I’ve said it before, but it is worth saying again and again, it is the small things which make memories. It is the time you spend with your children, listening to them, exploring with them, learning with them and growing together not the money you spend on them (or can’t afford to spend on them) which will leave the biggest impact. It is time, well spent, which matters.
Today’s BBC report on the well-being of children in response to UNICEF’s report four years ago makes for interesting reading. According to the report Britain’s children are among the unhappiest in the developed nations and, says UNICEF, this is down to our over emphasis on things and under emphasis on family time. The pressure is on to say ‘Yes’ to children who are bombarded with advertising and subjected to peer pressure when actually ‘No’ would be better for them, children want to feel loved and love is not all about material goods.
According to UNICEF,
The true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children – their health and safety, their material security,their education and socialization, and their sense of being loved, valued, and included in the families and societies into which they are born.
My eldest started his lessons with a new violin teacher yesterday and, while he was in there fiddling away, Bonus Boy and I trotted off for a walk and a talk together.
He collected acorns and gave me the cups so we can put them outside for the fairies to drink dew from. We looked at the enormous oak tree which had dropped this glorious, pocket filling bounty, and he span on the spot ‘Thank you tree!’
When we got home he gave everyone an acorn and we are all under orders to plant them along with the beech nuts he had come home from school with.
Planting things together and growing them has been one of our simple pleasures. For the last fifteen years I have pottered about in the garden with my companions and I miss them now that they are all at school. But, we still make time to grow things together, it makes us happy.
Bonus Boy planted his beans back in April
We watched the roots and shoots begin to grow
We planted some in compost too…you can see how excited he was when we measured them every day!
We planted them out into the garden and watched them grow until they were bigger than him. We talked about giants and beanstalks, we watched insects visiting to partake of their beautiful flowers and we marvelled as the beans began to grow.
Finally we harvested them
We thought they made a great beard
Or possibly a nose
But most of all we talked about how much we enjoyed growing these marvellous beans. Then we ate them and jolly nice they were too! We are saving a few pods, leaving them on the plant to brown. We will pop them open and remove their beautiful magic seeds and then, next spring, we will start the whole process all over again.
This activity has cost us pence but has been priceless.
What do you think the remedy for our unhappy children? Should advertising aimed at children be banned? How can we ensure parents have time to spend with their children and how can we help them to feel confident enough to enjoy that time? What is your favourite simple pleasure with your child/ren?