I’m worried about the future. In this Trump / Brexit era, most people are, but to be specific, I’m worried about what the future holds for my kids.
Worry, worry, worry: this seems to be what us mums and dads are meant to do. Everyone talks about the early years being the hardest, but in a cruel twist of fate, I think they come with the least worry.
Allow me to elaborate. At the age of six, your child might face a few typical challenges: slightly behind at school, upset at not being invited to a birthday party, a bit of a fussy eater and so on.
I’m looking into the future. What happens 20 or even 30 years’ time?
My mother once told me she worried more about my brothers and I now than she did when we were kids. I can see exactly why.
As teenagers and young adults, my brothers and I have forced my mother and stepfather to deal with the following:
- Suspension from school
- Car crashes (minor)
- Car crashes (serious)
- Relationship break ups
- Financial problems
- Dropping out of the education system
- Moving hundreds of miles away
- What I shall euphemistically call, the influence of toxic friendships.
There is a lot more I could add to that list. In the interests of family harmony, I will leave it there. Suffice it to say all those issues must surely create more stress for a parent than the issues most kids face in the early years.
That’s before I even mention backpacking. Oh my word, the thought of my kids going backpacking utterly terrifies me
I did some crazy stuff as a backpacker and went to places I never want my kids to visit. The worrying thing is, I was always one of the more sensible backpackers (not that this says much).
I have vivid memories of an Australian guy, regaling us with stories of how he and some others went on an unofficial tour of a mountain in Bolivia. It had long been mined for silver and the locals, living in absolute poverty and desperate, used explosives to blast away at the mine in the hope they will discover silver.
Sure enough, he and his backpacking chums witnessed all this. He thought it was incredibly cool to be hiding in a Bolivian mountain and looking on as peasant miners with a life expectancy of 30 used explosives to blow holes into the rock.
The thought of my kids doing this kind of thing makes my blood run cold. They will travel, of course they will, but I need time to get my head around it. Before they go anywhere independently, they’ll be getting a very serious lecture about the etiquette to follow when invited to watch as poverty-stricken humans risk their lives simply to feed themselves.
I worried when Helen and Izzy were born. I worried when she started pre-school and nursery and I worried when Helen started school and made her way through Foundation Stage and Key Stages One and Two. I’m now worrying as Izzy prepares to start school.
I may as well get used to it. It clearly isn’t going to get any easier.