Posts filed under ‘Childhood’

Hindsight.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I am going to link two stories that are hitting the headlines in the UK today. They may not seem to have much in common but to me there is a thread that links them….

Every day for the last week has seen new revelations about Jimmy Savile. For those of you who don’t know the name, he was a famous UK disc jockey who died last year. He had been famous for decades, known for radio and television shows plus his tireless charitable efforts. He was lauded and admired. However, it appears there was a much seedier side to Savile; he was a sexual predator. Many women have come forward to talk about assaults from unwanted touching to rape. There are ongoing investigations, both by police and within the BBC where Savile worked for many decades.

Some have asked why this is happening now, the man is dead and what good does it do. Some women have said that they went to the police years ago but their claims weren’t taken forward. Many who worked within the BBC from the 60s to the 80s and even today have said that inappropriate behaviour was not uncommon. I read about these times being ‘different’, workplace/life cultures have moved on. As someone who has worked from the 70s until now, whether in part-time work while studying or as now, full-time, I know workplace and indeed life cultures have changed.

Before anyone thinks I am an apologist for this – sexual assaults are wrong. I cannot believe that anyone thinks that the decade provides any excuse for that kind of behaviour. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I watched Have I Got News For You this week and agreed to some extent with Ian Hislop – he said that if people were not aware they couldn’t put a stop to it – the media frenzy that the BBC, hospitals and charities should be hung out to dry over this was not right if those organisations were not aware. HOWEVER, from some reports I have seen there were witnesses to at least some of Savile’s assaults. My question to them – did you report it at the time? If you did then thank you. If you didn’t, why the hell not?  When we see something that is wrong we are supposed to do something about it aren’t we? I have little sympathy with the tears of witnesses many years on if they were silent at the time. Yes, Savile was famous and his reputation as a kind man, a tireless worker for charity would have made it exceedingly difficult to go up against. Difficult doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

I then look at the Lance Armstrong story. To get the disclaimer in place early – Lance Armstrong denies all of the allegations contained in the US Anti-Doping Administration (USADA) report about a systematic and thoroughly organised programme of using performance enhancing drugs and other methods to increase performance. Added to the report we now see fellow riders and support staff coming out to talk about the rigorous processes Mr. Armstrong followed to ensure that he was better than the rest; this would appear to also involve not getting caught.

I accept Lance Armstrong has the right to deny the contents of the report and subsequent news coverage. I am though, personally tempted to stand up, point and say ‘Liar, liar, pants on fire’. It seems to me that enough people have come forward to at least partially substantiate the report. I will always be a believer in due process and that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Because of this I can only say I am tempted to do the liar, liar action.

However, again I say to all those people who are so eager to talk about the transgressions of Lance Armstrong now but said nothing before – wrong, wrong, wrong. I see no noble actions here, just a tawdry and sorry story about the limits people may go to to win and those who would be content to further this aim whilst it might fit their own ends.

My final point – what do we do when we see something wrong? Do we act or do we allow? I like to think I would act and I hope you all would to.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

October 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm 2 comments

Temptation?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Temptation is one of those delicious words. These days it conjures up naughtiness, wicked but in a ‘Carry On’ way. We apply the word to that sneaky bar of chocolate or a slice of cake. We don’t often consider the darker definition of the word….

The definition of temptation?

1. The act of tempting; enticement or allurement.

2. Something that tempts, entices, or allures.

3. The fact or state of being tempted, especially to evil.

4. An instance of this. The temptation of Christ by Satan. Matt. 4.

Fascinating that the words to describe temptation are as ‘tempting’ as the word. Enticement, allurement, they make us think of something that will make us tingle, make us smile.

People talk about temptation as a quick fix. “I couldn’t resist those crisps, that dress, those shoes.”. We regard it as an enhancement, a reward perhaps for a bad week. I do it too; ‘reward’ myself with something nice, mentally kick myself later for the calories, the money splurged.

So, is the temptation worth it? Yes and no. It comes down to what you are trying to fix. When we need cheering up after a crappy day then a bar of choccy is just the thing to perk you up. Then the quick fix will make you smile, lift your spirits. I raise my hands and plead guilty:)

However, when your life is not what or where you want it to be then a quick fix is not the answer. We all know this and yet we fool ourselves that the new whatever will work, at least sometimes. Why do we think that distraction with little things will sort out the larger issues? We all do it when there is a mountain looming in front of us. Procrastination, prevarication, call it what you will. If we aren’t looking at the mountain then it isn’t there? It may distract for a while but when things are quieter your thoughts will always drift back there.

Looking outside yourself also leads to the ‘if onlys’. If only I had that new job, if only I had that new relationship, if only I could take that trip. Life is full of if onlys but they only happen when you make them. I made a major change recently when I changed my working hours. It has allowed me to do what I wanted, provide a little help to some. However, I have found the adjustment more difficult than I thought and it has taken time to get used to my ‘new’ routine. I thought I would have more time to write but that is an ‘if only’ for me. I will keep working on it.

I said about the darker side of temptation didn’t I? The state of being tempted, especially to evil. A chilling definition. I get the naughty side of temptation, the darker side not at all. Is it temptation, arrogance or complete indifference to others that makes a sane person act in an evil way? There are people who take without heed. There are people who suppress using words or fists. There are people who take positions of responsibility and use their power to abuse, crush as they live lavish lives. How do people start on that path? What is the first tempting thought that leads them down their chosen path? More importantly, when they have no distractions left what does the voice in their head say? I don’t know and am not sure I ever want to, I’ll concentrate on only listening to this one when he talks about shoes…..

