Friday, April 4, 2008

Disasters of another kind

Last night there was a fatal fire in which a mother, a family friend living with them and their eight children and grand children died. Their gas had been turned off since 2005. They could not pay for it and according to the news report, they used space heating to stay warm. It has not been confirmed but the speculation is that it may have set the house ablaze while they slept. This seems like a simple mishap but the news item showed a pattern of these disasters occurring because utilities are turned off when people cannot pay. A situation made worse since the law was changed. I think of the eight children and the one little body who described the hard time one of them had been having at school and that nobody was nice to him. A child should never have to walk away feeling ostracised. Our schools need to become gentle, kinder places. We need to purposely seek out the hurting ones, the ones on the fringes of our institutions and reassure them that the world is not a bad place. After all Children still learn what they live. They give us what we give them. And please do not think I am about to set up a child rights movement. I want only a child caring movement because every small human being deserves to be loved, cared for and to feel wanted and appreciated. When home is not what it should be, for every child a school should be a soft place to fall. I am sure you feel that way. Children need us to teach them how to become adults. This is probably the best learning we will ever provide. The worse kind of disaster is to wake up and find the next generation never learnt to care for each other because we never "showed" them how to care.

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