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If you’ve read my story as a survivor of depression here, you’d know that it is a topic that touches a chord with many people. It is also a frighteningly rampant occurrence across the world today, sparing nobody, not even kids.
Soon after the results of the school examinations were declared here in May 2015, I logged in to see the terribly tragic news of a child who had jumped to her death from the tenth floor of her apartment building. While the world and social media launched into the typical tirade against rigid expectations, rigorous parenting, mounting pressures and everything wrong with the education system, I only felt an emptiness. There was a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach that couldn’t imagine what that child must have gone through in the moments before she took the plunge, a decision that would end her existence forever, the last decision she would ever take before Death took its victim from the broken concrete.
If we were wrong to have pushed our kids into academia fifteen years ago, today we are wrong for pushing them into too many vocational, after-school activities. There really is no win-win situation. Nobody treads the middle path anymore. It’s almost as if being average is not all right, not by any margin. So what do we do?
We teach our children to be strong, to come to us without fear of consequences and to confide their deepest fears without worry of reprimand. We tell them that it’s okay to fail and mean that from the bottom of our hearts. We comfort them and hug them when they don’t feel like talking about it.
And it’s hard, this thing called parenting. So, reading about other survivors and the methods they use can help us. Late last night, a friend sent me this picture and asked me to share it with any survivors of depression or sexual abuse.
It was a picture of a broken vessel put back together using shards of gold, to show that there is something beautiful, even in the cracks. Kintsukuroi, a Japanese art form, fixes broken pottery by sealing the cracks with gold. By doing so, we acknowledge the pain of the past with the hope of the future. It doesn’t get more Zen than this.
We are all like that.
We are all broken- by our experiences, our failures, our sadness, our depression and our abuse. It doesn’t really matter what we do to feel this way because the world only gets more demanding as the days go by. But we can choose not to stay broken. We can fill those cracks with the touch of love, therapy, kindness, compassion from our parents, peers and our online connections.
It’s not going to be eternal- this existence. The least we can do is make every step worth taking. By doing so, we may just make our children’s lives a little more fulfilling. At least, I hope so.
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