I’ve started writing this a million times but I just don’t know how to start. I don’t know how to put my feelings into words that come close to expressing the ones in my heart. How I explain the thoughts that run through my mind every time I see photos or footage from Aleppo, and how tears run down my face and my heart continues to break as I watch on.
I can’t pretend to know much about the politics of the situation. I can’t tell you who’s the ‘good guy’ and who’s the ‘bad’. I can’t tell you WHY this is happening, but I do know this: these children are our children. They feel and they love and they laugh and they cry, just like our children. They have parents, just like us, who love and cherish them. These parents have lives, just like ours, and they do the best they can with what they have, just like us. They are human beings, just like us. Except unlike us, busy preparing for our Christmas celebrations, their lives are being destroyed.
They are losing their homes, their belongings, their loved ones. And I know that it’s not right. People are dying. Innocent people and innocent children are being murdered, slaughtered in fact, and they are unable to escape. I cannot for one second imagine those feelings. I cannot imagine, as I put my baby to bed tonight, being uncertain if we will be killed before morning. I cannot imagine my little boy wandering the streets, covered in blood and dust, searching for me or for anyone else he loves. And I cannot imagine living in a world that could watch that from a far and do nothing, yet here we are.
It’s easy to feel powerless, to feel like there is nothing you can do, and in truth we are limited. But here’s something you can do, and what I will be sure to do because it’s the only way I can find comfort right now. We can be kind. We can show compassion and empathy to others and we can teach our children these traits. We are raising the future right now, and I’m going to be damn sure that the part I’m responsible for grows up knowing that this is wrong. Grows up knowing that we treat other humans, ALL humans, with respect and with kindness. That all lives are equal, not just the ones from the countries honoured with flags on Facebook profile pictures, and they are all worth fighting for.
These little children we are raising are going to grow up. They are going to become doctors, lawyers, politicians, activists, teachers, therapists, social workers and all the other things they want to be. They are going to shape this world into a new place. A world where this isn’t allowed to happen. A world where no walls are allowed to be built and no bombs can be dropped. A world of peace and happiness. We determine that, it’s on us, every single day. By teaching our children about kindness and about right from wrong WE are shaping the future of the world. I can’t save the poor people of Aleppo, or of any other city in the world facing this devastation (because trust me there’s more than just the ones making it to your TV), but I can put my all into raising people who can. Let’s raise an army of loving people, because I know that together they can change the world.
If you are looking for a cause to donate to please consider The Worldwide Tribe, who are doing amazing things every day. A beautiful friend of mine has set up a Christmas fundraiser in aid of the charity, asking you to donate the cost of one present this Christmas to all the children across the globe who have nothing but hope left this December. Please give what you can and please share with all of your friends. These small acts of generosity are exactly the kinds of things our children need to see.
Photos from Jaz O’Hara from The Worldwide Tribe taken in a refugee camp in Turkey. This is real life, these are real children, just like ours, and they need us to make sure their suffering isn’t in vain.