Life is either fear or love, there is nothing else.
I am full of fear. I am scared that I am getting it wrong. I am scared that my interest in boarding school is not for the sake of my kids but rather a coverup for my own inadequacies as a Mother, a way of shipping my kids off and letting someone else sort them out. I am scared that my boys will go in one end of the private education system as healthy happy kids and come out the other as indulged, self centred, arrogant twats. I am scared that the other parents at the school will be leading lives that clash with my own values, that there will be a culture of material striving that leaves me feeling cold and disillusioned with the world. I am fearful that there are voices in my head that I am not listening too, voices that will say I told you so if my kids are ever unhappy or frustrated at their lives. I am worried that I am not doing enough to create the changes in the world that I believe need to be made. I feel like a fraud, espousing the virtues of rural living and community and yet shipping my kids off to patch up all their potential redneck traits in the big smoke. I feel anxious that my daughter will miss her brothers so much that she withdraws into her shell and that I will leave her lonely and adrift. I am worried, I am fearful, I am scared, I am tired, I am confused.
If I read what I am writing, penned by someone else, I would say "don't be ridiculous, you are a fabulous Mum, you have great kids, you are just trying to give them every opportunity possible, its normal to feel anxious, it will all be fine" and I would mean it. But there is an underlying issue here that needs to be addressed. Somewhere in all the complex layers of this decision that we are currently making regarding our kids school education lies an element that has nothing at all to do with my kids, or the education system, or the ability of the world to deliver xyz. The underlying truth is that I am unable to love and honour myself and so everything I do, every action I take is trying to fill a void which is unable to be filled with external actions. My fears around education and parenting and my career and my material wealth and and and all boil down to one thing, I don't feel enough.
Somewhere along the line I feel that education has become warped to serve the mind and ego only and that we have become slaves to the system, a system in which it feels increasingly hard to maintain a strong sense of self or an intimate feeling of belonging and of self worth. I believe we are born fully able to love ourselves unconditionally. But as we grow, we loose this capacity and all of a sudden we are no longer enough. I feel we are shown, from a very early age, examples of how we could and should be different. At preschool there are dress up boxes to encourage us to pretend we are someone else. We are compared to our siblings, to our cousins, to our parents friends children. We overhear that little Johnny is reading and he is only 3.27 years and 4 hours old. Somewhere on the journey it becomes more acceptable to be anything but exactly who we are. Somewhere along the journey we stop being enough.
Ultimately I want my kids to grow in a way that allows them to be the best version of themselves they can be. Given that I have suggested life is either fear or love it follows that the best version of themselves is love, pure, unconditional love. The ability to love unconditionally must start with the self, if you can't be loving toward yourself, if you can't honour your uniqueness and have confidence in what you bring to the world you are unable to be a mirror to others nor will you be able to attract the love that you seek. So in making the decision of where to send my kids to school or whether or not to let them watch tv, in deciding whether to spend the 100s of 1000s of dollars on private school fees or whether to take the pressure off financially and "educate" them in different ways the answer must come back to unconditional love. I cannot teach my kids anything, I cannot form them into anything other than exactly who they already are, all I can do, ultimately, is mirror to them what it means to know and love yourself, without that lesson all else will fall on barren ground.
Ultimately prevention is better than cure. If I could create one thing for my kids it would be the undeniable knowledge that they are enough. I now choose to stop trying to make my kids mini versions of what I want, or think I want. I now choose to just let them go and tell them they are loved and safe to make mistakes and discover the world and that they will be just fine.
I then need to tell myself the same...and genuinely hear it.
I love you Phoebe, you are the most precious person in my world. You are enough xox