I have got into the habit of sharing articles or videos, or random stuff, I find interesting (or funny, or sad, or really annoying) on Facebook, where I probably would previously have written about them here. Perhaps because it’s quick and easy. Perhaps because I’m more likely to get responses there. Perhaps because I can just share with a few words, whereas here, I would feel the need to write a mini essay. Anyway, I thought I’d share some of those things that got me thinking or talking this week here, too.
Lizzie Velasquez – totally amazing woman
This woman has responded to bullying and negativity by turning it around and being positive and making something awesome of herself. Truly inspiring. Please do watch it!
She asks ‘What defines you?’ and this is something I often ask myself and I’m frankly never entirely sure. It feels sometimes as though there are just far too many things (or people, or roles) that define me, to the extent that I find myself getting a little lost.
Who am I? A mother. A wife. A sister. A daughter. A business woman. An artist. A writer. A left-wing vegetarian. A school governor.
What do I like? Laughter. Pretty things. Nice food. Wine. Travelling. Speaking other languages. Learning new things. Reading. Drawing and painting. Dancing. Chatting with friends. Playing board games. Walking in the countryside. Cuddles.
What do I believe in? That we should provide for and take care of those who can’t provide for themselves. That we should think of others and not just ourselves and our family. That we should be true to ourselves and stand up for our beliefs. That girls and boys can do everything and anything they want to, whether it’s pink or blue, has wheels or has fairy wings. That we are responsible for our own actions and must stand behind them. That we define our place in life – and in death. That no-one should be discriminated against for their gender, their race, their income, their parents’ job, their size – only for the words and their actions.
I don’t know. That’s an awful lot, isn’t it, and how much of that is actually me, rather than who I think I’m supposed to be or what I think I’m supposed to say?
I haven’t watched it and I don’t think I’m likely to. I did read an article (sorry, can’t remember where and I didn’t actually share that one on Facebook, apparently) that said there had been a working family filmed initially who were entirely cut from the show, which suggests to me (bear in mind again that I haven’t watched it) that the main purpose of the show is to get people watching and shouting at the people on it what horrible people they are. Certainly seems to be having such an effect, as I am seeing far too many status updates (yeeshk, Facebook again!) bemoaning people on benefits and scroungers and so on.
I just wish people would stop demonising the poor and the needy. It’s sickening, frankly, that society has grown into one where the majority thinks predominantly of themselves. Where commentary on other people is not empathetic or sympathetic, but disgruntled, sarcastic and demeaning. If you’re going to pick on someone, at least pick on someone who has the funds and ability to fight back – bankers, maybe (though, you know, some of my best friends…), or large corporations who pay almost no tax and have hideous working conditions?
Let children play
Finally, there’s an interesting article in the Independent about letting children play. It does hark back to the ‘golden days’ of neighbourhood play and no after-school activities a bit which, while I also hark back to them (mine were in the 70s, not the 50s like the author of the article), I’m never sure if it’s possible to return to. But it also has some scientific basis to show how important play is. Which, yes, I know. Learning through play is an integral part of the early years curriculum. I’ve read blogs of people who try to do ‘free-range parenting’ (which is as close to that 70s childhood as you can get in the modern era and involves lots of tree-climbing and being allowed to play out in the neighbourhood relatively, or completely, unsupervised) and wondered about it – would need to move house, first of all, of course! And I’m thinking a lot of mine (and our) parenting style and whether or not there is one and whether or not we need to make some serious shifts in attitude. I don’t have any answers, by the way! This has made me think a bit and I’ll probably go on thinking about it and making little adjustments and changes where perhaps something bigger might be required. It’s surely better to be someone who thinks about these things and is aware of their own parenting faults, and quite possibly continues to have many, rather than sitting back and assuming that we’re just fine and whatever we say goes, though. Surely?
OK, that’ll do for now. Can’t promise to do this regularly – because my blogging promises are generally pretty rubbish – but maybe I’ll try to share here a bit more often and not just leave everything for Facebook to hoover up.