Teach your children not to live in fear

So, the last few months have seen us endure some pretty horrific terrorist attacks around the world as well and 3 in 3 months in this country alone, and I hear more and more people online sharing their fears for their children’s future in such a world. I too share those fears even though I have older teens now I wonder what will become their ‘normal’ in say the next 20 years with regards to terrorism, policing and our country’s safety. What will they be bringing their future children into in many years to come?

However, I am  from Belfast, born in 1970 and lived my youngest years into my teens throughout the height of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. The absolute full extent would probably never have been covered in the national media forums unless it involved the mainland itself, but still it continued on a very daily basis in my area as well as many others. My parents back then probably had the exact same fears about our future as children with armed police and the Army patrolling our streets and wondering where it would all end up.

Yet here I am! Old enough to have my own family and worry about their future in the way my parents did before me. Coming from a very loyalist area ( being Protestant) my parents never discussed religion or politics in front of us. We were never brought up with extremist views one way or the other. They never stopped us playing outside, or going anywhere or doing anything…………………life just carried on. We were never brought up to actively ‘hate’ anyone just because a paramilitary group had decided to plant a bomb,or  kill innocent people, or shoot a single person in retaliation for another attack. We were not brought up to think that ‘tit for tat’ killings where OK. As kids we had been segregated to either Protestant or Catholic areas to live and for schooling etc. Yet I remember how excited I was when I got my first part time job in Belfast city centre working inn Argos knowing that I would be ‘mixing’ with Catholics and working in a ‘mixed’ area. I had a blast in that job. The people I met and the friends I made just made my time there brilliant fun.

What I am trying to say is that my parents never made religion and the issues surrounding it in Northern Ireland and issue for us growing up. We were not brought up to ‘hate’ a person just because they were a different religion to ourselves.

So  if you are afraid of what the future holds for your children then teach them that not everyone of that race or religion believes the same as those extremists. I never once thought that all Catholics ( back in the days of The Troubles ) were affiliated or believed the same as the IRA and I can only thank my parents for that.

Do not get me wrong, my absolute heart goes out to each and every person who has been affected by these atrocities and yes I would love to see an end to them too, it’s a total heartbreak that most of us cannot even begin to imagine or understand what they must be going through.

It is a scary world, but do not pass on your adult fears to your children before they are able to comprehend or begin to understand. Instead, teach them to see and take everyone on face value, to not be afraid when they see armed police or possibly armed forces on the streets- these people are here to protect us. I was in my mid teens on holiday in Plymouth when I saw the very first policeman in shirt sleeves with no body armour, unarmed and on his own!! Until then armed police and Army on the streets was my normal- and yet here I am a normal person. I haven’t suffered any detrimental affects, all grown up with my own family.

Our world is always going to be scary with everything that is going on across the globe, but for your children’s sake concentrate on the everyday normality and the good. I have seen a great quote online telling us to ‘look for the helpers’ in those awful situations and it’s true. There will always be many more people willing to help than to harm. Never let those people affected be forgotten but celebrate those who go to selfless measures to help in the most awful situations regardless of the danger they put themselves in.

In short, I am proof along with many others, if you teach your children to live without adult fears and teach them not to hate a race of people or a religion because of the actions of a minority of extremists then your children will adapt and live normal lives too. It’s possible, we as adults have to make it possible.


Remembering those who have fallen!


You may not know but I was a member of the Royal Air Force for almost 7 years. I joined up when I was 18yrs old and worked in the world of Air Traffic Control. It was during this time that I met my ‘now’ husband who also served 7 yrs too.

I would not have changed my time in the RAF. I had fun living away from home, meeting new people, working in the world of Air Traffic, and of course meeting my husband!

But I also value what I got personally from being in the ‘forces’. Discipline, a sense of pride in myself and my appearance in uniform, a feeling of belonging, meeting lifelong friends from all walks of life. But most of all I took away a respectful view of authority. Something that I feel is totally missing from today’s society. Whether you liked it or not you had ‘signed on the dotted line’ and therefore your ass was theirs ( so to speak!!). I learned very quickly that I had to do what I was told when I was told. In training it was to ‘break’ you in order to build you up to respect those in authority. Outside of training that would carry on but not to the same extent, only enough  to keep the day to day running of the station smooth and purposeful.

Today though, I believe that not only is there a total lack of respect from the up and coming generation ( not all of them obviously) towards society itself but even to those who fought for our country through 2 world wars, Northern Ireland, the Falklands conflict, the Gulf and now what is going on in Afghanistan etc.

It is becoming a regular occurrence on the news hearing another soldiers name, someone who was a husband, or a son, or a dad leaving children and family behind doing something that they believed in, hoping they were going to make a difference.

Each year now at the Remembrance parades our heroes numbers from the 1st and 2nd World Wars are dwindling as the years pass. But it is necessary to keep remembering those who gave their lives either many years ago or more recently. We must never forget that they have paid the ultimate price for their country

Maybe if a few of those in society who consistently offend and who generally sponge off society believing that they are owed a living rather than earning one, got off their arses and joined the forces, they could not only make something of themselves but earn the respect that they seem to demand for nothing at the moment!!

But don’t just remember the fallen just on the 11th November or Remembrance Sunday, remember them always. They gave their most precious thing for us to live in a ‘free’ society……………………………………….their lives!!

Don’t forget you can also follow Honour Our Forces on twitter too.