Monday, 17 October 2016

The world seemed a better place when I was growing up. #brightFuture

I have taken up a challenge to discuss #brightFuture .

Unilever’s #brightFuture initiative focuses on small changes that can make big differences and how we can build a world where everyone lives well and lives sustainably. Since the launch of the Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever has helped 482 million people to improve their health and hygiene, including through hand washing, improving self-esteem and oral hygiene.

I suppose every generation says it of the next generation down but the world seemed a better place
DD3 and two friends Darvel Park Jan 2001
when I was growing up. Hot Summers with long lazy days out on our bikes, playing on the beach or wandering off down the park all day with a jam sandwich wrapped in a bread wrapper We had the freedom pretty much to do what we wanted, our parents did not worry as it was normal to disappear for six or eight hours at a time as long as we were home for tea. We would spend all day by the open air swimming pool and did not have the knowledge to know to use sun screen. Not to mention the proper cold snow filled winters, where we used our sledges regularly and built snow men bigger than us. I remember one year hollowing one out and deciding to put the contents of the fridge in it over night, and my parents going nuts at me because the milk was frozen in the morning.  

When it was normal to thrown half a dozen kids in the back of the car and set off for the day. Long before seat belts and car seats existed. We hitchhiked the six miles home from school on the days they shut the school early and did not run the bus until the normal time. At that point I may add we lived very remote on what seemed to me to the very end of Scotland and apart from Military Vehicles and personnel there was little used the road so we were relatively safe. 
The grass may have always seemed green and the world idyllic and parents of today are horrified at some of this.  But then maybe previous generations had it wrong as well, go back a few more generations and we were sending children up chimneys, making them work in factories and sending them to work in the mines - so maybe it was not really the good old days for any previous generations. 

  • This is exemplified in the work undertaken by Domestos that has committed to helping 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet by 2020. Access to clean sanitation can protect people from preventable diseases, reduce mortality rates, help reduce school dropout rates and improve quality of life.

But how can we stop our children looking back and saying my parents were the generation responsible for this or that, or do you remember when such and such was normal? The controversial topic of the moment is Brexit. Will my great great grandchildren look back in fifty years and wonder how we could have got it so wrong? Or will they see it as the best vote this generation ever made. Joining the EEC as it was at the time was also controversial and made for a very large divide at the time as well. Will Brexit help to build a brighter future for them? Only time will tell. 

I think knowledge and understanding is a great place to start. Teaching your children about the world round them. Making them aware of how they as individuals fit into the bigger picture. How the small things they can do have a much bigger impact. I remember as children my mother turning on the tap when we brushed our teeth and left it running the whole time. Water meters have put an end to this for most people.We have never had a  water meter but my children were taught to use a cup of water to dip their brush in and then a mouthful to rinse with. Having said that modern thinking on teeth cleaning is a dry brush and no rinse so some evolving ideas are good for us.

getting wet and muddy
Last year when we visited the Falkirk Wheel the older two grandchildren spent some time in the water play area and part of that area is a pedal bike. It taught the children that in areas like Malawi some women spend all day pedalling a stationary bike that is used to bring water to the surface, no pedalling no water. We take running water for granted, and every day things that involve running water help to keep us healthy. From loading the dish washer to popping a washing in the machine or bathing the grandchildren are all just taken for granted.  Just as well really the state the twins are in when we have been to the park. Minky loves puddles, and mud. Using a shorter wash at 30 degrees with Persil is all that is needed for most washing, helping to make a #brightFuture for our children and our planet.

  • Persil encourages our children to get outside and play, inspiring them to grow and learn in an interactive way.

an autumnal tree
I had never heard of  things like a CO2 footprint when I was a child, but again education on such subjects is standard in modern thinking.  Joni Mitchell in her song Big Yellow Taxi has the verse "They took all the trees, And put 'em in a tree museum, And they charged the people A dollar and a half to seem 'em" . This at the time it was recorded was a very forward thinking lyric, but maybe not far from the truth.

Fifi has been taught about palm oil at school, and thus has insisted her mum does not buy products containing it. We all know it was readily used in a very large number of products for years without us really giving much thought to what it is or how it is grown. But now they realise the ecological damage it does by devastating rain forest and destroying the natural habitats of countless species of animals. Not to mention robbing the indigenous people of their land and thus their livelihoods. Palm oil use to be listed under various names but thanks to Paignton Zoo and EAZA all products sold must state on their packaging they contain palm oil. 

  • Six out of ten parents saying that they have started to live in a ‘greener’ way at home at the suggestion of their children.

Look back on how much the world has come on, back in the 1930's people went to the cinema to watch news reels, in the 1940's and 50's which in relative terms is the blink of an eye, people began to bring televisions into their homes, Few programmes were made and the news was a sombre affair watched by adults. Then along came Multi Coloured Swap Shop, that I use to watch to see Noel Edmonds,  that launched John Cravens News Round, a news programme made for children, This went on to have a slot of its own Monday to Friday and nowadays you get news programmes made by children for children.  The few channels that did exist stopped broadcasting after the ten o'clock news and I remember them closing down for the evening by playing the national anthem.  Fast forward to today and television runs 24/7 with more channels than anyone can begin to watch.

  • Furthermore, Persil has backed a global initiative ‘Learning for Tomorrow’ partnering with UNICEF to help give children in some of the world’s toughest areas the opportunity of a quality education.

 The internet also contains so much information. Children are much more aware of the world around them and we all know about the plight of the children in war torn Syria or a devastation tsunami or hurricane, they are aware of the work charities like UNICEF do, and I think every school child in Britain has been involved in some respect with Children in Need. Children learn compassion for their fellow man in a way my generation did not.

The internet of course leads to its own set of problems. Is the ten year old boy your child talking to on line really another ten year old boy or an adult grooming him? Thanks to discussions we have we can empower our children and make them more aware of potential dangers and I know my daughter tracks closely online what Fifi does. We can teach them to stay safe but more to the point speak about any concerns they may have or anything that is worrying them in a way I would never have done with my parents. In my day children were seen and not heard. Thank fully now children are seen as valued members of the family with opinions of their own, opinions they are encouraged to vocalise. In my opinion maybe they are given chance to be too opinionated and appear over indulged. 

old fashioned way of learning?

  • Equipping our children with confidence is essential and we can help in achieving this by providing them with the right resources. The Dove Self-Esteem Project has worked closely with leading psychologists, academics and experts to create materials, making a positive impact on 19 million young lives

sustainable power 
When the grandchildren stay over they like to cook and bake. This teaches them valuable skills and we can discuss healthy options. The world is riddled with illnesses caused by unhealthy eating habits. I would like to think part of the legacy I pass onto my grandchildren, as I did to my children is the skill to fend for themselves and cook meals from scratch.  They have been using sharp knives to chop the vegetables since they were about four, they have to learn how to use dangerous items in a safe manner. Both the older grandchildren were capable of cooking a full roast dinner by the time they were ten. Ten years ago when cooking the food we would have had to put on the oven on to make a few cakes but now we can reduce our power usage by using a cake maker or the halogen oven, a much more environmentally friendly option, not to mention the difference in the bills over a year. 

This post is an entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever

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