It took me far too long to realise how lucky I am. For all sorts of reasons and all sorts of ways my life has been privileged. However, there’s one exceedingly fortunate part of my life that I only fully ascertained quite recently: I’ve never had to fear for my safety at home. I was raised in a household free of violence and rage, and I think that’s one advantage I’ve never appreciated enough.
On one level I always knew I was lucky to be born in Australia and to never go hungry and to gain an education (as well as being white and male and healthy) – but I don’t think I’ve thought enough about how fortunate I am that family violence has never touched my life.
Clearly, I knew that I wasn’t smacked as a child and that my parents are caring and loving people. My dad doesn’t drink, and my parents have never raised a hand in anger, to each other or to us kids. I had also heard stories of both my kind and gentle grandfathers helping local women and children who were driven out of home by violent men.
However, I’ve never really connected the dots between the general happiness and relative success of my life and the nonviolence of men in my family. It’s inherently linked, really, when I think about it. I was raised without violence and my life has been blessed for it.
It was only a few months ago that Australia was shocked by the murders of Hannah Clarke and her children. This tragedy should have been the catalyst for change, and it still might be – but with COVID-19 consuming the media and our lives, I’d be surprised if a family violence revolution occurs soon. By all accounts, isolation may have made things worse for some households.
What I do know is that giving your family a nonviolent life is the among the most important gifts a man can give. Hopefully that sounds easy for most people – surely it shouldn’t be a stretch to live non-violently, to not hurt or hit your family members.
But for some people it is obvious that violence and anger are elements of life that are hard to control. There is no excuse for any form of family violence – not one – however I do see how some life circumstances can set certain people down ugly paths. We’ve gotta stop that. We can’t let violence take over. I don’t have any answers. I know just saying ‘don’t be violent and angry’ is not a solution. I don’t know what I’m trying to say.
I’m not sure what my point is here. This little blog post won’t have much effect on the world. However, I just wanted it said. I wanted my gratitude noted. I’m grateful of the peaceful life my grandfathers and father offered me. I wish everyone could have my upbringing, or better.
I guess it’s a promise as well. If I ever have children of my own, I’ll do right by them. If you can’t raise a family without anger and violence, you have no place as a parent. You owe that to your children.