The Mother Magazine, Editorial
Issue 31, Nov/Dec 2008
Children: the most valuable currency, by Veronika Sophia Robinson
There are many people who say the only reason to be in business is to make money. When I first began publishing, an astute businessman asked me when I was going to sell The Mother. “Huh?” I asked. “Why would I want to sell it?” His attitude was that the only point in starting any business was to grow it, and sell it for a handsome profit. Ok, call me naïve, but I disagree. I believe the only reason to be in business is to contribute to a beautiful world; and to ease the darkness and pain which exist around us.
When we see children as the most valuable currency, we understand that everything we do is for them (regardless of whether we’re a parent, or not), and our perception, values and motives are based on integrity and authenticity.
Signs of success that our culture holds up in lights, such as career, celebrity, high finance, fashion, space travel, media, modern technology, the ‘war on terror’ ~ are things that can’t transform our world, because they are temporary externals. But when our vision is of a beautiful Earth and a species living in harmony, we discover that true success is about the world we create for our children: those we give birth to, and those born of others. Why would we act as if anything else were true? There is no other mammal so neglectful of her young as the modern human. Collectively, we feel no shame at the abuse routinely metered out through the denial of children’s biological needs, nor the ecological nightmare we’re leaving in our wake.
We are here to help our planet, and to inspire each other to recreate our lives, and unless we’re doing that without a hidden agenda, or monetary incentives, then being a millionaire is no great deal; owning an empire is no great deal; flying to the Moon is no great deal, and being President of the USA is no great deal. Transforming lives on Mother Earth so people can aspire to reach their highest potential ~ now that’s a big deal.
A business which exists only to make money is not one which is interested in ‘loving the children’. For some reason these two things are diametrically opposed by almost all businesses. Here’s the thing, though: no-one can make money from loving our children. We have wall to wall adverts on television for artificial infant milk, but no-one coughs up money for promoting natural feeding on television or billboards so that breastfeeding images dominate the cultural landscape. There’s plenty of dosh around to lure kids into the world of video games and junk food. But where’s the money to promote family living? I don’t see advertising to promote sitting around the dining table and sharing a home-made meal with loved ones. Macdonalds’ agenda is to have you eating their cheap meat which was produced at untold cost to our environment, in a way that doesn’t encourage you to slow down and be conscious. Big business doesn’t want us to think, just to swallow.
Children are very easily exploited. We do this through culturally-acceptable advertising and promotion of addictive behaviours and influences. We exploit them by considering them so ‘adaptable’ that we ignore their biological needs. It’s become so normalised that very few people question it, let alone feel repulsed.
Business minds consider children insignificant (if they consider them at all) because love, time and tenderness can’t be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen. It’s why Western governments push women back into the workplace so quickly after giving birth, rather than encouraging mothers to raise children themselves. The UK government is now offering free childcare places for two year olds. Not free, though, is it? Of course not. It’s paid for by you and I, and the highest price is paid for by a child who is denied essential mother-love time. Loving our children strongly, loudly and fiercely isn’t something that costs money, but then again, nor does it generate income. There’s no money to be made, so therefore it can’t be of value! Like natural birth and natural feeding, the winners are the mother and child, not business professionals; the economic market doesn’t win.
We must be motivated by more than just personal ambition to bring reform. Our love must become universal. The investment bank we create when loving children is one that will never go bankrupt, regardless of other economic forces. The interest is constantly going through the roof, and everyone benefits. Everyone is a wealthy shareholder in a culture that fully values and respects its children.
There are times of great change afoot. Beyond the media gloom and doom of economic woes and catastrophic climate change, something far greater is happening: we’re being called, each and every one of us, to something much bigger, much more demanding than the fears and traps of our world; we’re being called to make inner changes. And it is this that gives me hope. Such a call will scare the heck out of many people; after all, our culture works 24/7 to ensure we don’t look inwards. It’s a journey we all have to make, so why not go willingly and enjoy the ride, rather than get bruised, shredded and stripped in fighting against the inevitable?
Seven years ago, I began putting together the first issue of The Mother magazine, for publishing in Spring 2002. From our tiny cottage in the Eden Valley, Cumbria, I would sort through articles, photos and artwork, two tots at my feet, drawing, dancing and doll-playing.
Seven years is a lifetime in the life of a child. Back then, as I lugged box after box after box of magazines into the Post Office, my girls would run amok, playing in the passport photo box and setting off the auto-voice, excitedly pulling greeting cards off the shelf to show me the cutest cat in the whole world, or simply running and whooping like little frisky, feral foxes from one end of the Post Office to the other. I’m not quite sure whether to smile or cringe when I remember those days.
At home, when the phone rang, I would hold my breath and secretly pray for silence so the girls wouldn’t hijack the conversation. The little minxes loved the phone ringing, for they could pin me down to tandem feeding for as long as the call lasted.
Ah yes, seven years. My girls now carry the boxes into the post office. They label envelopes, pop on stamps and stickers, take phone messages, and help pack. They also want to learn how to edit and proof-read, as part of their home education. No doubt that’ll give a whole new meaning to slow and easy publishing. We love their sense of passion and of being part of the greater Mother family.
Despite taking an active part in the family business, what they’ve always known is that the currency of value is happy, nurtured children: something which is negotiable in any country, whether in times of recession or prosperity.
I don’t care about the size of someone’s bank balance or wallet, or their career rise, the size of their plasma tv, or how many properties they own in Spain. I care that they hear our children’s dreams. I care if they will take the time to love, honour and hold, in sickness and in health. The world’s children deserve no less.
When children have their biological needs and expectations met, they have no reason to grow up and harm themselves and others or the planet. They’re whole, not hurt. Raised holistically, tomorrow’s guardians of Earth and humanity will do a mighty fine job of ensuring we all live to tell the story. How dare we treat them with anything less than their birth right. Who are we to consider them unworthy of time, love, attention and care?
The last time I was in the Post Office sorting postage, I couldn’t hear myself think above Eliza’s singing. At almost eleven, she’s not self-conscious about the music in her heart coming forth wherever and whenever. I recall Neil Diamond’s lyrics: “Money talks, but it don’t sing and dance, and it don’t walk.” And so it is with the business of family.
As my family and I walk into the nightmare of another consumerist, commercial Christmas, we’ll see only the dream. Our backs will be firmly against the cultural tsunami of greed and gluttony that manages to drown the mass consciousness each year with the belief that we all need ‘more, more, more’.
The currency which will lead us to the candle-light of Christmas Eve, carols by the fireside, and into a New Year, is what has always brought us safely through the days around the mid-winter Solstice: the eyes of children alive with love; children who know they are worth more than all the money in the world; children who know that they are the real business.
From my family to yours, may you celebrate the festive season with a song in your heart and an ever-negotiable currency, to keep the home fires burning.