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Tips for Rebels with Children

Do your research – find out where you are going and what’s on. Social media plays its part well here; join family groups online and get information on what is happening when and where.

There’s often a lot of walking or standing about; make sure everyone is wearing sensible, comfortable, appropriate footwear. Take lots of snacks – rebelling is hungry work. Talk with your children about why you are there and what the issues are, at a level that you feel is appropriate for them to understand and handle emotionally.

every single march or gathering I have taken the girls to has been joyful, peaceful, uplifting and energising

Unleash your artistic side and make some awesome banners. We have a couple of fabric ones which can be easily folded for transportation and can be used for various protests – the girls went to town with them, making them as vibrant and as colourful as they could.

There can be no denying that mass public protests carry a level of risk. It might be a good idea to have a contingency plan up your sleeve. The girls and I have what we call the ‘Dumbledore Plan’ which relates to the part in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince where Dumbledore takes Harry on a momentous final quest, and tells him, “I take you with me on one condition: that you obey any command I might give you at once, and without question.” We have never ever had to use the Dumbledore Plan, but it’s good to know it’s there – I need only say Dumbledore and the theory is that they will understand what I mean. Despite raising children who question everything, there is the very occasional time when it might be easier if they didn’t!

a while, we dipped out and moved to the top of the steps, where we could look down on the crowd and chat to the police. They were terribly nice – one loved her battered, hand-me-down, hot pink Dr. Martens and we mused on whether they should become regulation footwear for all police officers. They assured us that they were not planning to arrest us, which put my daughter at ease, and one chap thanked us for fighting for our shared future. The important thing was that we were there, that it was a positive experience, that we returned home inspired, having been a small part of something bigger.

I am not one of the brave ones. As a homeeducating mother of three, I don’t feel that, just now, I’m in a position to be arrested or do anything big or drastic. I take my hat off to those who do, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their bravery and for fighting for my children’s future. But making some noise? Lending body and voice? Yes, we can do that. A little bit of gentle disruption? Yeah, we’re up for that too.

Enjoy. Protest marches and peaceful acts of protest can provide a tremendous source of energy, connection and inspiration for all. It may seem like a small act, you may feel that you are playing a tiny part but, as Rowan Williams comments in his essay on the climate crisis in his book, Faith in the Public Square: “When we believe in transformation at the local and personal level, we are laying the surest foundations for change at the national and international level. They are not two alternative paths but aspects of one essential impulse, the restoration of a healthy relation with our world.”

Cath German lives on the South East coast with her husband, three home-educated daughters and a boisterous dog. She worked as a speech and language therapist until motherhood took life in a different direction. In her (very elusive) spare time she is a writer, printmaker and wannabe yogi.


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