4 min read
I am writing this post as a letter to my two sons (8 & 14) in the hope that they will one day read this and make sense of the events that have been unfolding around them over the past few days.
To my youngest son, this evening I attended your school concert which ended with the whole school singing "World in Union" originally by Gustav Holt. It was such a poignant moment for me watching 400+ 7-10 year olds singing:
'Gathering together; One mind, one heart; Every creed, every colour; once joined and never apart'
It was heartbreaking looking at you all of "every creed, every colour" singing together at the end of a wonderful evening of song and dance where race, religion, colour or country of birth was not even a consideration. It was just an harmonious moment of humanity, presented through the innocence and wonderment that only children can really know.
All I can hope is that for each and every child in that concert they are blissfully unaware of the political and national turmoil that is being played out around them. However, unfortunately I fear that some children will be only too aware that their cultural heritage or their country of birth may well be something which they are now fearful of.
One day you will no doubt learn about this moment in history, both as an example of how powerful democracy can be, giving a voice to the people of a country to make a choice about their future, but also as a warning to future generations that this referendum has brought to the surface a hatred of others based purely on their country of birth.
I hope that over the course of the next few days, months and years that I am able to protect you from the news headlines that talk of "xenophobia" and hatred. I see no hatred in you towards others, a gift that only the innocence of youth can give, but I must make sure that I ensure you are never swayed to hate others in this way. Many are talking of financial troubles, but these will ultimately be dealt with and are less troubling. What I ask of you is that you never lose sight of this moment and you continue to enjoy your friendships with your peers regardless of their colour, race or faith.
To my eldest son, you are much more aware of what is happening around you and you will need to have much more resolve & determination if those around you do not share our views of human kindness and togetherness. I am confident that your mother and I have guided you & given you the strength to pick out the fact from the fiction and to listen to your own heart and not the propaganda.
You are a strong young man and your strength will be needed, along with that of your peers, to ensure that the future of our country is one which recognises strength and value in cultural diversity where we see ourselves as equal regardless of our country of origin.
Despite some of the xenophobia that has emerged in the past few days I am confident that with your culturally diverse experiences and our parental guidance you will continue to treat others as equals and stand up for the rights of those who may not be able to do so themselves.
As a country we have a long journey ahead of us and the both of you and your generations are a most important part of that. I am sorry that this recent decision was out of your control, but I know that it will not change who you both are. Please continue to live your lives through the lyrics of the song I heard tonight:
Gathering together; One mind, one heart; Every creed, every colour; once joined and never apart'
All my love