Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Inner light and broken lives

The Quakers believe that every person has an inner light,

and that light is a spark of God.

Throughout my life I have worked with children, teenagers and adults who have broken lives. Some of the children I have worked with have hauled themselves up from the fringes of society and made a success of their lives.

The majority of these children lived in substandard housing, often in the private sector. If a house is damp it feels chilly all the time. Even newly painted walls will soon grow the black mould with its characteristic unpleasant smell.  The mould can be very harmful to young children’s lungs and clothes hanging in a musty or damp room smell, not the fragrance of clothes conditioner put the unpleasant smell of poverty. In school some children can smell the scent of poverty on these underclass children. Many move away but some taunt them and bully them for their poverty. 

Another problem for many  of these children is that their school dinner could be the first food they ate in the day and frequently the last meal of the day. School holidays were dreaded by them as they look forward to more  days when hunger would grip them. .

One of the children I worked with was Lucy a lovely, intelligent girl, her mum
managed the families money well and made their home lovely, though they were extremely poor and lived in sub-standard housing .The furniture was second-hand, her mum shopped in charity shops for herself but bought new clothes for Lucy at New Look. Lucy was bullied by girls for having clothes from that shop.  Lucy defended herself by telling the girls that her mum only bought what she could pay for and would not get into debt.  Many of these girls were standing in "designer" clothes bought from a  catalogue, for which the mothers often struggled to pay even minimum amount due each week.   Style was bought for the price of unmanageable debt. 
Lucy's life was broken by awful tragedy but she was a girl who hauled herself up from the fringes of Society into a better life.. She had support of a strong and caring mother.

There were many children, teenager and adults I have worked with that couldn't escape from the underclass. For several years I  worked off site, in London sometimes with one person, often with a whole year group from the Upper Exclusion School. I saw it as  my role to create a safe haven for them  . It was hard work but the attendance was above average. I taught IT and Media and made sure the majority of the children had certificates for each subject at Entry Level as well as English and  for the majority  also GCSE level Media and IT This was achieved through a team effort with the wonderful talented  support staff.

Amongst the children there were some that put up barriers to prevent anyone from glimpsing any part of their inner world. Others were more open and I could see the goodness within them. A few of these children were murdered or took their own lives. I have also  taught those  who as teenagers or adults have been convicted of murder.

 One of these was Greg, the child of a woman who was both a heroin addict and a dealer,  She would leave Greg in dirty nappies as this was where she hid the drugs. He had experienced vile brutality and was very violent himself at times. Eventual leading to exclusion from the Exclusion School.  The one exception, was because of his good behaviour in the outreach centre, he was allowed to come into the IT classes at the community centre and write. His poetry was powerful and evocative.

After Greg had left school he used to come back to see us at the Centre, he held down a good job with a construction firm for a while. Then the day came when he arrived and told us he had killed someone. He wanted me to be with him when the police came for him. He phoned the police and we sat and waited until they arrived. The police arrived in force, expecting from Greg's reputation, for him to be an extremely violent person. One of the  Community staff went outside to see the police and ask for only two officers to come into the  centre. Greg went with them calmly and with dignity. I  hold and I am a witnesses  the sparks of goodness and light within Greg

My last blog was about my friend, Dave, who has now been charged with the brutal murder and dismemberment of David Guy. I am so sad that this has happened, I have enormous compassion for David's family and friends. I am appalled that Dave is being charged with this awful crime  However, I will always hold and be a witness to his kindness and his inner light the contrasting aspect of him from the recent  dreadful fatal violence he may have committed..

With Reiki Blessings to all


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