We saw a fight today.
A real one.
Downtown, walking to our car from the shops.
Two grown men directly across the road from us, screaming expletives at each other.
until suddenly there they were, punching each other, one with his shirt off, chasing the other into the road, testosterone ripping the air.
It was scary.
I told the kids to turn away. It happened so fast. Our car was just past where the men were, so I couldn't think what to do—this was the way we needed to go. We backed up, we crossed the road away from them. Stood with a bunch of others, all waiting, poised. Ready to run, call the police?, I guess.
But the whole thing was over in about 2 minutes.
With no-one hurt (luckily),
one man running off, screaming ugly, ugly words down the street, shaking with rage. The shirtless one strutting back and forth, slowly putting his clothes back on. Life resumed. Weirdly, like nothing had happened. I mean, you've got to keep going, right? To your car. To your life? You've got to keep walking.
But the kids were rattled.
We talked about it, all the way to the car,
and into the car,
and on the drive home.
Somehow we made our way back to joy—turning the Ugliness we heard and saw into something silly, something manageable for an 8 and 11 year old.
But I was rattled too. And for the first time I thought,
If they had been in school they wouldn't have had to see that.
If they went to school…
I could take them there (to that nice neighbourhood, with those nice kids, trees everywhere, so peaceful),
in my car.
I could pick them up, drive them to whatever Activity was booked for them,
then take them home.
A neat life.
Weekends could be spent in beautiful spaces only, with us protecting them,
and they might
never know how ugly the world can be.
But that isn't the life we live.
We see things we don't want to see.
We meet strangers doing strange (and sometimes scary) things, talk to shopkeepers struggling to make a living after floods/a cyclone/a Financial Crisis, see kids on the street wagging school and smoking cigarettes.
We hear ugly words.
We talk about it all,
day-to-day life, world events, sad histories, people being Unfair and Unjust.
We live, truly, in the Real World.
Which is funny, isn't it? That people say homeschoolers are isolated and shut off from Reality. They say, What about the Real World? What about when they get out into it?
What's that you say?
The Real World—that unpredictable, fascinating, incredible thing? The thing we experience every single day as we go out into it,
We can't avoid it.
It educates us,
every, single, minute of our lives.
what we chose. And just what we want it
(for better, for worse)
linking, as I often do on Mondays,
with Owlet… :)