Locating a new destination is much easier now with technology such as online maps and audible directions. Google maps has become a friend to me when navigating in unfamiliar areas and diminishing the fear of getting lost. I hate getting lost and not knowing my way in finding where I want to go. The rising anxiety and sweating about being late or not arriving makes me wonder if a visit to somewhere new is even worth the stress. I remember the days of using a map book, placed next to me on the passenger seat. I was often confused about which way to view the map. And then it was stressful having to find a different page, not just turn the page when the directions took me to the edge of a page. I learnt to manage this challenging perceptual task but prefer the easy option of voice directions that tell me, ‘Make a U-turn’. Sending or receiving a location pin is even better. It is so easy to follow the directions and being led blindly by technology of nowadays.
I enjoy playfully asking young children, ‘where do you live? I know that they have not yet learnt about bigger areas beyond their small space at home. The confused facial expression and response to this question delights me. There is a look of wonderment as if to say, ‘why are you asking?’ and ‘you know where I live’, as the answer often is, ‘at home’. Of course, silly me, everyone knows where little children live, ‘at home’, which does not even need an address or directions. For children, home is a centre point, a safe base from which to venture out and then always return. The importance of safe homes is critical to the development of children.
Young children seem to have an inner wisdom that is both simple and complex. My question remains. Where do you live? Where are you? Where is your location pin? We have been through the third wave of a pandemic and may go into a fourth. We have been disrupted in our places of employment, and home has become both a work and rest space. We have been displaced by uncertainty, and google maps is not giving any direction. Where are we?
I take comfort from little children. Let us be ‘at home’ and live fully in this moment. Perhaps uncertainty, is knocking at our door. Despair and grief may be the welcome home sign. Can we be at home with all the turmoil and uncertainty? Can we be honest about where we are at this time? Can we be brave enough to say that we are at home in dealing with uncertainty or have left for better places? Naming where we are at this time is a courageous start to finding ourselves and coming home to our pandemic reality. And when we bring our honesty into the light, perhaps the sun will shine again through our windows, and we will know that we are at home.
Let us create safe homes for our children
Let us follow directions home when we are lost.
Let us teach our children that it is okay to get lost and ask for help to find our way back home.
I have different roles; occupational therapist, mother, wife, friend and sister. I am curious about life and how little children grow to their potential with the support of parents, families and the wider community.