Some people will laugh when I say I had a lucky life as a kid, but I did. The losses I experienced were buffered by the love I received.
I grew up in country Australia, in small-ish towns, with family around me & people I knew. We could & did roam at will. We had few rules: come home when the street lights come on and; don’t swim in the creek (the latter we largely ignored). If I was picked on it was because in the new town we moved to, I didn’t know the other kids & I was shy for a while. They called me “snob”. The kids in my old town would have laughed at the thought of me being shy or a snob, so it wasn’t fair or nice, but I wasn’t picked on for my race, colour or religion, or for long. On Christmas Eve all us kids went to whatever church everyone else was going to that year. The only wars we staged were over who sat where and with whom on the school bus. We were made to go to school. It wasn’t a privilege or an option.
I’m aware as a child I was fairly sheltered from the stuff that goes on behind closed doors. I know bad things happened. There was alcohol, drugs, violence, unplanned pregnancies, losses, disappointments, grief, desperation… afflictions and effects in a modern, affluent society.
I well remember well being 16, and feeling the walls of community closing around me. I look back now and know it was just me growing out of the cocoon that had sheltered, nurtured and given me the strength and momentum I was feeling the push of. It wasn’t perfect but if I had kids I’d go straight back there or somewhere like it, such is the strength of my convictions about the benefits of good community.
This doesn’t mean I live in a bubble. I am tragically aware my life then and now is the worldwide exception rather than the rule. I have a dream. I dream all kids will grow up feeling confident and being safe, knowing everyone is the same but different & that’s ok. I dream they will have enough. Love, food, water, shelter, education will take them to a future they can imagine living & thriving in and passing on to others. I dream they will experience enough challenges to develop character but nothing they can’t handle or will damage them.
I dream they will be neither persecutors or victims.
Having been independent and out in the world for several decades, I again feel the draw of community and know it will have its place in my life soon enough. Within it both locally and globally is a continuing opportunity for me to manifest those dreams.
This post is my tribute to “16-year-old Amina Filali, who took her own life to escape marriage to the man whom her family says raped her. Escape for Amina came in the form of a pill of rat poison she bought in a market for 60¢.” I began writing it before I saw the news article which led me to think about Amina’s dreams . Even though she is no longer alive her dreams will be alive as long as we keep dreaming for her and others who need our dreams, for I believe just as nothing can be accomplished with only dreams, also nothing can be accomplished without them.
I dream the kids of today & tomorrow will grow up, grow old, take my dreams and make them obsolete. I dream they will dream their own dreams, better dreams.
I dream this for Amina Filali.