Strange words — such as empathy, compassion, and love — must be defined, so we can begin living those definitions. We can not continue living with superficial connections; without seeing the value of connecting to another neighboring solitude — we become lonely with no sense of ourselves — empathizing with our children becomes impossible. Times moves our children past a cute, docile, reflection of our once loved innocence and into full humanness. They become, in the blink of an eye, a human being with desires, cravings, sensations, and a personality; searching for the compassion that, sometimes, never comes. A child should never be unable to sit underneath his parents, especially a black child, for they are often the only haven. However, often times, the parent does not recognize him/herself aiding in the child’s sense of isolation.
The kids have no place to go; the streets are preying on them, foster homes are atrocious, and the psychology of their aunts and grandparents produced the parent. Most children learn very early, being unable to express it, the meaning, internally, of the words suffer, pain, fear, hatred, invulnerability. These emotions, while inarticulable, are expressed in passiveness, a tight body, through tears, and no sense of their body. This produces a deep rage in the child and keeps him in flight from the world. These children must be saved, and only the adults can save them from the apathy that overcame us. Everything must be done until we can do more for them; we can only save them by tuning into our own rage and becoming compassionate.
Every one, subconsciously, knows the power, and loveliness, of the hands; they can either heal you or their absence can menace your loneliness. When the hands of someone you love becomes a tormentor; death — or as kids say, the wish to disappear forever — becomes preeminent. When a child wishes for his body to cease to exist, a mummification process begins, the moisture leaves his hands, a purplish blue lifelessness devours his fingertips, and, soon, his hands become black, what was once skin, turns into cracking flakes that fall onto the floor with every step; that hand once contained the potential to touch or connect with someone. Attempting to open up those crude talon fingers, with anything other than love, would shatter them; a child that is never seen, never loved, and every desire is responded to with abuse learns to hate the world. Or, maybe, he learns to fear the world, or we can agree, the child, never learns to respect or love the world. For when he grows older, no one will be able to bring life back into his hands. However, we all have a potential for redemption or resurrection; we can save the child from this trouble by teaching him the value of his body, emotions, and spirit. And that is what we want to protect or, if to late, resurrect; the ability of someone to connect with another human being. This becomes terrifying for the mummified child; his trust destroyed, and the lack of connection, compounded with the development of his hardness, and isolation, prevents him from experiencing the release that follows vulnerability.
Children are unable to understand the pain, anguish, and effects of being invulnerable — adults that never connect their bodies and emotions suffer a unique silence that can hurts their chance of being vulnerable with their child — because the child cannot understand this inability to be vulnerable; he cannot understand why his mother is treating him so terribly. He believes, later on in his adolescence, it is because he is worthy of abuse. The child is unable to understand how being unable to pay the bills, being unable to get love, and, the damaged parent, being haunted by their own physical, emotional, spiritual, and sexual turmoil produces an abusive unloving adult. The parent is unable to cease the turmoil or get relief from the chronic apathy and disconnection. Because the pain has no release, it spreads to the people closest to you. It is the adult’s responsibility to substitute the apathy for passion and despair for compassion, so we aren’t becoming everything we despised growing up.
A child watched her baby brother die from the hands of someone that was supposed to love them. The child asked a question and the response took his breathe away; any child seeing that knows, subconsciously, the potential pain of letting your guard down, or having desires, cravings, and needs. You begin associating requests — such as a hug or sympathy or a smile — with death, desires with pain, and cravings with punishment. There is no trust in your world, and the attempt to connect is oftentimes aggressive or manipulative; however, you do want to be loved. That is without a doubt the fact of the matter.
The child stills wants someone to reach out and touch his mummifying hands; someone must put that same energy into resurrecting those hands as a supplement to the abuse. Back to the manipulation, the manipulation is a protective measure; no relationship can be pure when love is not the foundation. Remember this child is learning, and if someone is there to love him, what it means to respect his body; the impulses, cravings, sensations will be answered, by himself, once he has learned, and controlled by him. Most importantly, however, the child will not only learn to answer these internal signals, but meet them with respect and compassion.
What must be done for the child to heal and become a loving, spontaneous adult; for, we do not want him to become the destruction we see all around us. Do we introduce them to the power of manifestation; how about, introducing them to the loving alabaster Christ and the power of prayer, or tell the child life is going to get easier. Remember, this child knows isolation, fear, dominance, and hatred; so the path we tell them has to touch their experience. I believe, this is the power of art and love; to reflect the child’s experience and provide wisdom, creatively, on how to overcome the turmoil.
We must give her a courageous love; one that works on seeing her and creating our lives, our work, around this necessity. The necessity to love a child, so they can become loving; we are given the opportunity to provide examples for children that have never seen someone smile at the sight of them. A child — like most adults — is unable to peer beyond the end of his conscious knowledge; most of us move through the world unaware of when our trauma ends and begins. We all live in a crushing silence, and that noiselessness is only compounded with the feeling of being the only sufferer in the history of the world. The brave adults must venture into the dark and lonely path to show the children survival is possible.
The child needs to be loved deeply with compassion and understanding. This will demand our own healing; every ounce of our being must be dedicated to creating a sense of safety for the child. We can never fully replace the figures of father and mother, but we can supplement their love. The child, with hesitancy, will respect our attempt at love and compassion. Then, maybe, he will slowly understand his own value in the world; the children are depended on our faith and action in a world that has never attempted to see them, but constantly defines them in rigid conventionalities.
We are the examples and they are very observant; you might not recognize the impact of these simple gesture with children. But look back over your own life, then reflect on the times you remember the most in your childhood. My deepest memory sticks with me to this very day; I remember being very ashamed of my teeth — I was around 12 or 13 and everyone was getting braces — and I said to my father, “I want to get braces”, and his immediate response was, “Boy, you better be proud of your teeth.” While it seems miniscule; this completely changed my life, subtly. Daddy said be proud, so I worked on becoming proud. Also, it helped that he always encouraged me to smile. Children are the future, but we are their only hope.