Brighter Futures for the Young

 

girlarcher1

My major concern for Australia at the moment is how we support and nurture our youth, this will be occupying my thoughts and actions as we head into the next decade.

Partly because of course I will have three teenagers next year, but also because I am thinking of all the nations and worlds young people and the need to build with them and for them a better brighter future. Let’s find a way forward.

If you are doing or can potentially do anything for youth please post this under this status statement or approach me for guest blog or interview. I want to gather some positive energy – and mention anyone out there doing amazing, empowering and positive work.

For me personally a brighter future for young people is about enabling them to find a spiritual centre, to walk with practical feet, and embody in their actions in the world, and their interconnection to others.  It is about listening to them, encouraging them, giving them opportunities, and tools, enabling them to have opportunity from whatever beginning point they are given at birth and have no choosing in.  It is about seeing them embrace service to humanity, with love, skill and patience.

It’s about moving it away from politics and thinking of young people as spiritual beings with immense energy, potential, drive and leading them into their role as co-custodians.  It’s about youth making decisions that propel them forwards and propel those around them forwards so they can see themselves as carriers of hope, not burdens to be scared into action.

As a writer/artist I think the way for me to do this is to create projects, art works, films, stories that have this as their central drive and purpose.  My challenge – to find a way to be sustainable in this work, to take greater care of providing finances to my children’s university or other education and finding ways for them to do that too.  For this I need collaborators, ingenuity, inventiveness and to foster sustainability. Let’s face it not all forms of writing bring in enough to provide shelter let alone education for our youth.

It’s not about platitudes but walking a spiritual path with practical feet, and not sticking with anything outmoded that holds back the development of women, youth, people in general, and people dealt a rough initial starting point  the world (born into poverty, or families with a need for healing, or without any caring family).

As I soul search my return to bread and butter work, as well as continuing the often voluntary arts and community work that is good for my soul, I begin to strive to bring all the elements of who I am together, and to try and be an example to my children and youth in my own family of how to do that.  How can I make it better for them?

How can I use innovation,  storytelling, creativity, ingenuity to become all I hope for them as well,  a person whose work is not just bread and butter, but vocation, building a society that is not just about economy but about human spirit, and community?

 

 

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Walking Zombies

Max and his Dad2
Before he Slept

 

We are walking zombies, not parents, undertaking a ritualistic walking up and down, up and down, with our youngest child.

He just won’t sleep; even with dark circles under his eyes taking over his face.  He is such a cranky toddler.  Grizzle, grizzle, grizzle.

Awake again.  All night!

Nothing works.

This has been going on for months.

‘He just doesn’t sleep,’ we say to friends (all of them experienced parents) and distant family on the phone, and we receive a list of suggestions and many a sage nod.

‘Teething’

‘Burp him’

‘It’ll end soon, always does.’

But it doesn’t. His mouth is full of teeth.  His tummy rumbled.

He is not our first child, but our third, and we just know something isn’t right.  This has been going on for months!  A lack of sleep leads to indecisiveness amongst other things.  We can’t see a way out.  We are wrapped in the bandages of miscomprehension of most of what is going on around us.

My husband is increasingly scared he is going to make a mistake at the lab where he works on heart research.

Every suggested technique has been tried and we are on the verge of a sleep clinic book in.

One of my husband’s work colleagues, notices his dark circled eyes, asks a few questions, and finds out our story.   She passes him a number, tells him her story – her own cranky child treated by cranial osteopathy.

My husband is not averse to alternative therapies, but he is a scientist, and wonders how this method is going to work.

Being a sleepless parent makes you crazy, and he knows this is it, we have to branch out and try something beyond traditional medicine.

Driving to the cranial osteopath, we are full of hope.

I go in with youngest, as my husband takes our other two for a walk.

A few questions are asked, ‘How was he born?  How quickly?’

I answer, ‘Rapid, almost onto a concrete floor.’

He listens compassionately, whilst he gives the lightest touches to our son’s head.  Yet our son is screaming as if in absolute agony.  He does a little more and then stops.

‘That’s all for today.  He’ll sleep when you take him home straight away for a few hours. Bring him back in a week.’

It’s true.  He does.  Bliss.  Happier child, happier parents.

