“Life is a series of minefields, you spend your life trying to avoid the minefields, when your born, it’s just childhood illness and avoiding breaking bones, but then you hit adolescence and the minefields become, teenage pregnancy, STI’s, education, relationships, by the time you’re an adult, you terrified to take a step in case you hit one…”

I heard this analogy this week whilst watching a very old mini-series and its profoundness for today’s society blew me away, but I think I found an answer to today’s minefields, education.

It’s something that  I believe in very strongly, you see that people in war-torn, poverty stricken area’s in Africa can find a way out, they know that it is that important, the little girl left to look after younger siblings, because her parents were killed would give her right arm to be able to go to school, to learn more so she can change her circumstances their philosophy is simple, yet awe-inspiring ‘education gives you a way out of your circumstances’ and yet it’s a philosophy we could all learn from.

I lost my education due to illness, my last years of schooling were spent in hospital. Paralysed down my left side, no matter how I tried I couldn’t keep it up and missed all my exams due to it, it has marred my life completely. Education also gives you self-esteem a sense of accomplishment, you can’t receive from any other place.

It’s funny as a parent you can see the minefields, but there is a real danger that pointing them out causes your little darlings to jump on the minefield with both feet, as I did.

My philosophy has always been ‘for’ education and I fought bloody hard for my sons, getting him a statement of educational needs, which turned out to be a piece of paper that was woefully neglected by all involved, he left school aged 14 and has no qualifications, much to my disappointment. My daughters fair a little better, but not much, if a child has a problem at school, the parents are inevitably blamed despite their cooperation, however they both recently turned a corner, because I must sound like a record preaching to them how in Africa, even for them, education is a way out of the mud hut and into a better way of life, I think they get it. Both are looking toward art college.

The minefields will still be there, but maybe an education gives them their best chance of avoiding them.

You see it every day on shows such as Trisha/ Jeremy Kyle, young people throwing their life away because of a lack of self-respect. Education  is a way to give that self-respect, in turn halting the dysfunctionality that mars their life, you can see it in them, the lack of education and you can see it is present in almost EVERY guest, their problem being eliminated if only they had that self-esteem. Young girls going after men who don’t love them. Young men who don’t pay for their children. Young women who get pregnant young and think the right man will make them happy. As society evolves, it’s still the same minefields, yet it seems only a select few manage to avoid them.

Maybe it’s that with youth, a certain nonchalont attitude toward the minefields causes a lot of the problem, but it’s also the desire to grow up too fast. That was my ‘minefeild’ and it nearly paralysed me completely. The most balanced individual I know, never wanted to grow up fast and was very happy to stay a child right up til she hit 16, she was mature for her years and it showed in her education. She put it first and has turned into a beautiful, stable, educated young woman. Iit wasn’t her circumstances, she was brought up by a single mother in a rough estate in south London and yet excelled and I think her desire to stay her age, rather than look, act older worked to her advantage. She knew education was important and strived to gain as much as she could.

Education gives you self-respect, it gives you respect from others and it enhances your life like nothing else.

I think back to 1991!

I thought I was doing it, I was in a hovel of a hostel, about 5 months pregnant, but I was free, free from the dictatorship of my parents… it’s worth it to say I was also miserable, I couldn’t get income support because I was a minor, so the best they could give me was £23 sickness benefit and as you can guess, it went a long way……… NOT!  .. and my belief that my parents were the enemy in all this meant I couldn’t show them they were right, that their concern was, in fact valid, my desire to ‘grow up’ cost me it cost me dearly, I had no education, no means of supporting myself or my unborn child, but I didn’t care, because I was an uneducated child…

It’s safe to say my misery continued for over 5 years, and two more children later, I found a man and when he gave me what I sought for, I was still empty inside, of course after the relationship ran its course, in fact through the relationship running its course, a light came on and I finally grew up, I wanted more than I wanted before, I wanted more than a good relationship, I wanted a life, I wished I had an education, I craved knowledge at an exponential rate, my google search engine went into overdrive and the documentary channels taught me more than I ever learned in school. Effectively the minefields opened my eyes, unfortunately too late!

…and that my friends, is the tragedy, that after we’ve been blasted out of the water is when we see the light but back then an education may have given me the skills to a plot out a safer route, a route that would have avoided the mines! but as they say hindsight is a beautiful thing!