Our wedding in the rainforest photos were delivered last night. We discussed how much the photographer had enjoyed the differences in the wedding style: the kids, the activities, the total inclusion and participation of guests.
Photographer referred to it as “a true social justice Megan and Paul style wedding.’ It was. We did what suited us and not what preconceived and traditional ideas of weddings commanded. Of major interest to me though was the photographers questions around what motivated us to include so many fantastic activities for children.
Including and caring for children is a culture: a mind set that ensures children’s needs, rights and safety stay uppermost on adult agendas. Many people struggle with this. Often, children are viewed as unimportant, silly or painful.
Pondering this, I can only imagine this thinking as based in models of individual and consumer driven power. Children do not earn money so therefore cannot spend it. Children do not have the vote so therefore cannot influence public and social policy. Children do not have the cognitive or emotional capacity to have a strong voice so therefore cannot use their words to change things. Children will do as they are told and will understand that what we do is best for them.
What happened to my four children? Strong, opinionated, intelligent and passionate, my children have grown into a culture that recognises the worth, the power and the voice of children. If children are not consulted and listened to, then something is amiss.
My children are leaders because I have empowered them and kept them safe every step of the way. Our culture of child safety was not fear based, it grew from an inherent belief that children are human beings with unique views, needs and requirements. I was never scared that bad things would happen to my children and therefore had to lock them up, keep them away from life’s evils. Instead, I understood that safety was a child’s right and that the rest of the adult world needed to change.
Children at the centre of our wedding was a natural progression for us. Our motivation was not forced, but rather, based on our strong belief that children matter. This is the culture that I hope is contagious.
Below photo is my wedding party: my children.