Through the Eyes of a Child,
by Ken Scully (first appeared in
the Downeast Coastal Press on Oct. 17, 1989)
I have a voice
inside of me. This "voice" sometimes cries out to be heard, but doesn't
have the words to adequately describe feelings of loss, outrage, despair,
or sadness. No one listened to this voice for over thirty years.
It is the voice of a child; the voice of the lost self.
is inside of me, part of me. This child demands to be heard by me,
the adult, and by other adults who also have a child within themselves.
This child cries out, not only for itself, but for all children.
This child cries out for children who still ride bikes and use swingsets
and slides, and still look at the world with wonder and magic in their
eyes. This child also cries out for the internalized child within
all adults. The child within, is that part of ourselves, which we
were taught to deny. It is the spontaneous, creative, intuitive,
adventurous, feeling, and magical part of ourselves, which seems to have
no place of it's own in the world; no place that is safe, except
to remain in hiding, deep inside of us, never acknowledged, always abandoned.
With the voice of this child, I will try to describe an experience that
I had, here in my own town, as seen through the eyes of a "child".
I felt a deep
sadness, almost as if it were permeating the air around me, and decided
to take a walk with my youngest son. At the edge of our property,
I spotted a few young children fishing with makeshift poles. Two
sisters shared a pole. These two children, (ten years old, and six
years old), had just been separated from their mother. Their mother
had just been returned to the hospital for the "nth" time, suffering from
an acute emotional distress.
How can the
world be a safe enough place for these two little ones to allow their True
Selves to develop and mature? How can they avoid becoming the roles
that they have to play, in order to survive in this world? I watched
as the ten year old helped her little sister brush off and straighten her
dress, and lead her off, hand on shoulder. They returned to a home
where no one waited, as their dad was off, attending to the necessary and
painful duties of the present crisis. I said a silent prayer for
the ten year old surrogate mother, and her six year old surrogate daughter,
lost in the confusion of a home without Mommy. Both were playing
their roles. To anyone on the outside, all was well.
A few minutes
passed, and a young boy rode up on his bike. He said hello to my
son, and then to myself. He got off his bike, and stared out over
the river. Then he turned to me, and told me that his Mom had dropped
him off at a neighbor's. He told me, also, that the neighbor had
gone and left him on his own. He was about seven years old.
His voice wavered, and his forehead creased with concern, as he told me.
Then, as if noticing the other children for the first time, he proceeded
to tell me in a haughty voice-"It's no big deal, I just found somebody
who was home, just like before."! I knew this wasn't the first time
he had been left alone, and probably wouldn't be his last. His role
was becoming solidified. Soon, to anyone on the outside, all would
appear well. He would become the role he has to play in order to
of these children have been abandoned. The chances are very high
that they will suffer as adults, in some way, because of abandonment trauma.
(either physical, or emotional), is usually present in most dysfunctional
homes. In a dysfunctional home, most family members end up playing
a "role" and continue to play that role unconsciously as adults.
Children can be, and are, extraordinarily creative in their coping mechanisms.
Even at seven or eight, they can take on the roles of an adult, in order
to fill what is missing in the family. But they do this at the cost
of their childhood! They can play the roles of Little Daddy,
Little Mommy, Rescuer, Scapegoat, or any number of other roles, until they
become the role, losing their sense of identity in the process. All
spontaneity, creativity, awe, and wonder go out the window, along with
their deepest feelings and intuitions! These young children become
pseudo-adults, always calculating their next move, trying to control the
hostile adult world that they are saddled with. They have no time
to grieve their very real losses, nor anyone to validate their fears, grief,
or outrage over the loss of a safe, protected environment, in which it
is safe to be a child!
within me, the voice of the child within me, is not a voice of authority.
It is the voice of experience. It is the voice of a child who's been
there, and survived against impossible odds.
© 1989 Ken Scully
As an adult,
I could minimize the pain I endured as a child, and continue to abandon
that child within me, as he was abandoned in so many ways growing up- but
I will not! It is that part of me which can embrace the pain of others;
that part of me which sees the world with gentle eyes, not with the eyes
that are blinded by the pain of injuries never acknowledged! I embrace
that child within me- that spontaneous, creative, intuitive, adventurous,
magical part of myself, that experiences the world through feeling!
It is that part of myself which speaks to you, now, of the plight of children
around us, and within us, and it beckons, gently, to that child within
you, to awaken!