One of several witty Christmas round-robins I received, went as follows:
WE WAS BRUNG UP PROPER: CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1930s, 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s
· First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank Sherry while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos…
· They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, bread and dripping, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.
· Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.
· We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
· As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
· We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
· Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds , KFC, Subway or Nachos.
· Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn’t open on a Sunday, somehow we didn’t starve to death!
· We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
· We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Toffees, Gobstoppers and Bubble Gum.
· We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter, milk from the cow, and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight because……WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!
· We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
· No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.
· We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars.
· We did not have Play-stations, Nintendo Wii , X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on SKY, no video/DVD films, or colour TV, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms………..WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
· We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
· Only girls had pierced ears!
· We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
· You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time….
· We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays,
· We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!
· Mum didn’t have to go to work to help dad make ends meet because we didn’t need to keep up with the Jones’s!
· Not everyone made the rugby/football/cricket/netball team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! Getting into the team was based on MERIT
· Our teachers used to hit us with canes and gym shoes and throw the blackboard rubber at us if they thought we weren’t concentrating .
· We can string sentences together and spell and have proper conversations because of a good, solid three R’s education.
· Our parents would tell us to ask a stranger to help us cross the road.
· The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
· Our parents didn’t invent stupid names for their kids like ‘Kiora’ and ‘Blade’ and ‘Ridge’ and ‘Vanilla’
· We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!
Born into wartime austerity in the UK, and with a childhood spent in a village in the depths of rural Lincolnshire, I am of the cohort to which this missive is addressed – and applies. It also applies to my wife, who was born and brought up in the then British sector of Berlin. I do not believe that our children, now in their thirties and forties, had an upbringing that much different. However, had we attempted to bring them up in an urban environment, changes would by then have been apparent.
I now look at the upbringing of our four grandchildren, all under three and all being brought up in urban surroundings. Their parents have a totally different outlook on child-rearing. In marked contrast to the world into which my wife and I were born, the world of our children’s offspring is beset with perils against which they have to be protected. It is not only that there is greater perception of risk, but in many instances, there are indeed greater hazards to be faced.
Be that as it may, I find there is a dissonance between modern-day society’s attitude of extreme caution and protectiveness towards children’s immediate welfare and an apparent lack, not of concern about, but of protective activity towards the safeguarding of their long term futures. What is the point of ensuring a child’s safe arrival to adulthood, while at the same time, through failure to act, doing nothing towards ensuring that its adulthood should run its natural term?
Daily on the TV news channels there are stories of courageous parents sacrificing their all in order to find treatment for a child dangerously ill – and of their friends and community gathering around to help and encourage. How many of these parents however, are prepared to think far enough ahead to do something concrete about the fast approaching consequences of man-made climate change?
No questions remain about whether or not it is happening, The climate consensus nor of the inevitable consequences for today’s children, should parents allow their governments to continue along the course of inaction they have opted for. Only +2C warming? and Children to pay There is no immunity to be had from these dire consequences should climate change be allowed to continue without being brought back under control. The impact of climate change will inevitably affect the wealthy and temperate zone countries as well as the poor and tropical. A hungry world will be an angry and desperate world – with huge refugee problems and the probability of wars over water and resources. These, as in the case of such as India and Pakistan, could well turn nuclear and then, the whole world might starve. Nuclear famine
The parents of today’s children will argue that they are too burdened with debt and too busy earning a living to do much beyond looking after their children’s immediate welfare and that their longer term future has to be left in the hands of the government. (The competence of governments entrusted with such responsibility is a matter I will refer to in my next blog.)
Some of these stats. might not apply in NZ – for instance the average family in the USA might indeed use 400 gallons of water, per family per day (approx 1,600 litres.) In Auckland, the average household daily usage of water is approx 180 litres!
On this occasion however I would ask parents to watch this short video clip of a presentation made recently to the European parliament. European Parliament presentation Currently less than 2% of the New Zealand population are vegetarian or vegan. In the UK, the figure is around 14% with 20%+ among 20-30 year-olds. The trend is developing at a rapid pace as the realisation of what intensive animal farming is doing to the prospects of future generations spreads rapidly throughout the developed world. New Zealand families, while waiting for their government to step up to its responsibilities in regard to their children’s futures, could start taking some of that responsibility upon themselves.
Climate change threatens the continued existence of our species. As such, it is the most serious topic on which I have written and I suspect will continue to be the main theme in at least a third of my blogs. Having watched the fourteen-minute clip on the presentation to the European Parliament (and possibly having read my blog on Cowspiracy ) everyone should give serious consideration to modifying their diet towards the gradual reduction and, ideally, ultimate exclusion of farmed animal products and commercially landed sea-foods.
It is not that difficult a step to take – start gently and attempt no more than what is practical. As more and more fellow citizens do likewise, more and more shops and cafes will cater for the social change which has to occur. For the sake of future generations – join the trend! vegetarianism