My husband can’t quite believe it – a sleeping child.  ‘What did he do?’

I explain and he reads the pamphlet.

Next time he asks for a treatment too, keen to understand why ‘I’m never going to sleep boy’ has suddenly turned into a cherub.

Seems our boy was born way too fast and had some kind of disturbance to his head on the way out, and it is gently being realigned.  There are charts and qualifications up on the wall.

After each treatment he sleeps through the night for longer blocks of time.

Our son, finally, is in truly healing hands.

Then comes our last visit, the osteopath now sends us forth again to be parents without needing him, ‘he should be okay now until he has growth spurts.’

Our child is more placid.  He sleeps soundly and sweetly and once we are used to this new found luxury, so do we.

We are no longer zombies.

 

hawkeyeandson
Now he sleeps well

Eternal Spirit on Mortal Paper

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Eternal Spirit on Mortal Paper – By June Perkins

A house full of sick kids and constant calls for Mum to please by nearby, snatched moments to rest and build energy for another round of vomiting from youngest and a complete ignoring of deadlines – that’s been my week.

Now any dedicated parent will tell you in a house full of illness you need to  take care of everyone and build a road to recovery.  There’s not much else you can do when your kids are sick.  Luckily for us one parent is still flexible enough to be at home when needed, unluckily for us all our extended family live thousands of kilometres away and can only send virtual foot rubs to their grandkids.

I work from home so you’ve probably guessed it’s me that’s been the carer of the week.  This week I have been giving foot rubs, telling stories, saying prayers and tending to tired and ill children.  Now Saturday is here things are looking up, and youngest is able to eat again.  This is such a relief after dealing with him having cramped crab hands, which needed lots of massaging to make normal again.  Poor little mite.

In the midst of this my dear hubby is in marking chaos, and in our very tiny house for five people has taken over the living room with piles of marking.  It is like negotiating a minefield.  I will not touch anything as it’s all just the way he needs it to be.  I dream of a day when the poor man can have an office, and me a studio.  A few weeks ago it was me with art materials everywhere just before my exhibition so really it’s a matter of needing to one day have a bigger space for us.

Last week I went to look after an Exhibition – of the Hinchenbrook Regional Art Prize, that my daughter, son and I had all put work into.  We went to the launch.  My daughter received a highly commended for her guinea pig painting, complete with collaged straw.  It was titled ‘All Together 1.’  She explained to me that she paints and draws the pets all together, as it brings her happiness, even the ones that are gone, get painted with the living ones so that their memory lives on.  She painted a bird picture with both our alive birds and our lost quails and also entered it too.

I took some photographs of the artists with their works.  It was a vibrant exhibition, with hints of memories of the looming cyclone in the clouds and a few broken trees but also green horses,  birds made by geometic shapes, moons over mountains and people -including the snake catcher Les, captured on canvas.  There were sculptures of cassowaries, and dear little pots with feathers, photographs of rocks, culture and natures, abstract paintings of cane burning, a coach without horses, and my dragonfly as well.

Now weeks like this are hard to set goals in, as you are driven from moment to moment by the needs of the family and they have to be the priority, so instead when I have a moment to myself I’ve been doing some digital play with my photographs and remembering Nell Arnold, whose funeral is this weekend.  During this week a few pieces on mortality and eternity have come into being in my arty breaks from the caring for kids.

Nell was such a mentor with my digital art photography and it was startling to hear of her sudden passing, although I knew she had not been well for a while.  I wonder if she can see these works from wherever she is in the next worlds beyond this one.

I wonder what Nell would say to me right now about setting goals for the future.  She would probably say believe in your work, move forward and realize you can do anything you set your mind to, and then she would send me some emails of people to get in touch with and make some practical suggestions.  Her emails are very precious and yet I never met her in person.  I would have loved to tell her about my daughter and the art entry as she mentored her with creativity as well.

I think of Nell especially today, but have two other friends who are farewelling brothers at funerals this weekend.  I know this feeling too, having been to my brother’s funeral when he was only young.

Life is short, and there is little time to write the eternal spirit on mortal paper.  It is probably little wonder that this week I created several art pieces all to do with the fleeting nature of life, words, stories, and belongings.

(c) June Perkins, all rights, reserved.