As a Mother, I have often walked the line between dove and hawk*. When my children were born I experienced a multitude of emotions. The desire to protect them was something I could barely stop. My concern for them was all consuming. I became convinced that I could affect great bodily harm with my bare hands were someone to threaten my offspring.
It really began when they were still inside of me. Doing ‘risky’ things that thrilled me before, now caused me anxiety. I no longer wanted to be off the ground. My beloved trips to Lake Shasta made me nervous, all that water and wilderness. We would go 4-wheeling in the pickup truck, way off the main roads. But, now that I was going to be a Mother, I wanted to stay in town. Even camping at Oak Bottom tried my sanity and sense of calm.
I began to have dreams of driving off a bridge, into the frigid water. Would I be able to reach into the back seat and undo the seat belt and grab the baby before water filled the car? ‘What if’ scenarios ran through my thoughts and gave me nightmares.
All of these things can make a person crazy! What can be done? Is this normal? Am I alone?
Yes, it turns out to be very normal. There are things you can do to relieve your anxiety.
Knowing you are not alone can be a great relief. There are therapists, Doctors, and loved ones you can talk with.
Something I did, was to take some disaster preparedness classes. They give you valuable tips and tricks to help you feel at ease when disaster strikes. Proper training will give you the confidence you need to feel safe.
Get to know your local public officials. Talk with law enforcement. Talk with emergency services staff. You will gain valuable information about the plans that are in place should an emergency occur.
The single best thing I did for my sanity was to get involved with my community. It is one thing to get informed. It is another matter entirely to get involved. This gives you the power! You are now a part of the solution. The information, knowledge, and assurance that you have will help you better prepare for accidents.
I found it extremely empowering to know the individuals who are in the position of first responders. The experience and training they have had, gave me a sense of calm. Knowing that they themselves have struggled with feelings of helplessness, and overcame these issues, helped me immensely.
I have included the definition of pacifism because, as parents and community members, we are all talking about violence and what we can do to protect our children. The question of how to protect our communities while providing a strong and nurturing environment to learn and grow with is real.
When I became a Mother, the question of pacifism was a huge concern for me. To me, teaching my kids to be observant and involved are the most important building blocks to a safe and healthy community.
This doesn’t mean that we are perpetual victims. This means that we are actively engaged in the solution. There is no room for fear when you are armed with truth, confidence, and experience.
I believe in ‘Do No Harm’. I believe that ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. I believe in ‘Love one another’. All these things can reside peacefully with us all. However, I know how to protect myself and my family. As long as I am responsible for the ones that are under 18, I will protect them to the best of my ability. That is my passion…
Thanks for reading!
“Dove” or “dovish” are informal terms used, especially in politics, for people who prefer to avoid war or prefer war as a last resort. The terms refer to the story of Noah’s Ark in which the dove came to symbolize the hope of salvation and peace. Similarly, in common parlance, the opposite of a dove is a hawk or war hawk.
Pacifism is opposition to war and violence, even to the point of allowing self-harm rather than a resort to violent resistance. The term “pacifism” was coined by the French peace campaigner Émile Arnaud (1864–1921) and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress in Glasgow in 1901. The concept is an ancient one that goes back to the teachings of Hinduism, much earlier than Buddhism’s existence. The Hindu scripture Mahabharata existed by 800-900 BCE whereas Buddhism was born by 600-400 BCE. The Mahabharat said about Ahimsa (Non-violence) “Ahimsa is the highest Dharma, Ahimsa is the best austerity, Ahimsa is the greatest gift, Ahimsa is the highest self-control, Ahimsa is the highest sacrifice, Ahimsa is the highest power, Ahimsa is the highest friend, Ahimsa is the highest truth, Ahimsa is the highest teaching.” (Mahabharat XIII:116:37-4). Later religious teachers like Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), and Jesus have also taught this. In modern times, it was refined by Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) into the practice of steadfast nonviolent opposition which he called “satyagraha“. Its effectiveness served as inspiration to Martin Luther King Jr. among many others. An iconic image of pacifism came out of the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 with the “Tank Man“, where one protester stood in nonviolent opposition to a column of tanks. Historians have identified that event as being a key motivation that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall which ultimately precipitated the nonviolent fall of Communism.