Our tenth stirring Mama Activism post comes from Myfi Jones of Earth Mama Times, exploring what gets in the way of us mothers acting for change, and how activism is the only way to go...
“You have to be the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi
From tentative teenage Greenham days, an appliqued banner here, a little tent embroidery there, collection tins shaken, stirred and counted out penny by penny, to non-violent direct action training and a little lying down in roads, well, there it was, when the future was just one great big expanse of endless sky, the endless possibility and excitement of hope and potential for change was as real as the crackle of a late night camp fire, the smell of the wood smoke drifting up to a dark and starry sky.
There was me, so genuinely bewildered that if folk knew what was going so terribly wrong in the world, if they had the mental capacity to make the connections between their choices and the consequences, then how could they not all be doing something about it? Was that just the ‘naivety of youth? I’m not so sure. I’d say clarity of youth.
There are some hideously complex problems in the world, but just because they cannot be solved completely overnight, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done at all. If the same thought, financial investment and resources went into tackling world hunger, as into developing nuclear weapons or space travel, for example, then I think we’d be quite a bit closer to a world where children didn’t have to go to sleep hungry and eventually die of malnutrition.
So much gets in the way of action for change; a feeling of disconnection from community or from the earth, short-term selfish thinking, fear of being overwhelmed and so blocking out any and all hint of connection with reality... And reality it is. The ‘problems’, ‘issues’, ‘challenges’, whatever we call them, do not disappear just because one chooses to ignore them. People dying of starvation and of preventable diseases; people living in slavery; wars; the health and vitality of humankind and all nature being polluted by toxic and radioactive waste, to name but a few, are no less real when we choose not to engage with them.
And then, the tsunami of fierce emotion that comes with motherhood, the all-encompassing, all-being everything that is now more than the purpose of my life, it is my life… it is my child and her future, and every person in the world is a part of it; their unborn children too. Surely, anyone with a child must see past their own short-termism, their own selfishness, even their own fear of feeling powerless about the enormity of change needed for a better world. Is that naivety?
Becoming a mother has put me in the ultimate position of responsibility; not only will I cherish and protect my daughter, and help her develop the skills she’ll need to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world-in-crisis, but that I will also be doing my bit to make that world-in-crisis a better place for her, and for her children. It feels so naturally a part of my parenting that I still feel bewildered by so many others’ disinterest, their heads-in-the-sand approach to life.
Thoughts alone achieve nothing. My (amateurishly) embroidered contribution to the #imapiece project as part of Save The Children’s Race Against Hunger quoted John Ruskin: “What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do.”
And that, what we do, is what activism is all about. It requires time and energy and not a little dedication, and this is made all the more urgent and challenging by actually having less time and energy than ever before as a busy mother with a small child to care for.
And so, here I am, a passionate advocate of peaceful attachment parenting for a better world, because the way we raise our children shapes the world. Here I am, challenging corporate greed, exploitation, pollution, violence and more. From protests to petitions, community projects to consumer boycotts, activism is the only way to go.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King
What matters to you that you don't want to be silent about any more?
If you liked this post you might like these other fab posts in our Mama Activism series:
Activate Mama Bloggers (about Team HONK and Red Nose Day)
And these Mama Activism posts from us at story of mum:
We also talked about Mama Activism at our last #somum Make Date.
And please sign Save the Children’s Race Against Hunger campaign petition.
Share what matters to you that you don't want to be silent about any more in the comments below: