Last week South Africa could have been the setting for a horror movie.
I honestly never thought I would live to see my country like that and I pray that I never have to ever again. Scenes of factories burning, shopping centres being destroyed, looting and violence flashed across every TV screen and, try as I wanted to shield my children from it, I failed.
They felt the energy dipping as we checked our social media for updates. They heard the snippets of news on the short drives to the shops. They sensed the uncertainty and confusion as we tip-toed around the big issues.
Now I don’t know about you but if I remember anything about being little, things always seemed bigger when people whispered. So, we stopped whispering! Teachers were forced to do that too. My daughter’s English class via Zoom, for example, had to be put on ice for the teacher to field questions (and conspiracy theories) from learners. They wanted in on the conversation and it made me so proud to know that my kids have teachers in their lives who could hold space for such a tender dialogue.
We then received a notice from school advising of a MENTAL HEALTH DAY on Friday. A free day off school for kids to relax, de-stress, do a digital detox and reboot.
Whoooah, I thought. Perhaps this damn world really is waking up to the fact that we need to do things differently if we want to raise a generation of adults that don’t have to spend their whole lives recovering from their childhoods?
I’m hopeful. About South Africa. About the future of mental health and about Friday. I really think we’re on to something. Four-day work weeks are already totally in a thing in some parts of the world:-)