Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet and writer. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, Raven’s Perch, and by Cleveland State University among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals. Her chapbook, Liquid Rubies, was published by Pudding House. The Volume of Our Incongruity was published by Finishing Line Press. Diane’s essay, “I Will Sing for You” was featured at the Cleveland Humanities Fest in 2018. Her novel, The Desire Path can be found on Amazon. She is a graduate of Kent State University and holds an M.Ed from Cleveland State University.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

For the Children

At some point in our lives we have probably all learned about forgiveness. The lesson is that the one who has hurt us may not deserve it, or be sorry, but forgiving them is something we do for ourselves. We understand that what we hold inside hurts us more than it hurts them. We forgive to let go of the power that pain has over us or how it consumes us.

The same principal applies now. I think we need to let go of the power the stress, anger, and frustration with our country and the pandemic has over us right now. We can’t let it ruin the good things or the relationships we have worked for with our families and friends. We all have reasons to be angry, but personally, I feel like it is consuming us on most days.

When I speak to friends and family we are having the same conversations over and over. We still can’t believe this is happening. We have no control over our lives and do not know when this will end. We don’t understand what happened to our country. We fear for the future of our children and grandchildren.

Here are some things that I feel outrage over almost every day: the mishandling of the coronavirus and what it has taken from all of us, conspiracy theories and lies, outright hatred between Americans, continuing systemic racism, the election vitriol, social media comments, climate change, the widening division of America. 

Sometimes we talk about nothing else. It’s all negative. It’s all frightening. The children are listening. This is their childhood, when they should feel safe and look forward to their future. I am angry and sad about what the year 2020 this has taken from them. Not just school, birthday parties, and playdates, but stress free adults in the background talking about whatever it is we used to talk about—sports, music, movies.  All they hear now is politics, masks, protests, people ranting.

How do we block it all out once in a while? How do we stop caring about what is happening in the world? How do we take a break from being informed and aware and give our hearts a rest?

Winter is coming and I think we should prepare. We should treasure being in our homes with those we love. We should focus on our health and safety and know that there are millions of humans who have lived through worse than this. I worked with children all of my life and I don’t entirely agree with the notion that children are resilient. In some ways this is true, but their psyches can also be damaged in childhood by seemingly small events or words or things they don’t have the capacity to understand. Children get their emotional cues from the adults around them and if we are constantly raging, eventually they will feel the same—they just won’t understand why.

Give the children a break. Give your heart a break. We cannot completely ignore the mess we are in now, of course. But we can try to contain its control over us and not let it ruin our otherwise beautiful lives. 

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