My daughter is exhausted with life.
When I was 9, I don’t recall looking into the potential horizons of my future and thinking that it would all be one big tiring struggle. I was busy tolerating my parents divorce and trying to figure it all out. I made hopes for the future but never thought beyond that.
Is it a sign of present times, where we push children at school, push them in extra-curricular activities outside of school, that they are left seeing nothing but pointless work? Do they observe our work and the struggle to make ends meet and begin to dread what may be likely in the future.
I was looked after and loved as a child, and when I thought of the future it was a wish list of nice things and slightly outlandish careers. Not the reality of the daily grind, the Sunday night blues in anticipation of Monday and budgeting between pay checks.
I wonder if my Mum just kept me away from all the concerns of adult life and that I grew up ignorant. Maybe me and hubby are being too transparent so our daughter sees what it is like to be on an average salary living an average life.
It’s pointless placating by saying other children are worse off than you. Might as well say other children are better off than you too. That’s life as depicted by Banksy. Some kids worry about whether they will get a favourite brand of trainers so they look cool in PE at school, others worry for their life as their family climb into an inflatable boat at dawn bound for a new life in Europe.
I’m not one for watching celebrities do African appeals, there’s something profoundly wrong and pointless with their pity. However I do recall Paul Merton describing his experience watching a malnourished 3 year old African child. He observed the chilling expression in the toddler’s eyes that the little boy had already given up on life – resigned to his fate.
It is that look of resignation in a child’s eyes that epitomises all that is wrong and deeply sad about our world.
If the next generation around the world realise their fate from an early age, a very, very bleak future lies ahead.
Altering the trajectory of their fate can only be solved by grown-ups, most of whom are hell-bent on economic gain and solving their own problems rather than sorting out tomorrow.
In the UK we voted in a Government that is stopping progress with renewable resources and is making policy decisions that will ensure the gap between rich and poor increases and the number of children in poverty increases.
I hope our children can learn from our mistakes.
This blog is for UNICEF.
Thanks for reading.