School hols are my favourite times in the year. I actually love having the kids home. We play, we bake and we create carefully orchestrated havoc. It's great!
This week has seen son going on kayaking trips (courtesy of the local scout group), packing and delivering daughter to a weeks summer camp, a hundred miles away, (local church group), group visits for the kids and friends to the cinema (mum's taxi service), reunion and suppers with old friends (thanks to facebook), quality time with brother and his family (this was the best bit) before their return to sunny Taiwan and now the endless washing after the kayaking and camping!
And ...oh yes...normal life too!
Truly tired but happy and glad to see them all happy too. It is definitely worth being a mum. (most days!)
This week has also witnessed rioting in our capital city and around England.
It has been frightening and saddening that our youngsters should come to this. Much blame has been laid at the doors of idle youth, poor parenting, poverty, media fuelled dissatisfaction with life, politics, social action failure and community break down. It may be some or all of the above.
It is hard to be a youngster in the modern world and harder still to be a parent.
To govern such a diverse social structure is verging on impossible but look at what has followed this week's events. Through the same social networks sites that were used to orchestrate chaos, people of all ages have come together to make a stand for their neighbourhoods. Youngsters have organised clean-ups gangs and peace rallies. Funds have been raised to support those who experienced loss. Eyes have turned again towards youth schemes that teach kids to respect and believe in themselves. Politicians must look again to supporting these ventures and raising the hopes and expectations of our communities.
Perhaps , good can from all the anguish.
So, as parents and carers what on earth can we do?
Two things....."Be there and go there".
"Be there" for our own children. Listen and guide, teach them not only rights but responsibilities. Create environments in our own homes where the kids can bring their friends home. ( We may have to turn the odd deaf ear but at least we'll know where they are.) Train our children to interact with peers and elders. Praise them for their successes and self respect and frankly, be firm about crossing the line.
And "Go there"... go the extra mile. If our neighbour is tired and overwhelmed, take her kids to the park for an hour. Talk with other parents, agree on common boundaries and safe places to play. Get involved with local groups and community events, hold coffee mornings, homework clubs and anything that gives the kids a sense of belonging.
It's not much but it's a start.
I have a deep belief in the inherent goodness of people.....it can be done.
Oooops ! it seems I've been standing on my soap box....Still...perhaps we all should!
New activity soon...watch this space!