MARILYN ROWE

As a person, and as a mom, I have struggled, I have failed, I have learned, and I have grown. I have been broke, and felt broken. I have lived privileges, and I have found hope, strength, and inner wisdom.

I have committed to sharing all of it, to be of help to any families, or youth, struggling to find their way. 

My story:

I earned a Bachelor’s degree in business with a major in finance. I worked a decade in my field, married my high-school sweetheart along the way, and then had my child. Shortly thereafter I experienced my life falling apart. All the promises of happiness made to me, all those future things I would accomplish and be happy about if I just did well enough in school, if I just went far enough with my education, were nowhere to be found. I had followed all the rules, all the advice, and all the teachings; where was this happiness? I kept expecting next year to be better, to hit my stride, to have it all. Now, not only did I never experience it during all this work, this sacrifice, what little I did have that should indicate the manifestation of this promised happiness, was falling into an abyss, with me tumbling behind it. Divorce was on the horizon, and I now had a newborn. How was I going to survive? How was I going to be able to care for him; keep him safe, well, and happy? At 30 years old, with good schooling and a decent career path; I had no clue where to begin! With no one to turn to, I fell apart.

Healing through my personal breakdown brought with it wisdom: about life, childhood, emotional intelligence, and human capacities. I had not had any major traumatic life events, nothing that would explain my misery and lack of success. I sought traditional therapy, holistic therapies, I read many books, and studied the teachings of some of our times most recognized Psycho-Spiritual coaches and Human Potential Movement leaders. Through all of this I began to understand what had really shaped my life, my choices, my failures and what I needed to do in order to reach joyful fulfillment. A large part still remained a mystery however; why there was such a gap between where I was told my choices would take me, and the results I was experiencing? As if in answer; my precious son’s, followed by my step-children’s challenges, brought the insights I had been looking for. They also brought me much more than I had bargained for. Healing through, and with, my children gave me the growth I needed, in order to find the contribution, and fulfillment, I sought. My life’s discoveries now propel me to offer myself to the children; to be a voice for their suffering and powerlessness, and with that to be a voice for our collective future.

Our children’s challenges are but a catalyst for our own self-discovery; these are meant to bring the healing and wisdom needed to reach our individual and collective potential.

My own childhood story, as I now reflect upon it, held the seeds of what was to turn into my unique understandings about education and schooling. I was blessed to grow up and go to school in the 70's, the world was kinder to children back then; my teachers and neighbors more child-friendly than those my son would have to contend with. In many ways it was an easier time, and allowed me to witness the subtle ways in which we dehumanize, if not demonize, our children and have ostracized them from our communities.

I was raised in a middle class household and neighborhood. I spent summers at a family cottage with my eleven cousins, my mother, and my mother’s three sisters. We played and played, free as the birds, fish, and forest creatures we chased. We celebrated with firecrackers (now illegal) and carried pen knives (now considered weapons). We climbed trees, and worked with real tools (too dangerous today) to build a tree house, and go-karts. We built campfires, we swam, we fished, we caught and cared for toads and other little creatures. We stayed up late and slept in when we wanted -- all the while, our mothers were scarcely involved, trusting us to adventure without major incident. And that we did. We had the usual childhood scrapes and bruises, but never did anyone get injured or end up in a serious fight or circumstance.

My experiences, as well as those of my son, and since then, the many stories from other families, serve as valuable practical validation relating to how we learn, what influences our success, and what’s significant in the development of our emotions, bodies, and intellect. In short, I am a mom who has healed her wounds, faced challenges with an open mind, asking: What’s here for me to learn and grow from? Forefront in my mind at all times is: How can I bring this healing to children, their families, and their educators?