Holding Space

22 March 2021

These boys have become men, holding jobs and being responsible sons and partners.

In my teaching days working with male students, I regularly got complaints from mothers that their sons often kept them in the dark about issues that they were facing.

Whether it was about learning challenges or relationships, these boys seem unable to share their burdens with those who loved them most.

Some parents wondered if there were special communication or questioning techniques they could use to help their sons share with ease.

But the reality for me was, boys probably told me stuff more easily because I did not have emotional attachment to them. This emotional distance allowed me to let them talk without offering solutions, or feeling the urge to “set things right,” for them.

To grow into women of means & balance, lovely girls like these need to be given safe spaces to sort out whatever growing pains they encounter.

See, if you are a boy or a girl, and, having a tough time in school, the last thing you need after telling someone at home about your trouble is having to manage their upset reactions. And even worse than a parent going to school to “solve your problem,” is being told that you should have done this or that, or that the problem you speak about is all in your head.

I’ve learnt not to offer unsolicited advice when a young person speaks to me.

Red winged starling perching on my hand. (18 March 2021)

Often times, like birds needing a temporary perch to stand and rest their tired wings, people just need a safe space to bring up what’s hurting them. That space enable them to call up all the hidden demons and laid them out in the light to rest. And we know Light brings clarity and healing.

So as our offspring, nieces and nephews enter Term 2 of the school year, and the older ones take on internships and industrial attachments or even a first job, may we have the wisdom and discipline to hold safe spaces at home for them to articulate the difficulties they meet outside, so that all the aspirations of benefits for themselves and others may take flight.

Red-winged Starling taking flight to reveal the fire under the wings.

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