Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Peaceful Children in a Violent World

I'm a bit different from many of the mamas I meet on here. Most mamas are on a new journey of discovery when they come across my resources. They are perhaps the first (or even only) person in their families and social circles to question the mainstream methods. Often, they are the first to stop vaccinating or the first to bring an intact boy into the world and keep him that way. I have heard from many women who were the first to even see breastfeeding firsthand, from their own breasts when they decided to break the line of formula feeding in their family tree.

But I'm actually "second generation" when it comes to these topics. My mom was the pilgrim, the brave mama standing up against convention, paving her own way without cool iPhones or medical literature blinking on the screen of limitless internet access. She followed her instincts and followed her faith to make her own decisions about parenting. (Yes, by the way, there are some tones of faith in this post in case you need fair warning).

When mamas start on their journeys, no matter how confident they are about the research and the logic, I know in the back of their minds they are wondering what the finish line looks like for their children. How many times have homeschoolers heard, "But, how will they attend college?" How many people have listened to questions such as, "If they don't get vaccinated, they can't go to college!" Or what about those boys, unmarked by circumcision surgery? "How will they ever get a girl to like them?" (What about other boys anyways? Or no one if they choose to remain single or choose a religious vocation?)

Talk about busting a stereotype! 

Here is what an intact, vaccine-free teen who was born at home unassisted and homeschooled/unschooled from beginning to end looks like at prom.

Maybe this is why I feel more relaxed about the decisions I make. I experienced them. I lived them. I'm at the finish line (of childhood at least; I'm still growing and learning daily).

As time goes on, my other siblings are slowly making their way into the world, too. What do these people look like? Most of you know what a gently birthed, vaccine free, intact, peacefully raised child looks like. What about when they are adults? Who are they, what do they do, where do they go in life?

Two of my brothers pushed hard through high school. They dual enrolled at the local college to push harder through college, too. I was surprised when I heard them both announce they were joining the military. One brother signed a contract with the Air Force to work with planes, hopeful one day of working with NASA. The other brother signed a contract with the Army because he wants to be a Ranger.

Stop the music! My baby brothers want to join....the military? They want to carry guns and go to war? They want to enter a heavily regulated system? The what and the who now?!

I remember both of their births. Unassisted, both a bit exciting in their own way. They are intact, vaccine-free. They were raised gardening, canning, fishing, free-playing, barefoot in the grass. Whole foods, cooked by our parents every night, were their childhood staple.

Rations? Experimental vaccines?

They are both on the quieter side, one definitely on the gentler side. He was always giving out hugs and back massages, clued into the complex emotions of the adults around him. The other one always found the person who needed friendship the most. My mom was forever astounded at how he would go out into the neighborhood or park and befriend the saddest, loneliest, most bullied child, bringing him or her into our safe haven, giving out friendship without judgment.

Guns? War?

Okay, I kinda see the gun part.

I was deeply troubled. Not just troubled, but also worried! These were my little brothers, now grown men, choosing to go into a system filled with violence and darkness. I worried and complained until my husband gave me a bit of wisdom. He told me, "When you are given certain things, like a good upbringing, and you come to appreciate that, then you want to go out into the world and give the same to others."

That made a lot of sense to me. It's something I see every day. For example, women experience a gentle birth and become birth advocates to spread the word that ALL women and their babies deserve a gentle birth.

As we raise our children peacefully and gently, perhaps we don't sense much advocacy, passion or activism. I meet countless parents who tell me they are too busy raising their children to ever be an activist. They don't stop to ponder their daily hard work of raising their children in peace, raising them to be gentle and yet wise.

Our mom wasn't an activist. She didn't wear expensive tshirts with slogans. She didn't have cool bumper stickers on her beat up suburban. She didn't go to nurse-ins or appear on magazine covers. I never heard her harshly judge others for not wearing cloth diapers or using a bottle. And she never forced her beliefs onto us. We were given a childhood of normalcy.

Now, her children want to go out into the world and share that with others. For my two brothers, this means being strong enough to enter a violent system amidst uncertainty about our country and criticism from just about everyone in society. One brother took a vaccine exemption as his work remains here, but the other brother is sacrificing his body to go where he thinks his talent is needed.

Was our mom never an activist? Or does she represent the real activist, a person who has quietly, without reward or praise or popularity, changed this world for the better?

Today, two whole, gently raised boys went out into the world as strong men, willing to sacrifice their lives to bring peace to others. I know they will stay true to their principles wherever they go and whatever situation they find themselves in on their journeys. I trust they will bring light with them, sharing hope and peace with everyone.

"Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves." Matthew 10:16

Today, I salute my brothers, and all people who realize what was given to them and wish to share it with others in the systems. To those soldiers, doctors, nurses and more who walk a fine line, being wise yet innocent: I salute those who make sacrifices, who restrict their own freedoms, put their own health on the line, risk drawing criticism, hate and attack, all to reach out to others and give them the dignity they deserve. I salute those who remain true to themselves and committed to their principles even in the darkest areas of the world.

And most of all, I salute the parents out there who tirelessly work every day, raising whole, peaceful children who are strong enough, brave enough, committed enough to enter back into a world of violence in the hopes of helping others.

(Shirt says: Proud Army Mom.) Heather Bricklin

This man is someone's boy, someone's priceless, deeply loved, peacefully raised baby.
Heather Bricklin
Heather N. C.

Heather N. C.

The Air Force is not endorsing the photo however, permission was given to take photographs Breastfeeding while in their uniform. This shoot was done for Mom2Mom: Breastfeeding Support Group in Fairchild Afb, Wa.
Full post here http://www.brynjaphotography.com/



Jessica Blonk


  1. As a military wife, and a military sister, I appreciate this blog so much. Thank you! :)

  2. I am a veteran and military wife. We are raising our daughter peacefully. It is a constant challenge. I will pray for your brothers, you, and your loving family. Thank you so much for your gift of knowledge that you share.