them up for a better future. But those schools and number of individuals coming out of that particular educational process are still a minority.
Science, and having to prove that things work before they get accepted still plays a major role in our society. Luckily science is catching up in this area and there have been studies that support and find trauma-informed practices in school curriculum very beneficial.
We can achieve significant shift with a simple compassionate inquiry. I’ll dive more into this area and what could be done in one of my following posts.
To wrap this one up, I really like what Gabor Mate says: “All of our suffering comes from the avoidance of truth. It’s truth that liberates. People have to experience the truth of themselves within themselves.”
Experience the truth and the truth will liberate you
“Only when compassion is present will people allow themselves to see the truth.” A.H. Almaas
What better way to close this thought, if not with the following song. Sing your heart out and let the whole world hear you!
“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be” (Greatest love of all, by Whitney Houston)
Readings and reference points
Thomas, M. S., Crosby, S., & Vanderhaar, J. (2019). Trauma-Informed Practices in Schools Across Two Decades: An Interdisciplinary Review of Research. Review of Research in Education, 43(1), 422–452. https://doi.org/10.3102/0091732×18821123