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

September 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment

Nightmares.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

This is a post about nightmares. Sleep is when we get to recharge and rest. It should be sweet and restful, letting your body and mind get ready for the needs of tomorrow. However, for many this is not the case….

I asked the lovely people of Twitter if anyone wanted to share their experiences with me for this blog and I will add in my own so you understand why I wanted to cover this topic. I will use only an initial for those whose words I share and am interested to see if they resonate with you.

From ‘B’

I’ve got a fairly overactive imagination, so sleep has never come easy to me – I take a long time to drift off, and I wake up easily throughout the night and when morning arrives. My ‘nightmares’ often aren’t scary in themselves, but as I’m a borderline sleepwalker, the waking up part can be pretty interesting.

Memorable examples include when I was a student, and had a huge Reservoir Dogs poster on my wall – the Mr Blonde one, where he’s drinking a milkshake – and I woke up halfway through a fist fight with him. On another occasion, I woke up stood at my (locked) bedroom door, trying to get out.

More recently, I dreamed my bedroom ceiling was caving in, and woke up desperately trying to hold it up – obviously it wasn’t collapsing, but the weird part is that some of the ‘dream reality’ lingers for a few minutes before real-world logic kicks in and you realise that what you’re doing is ludicrous.

In terms of ‘normal’ nightmares, I’ve had plenty of dreams about being chased – either by murderous secret agents and assassins, or by toothy monsters hoping to take a bite out of me. In general, I’d opt for waking from one of those, in my own bed, rather than waking up on my feet somewhere else…!

Lesley says – I love the fight with the Reservoir Dogs poster, it shows that B is a ‘goody’ even when asleep, wanting to foil the evil deeds of those baddies. I also had a brother with a tendency to waken up in strange places. I am glad to say that these were normally within our parents’ home but know from his experiences how disorienting it can be to waken in a different place from where you went to sleep.

From D

My nightmare usually consists of a feeling of being smothered, an immense weight on my body, pushing the air out of my lungs, someone hugging me to stop me moving and an inability to speak or scream. My words come out as grunts of fear and sometimes not at all. If my bladder is full I cannot find a toilet as the squeezing of me becomes more intense and stifling.

Mrs D says I usually lie still and sweat…she knows I am having nightmare. When I can, I let out a shout usually ‘NO’ or ‘HELP ME’

Lesley says – This is a terrifying dream. I am no dream analyst but this reflects pain. I can only hope that D finds solace somewhere from this pain. I am grateful for his courage in sharing and hope that relief from this dream and its causes will come his way.

From J

As a child I had two distinct and regular nightmares. The first was that I was on the landing about to walk down the stairs. As I step forward I start to fall, though I am standing upright I am plummeting at speed to the bottom of the stairs. As I reach the bottom I wake up in a sweat with heart pounding. The second regular nightmare is that I am walking somewhere, usually with my father. However instinctively I know this isn’t actually my father but a monster who looks like my father. I try to hide this from him, knowing that if he knows I know, then he will kill me. It always ends with him looking at me, then his face starting to change, his mouth opening up like a snake’s fangs in place of teeth and he emits a beastly, guttural roar before reaching down to kill and devour me.

In later years I started to dream that I was in a hurry to get somewhere. I would be walking along when suddenly I would start to levitate, against my will. I tried to get back on the ground but couldn’t. Because my feet had no purchase, I couldn’t control my direction or speed and inevitably would end up not getting where I needed to be on time.

Sometimes I dream I am stranded miles from home, only wearing pyjamas and have to walk, in the dark, along miles of country roads to get back home. People stop and stare and I feel under constant threat.

Another nightmare that recurs is that I have witnessed a major accident or emergency, sometimes it is someone I know having a heart attack, sometimes it is something like seeing a plane crash and burst into flames as it hits the ocean. I try to phone 999. Sometimes I can’t find a phone. Other times, my phone won’t work. Always, when I get through I am put on hold, then the operators aren’t helpful, they tell me I am through to the wrong department, they reel off long numbers for me to call myself. They never help and leave me frantically unable to get help for the person/people who are dying.

In a lot of nightmares I am murdered or at the receiving end of violent crime. I am in a familiar situation but sometimes one of my friends turns violent, sometimes it is a stranger. In one recent nightmare I was murdered and killed over five times in the space of one dream sequence. Shot, blown up, stabbed, always painful, always violent, never an accident. Sometimes, rather than being murdered, someone I care about or trust turns on me, knocks me out and when I come to, they have me imprisoned and they torture me, electrocution, burning, slicing scalpels into me. Always painful, physical torture.

The newest recurring nightmare has been happening over the last three years. A good friend from work has a granddaughter who has a pet which is always a big cat, lion/tiger/panther/leopard are the variations so far. The pet was a cub but is now reaching adult size. Without meaning to the big cat is a danger to this child. her grandmother tells me to take the big cat and have it put to sleep. I am afraid of the animal and am trying to put a collar and lead on it to take it to the vet, but sense that the big cat knows something is up and is full of sinister menace and waiting for me to approach it so it can tear me apart. In the meantime I am trying to feed it to distract it, and can’t find enough meat to satisfy it. It always ends with me waking up just as the big cat is pouncing on me, about to kill me and probably devour me.

Anyhow, those are the main nightmares I have had over the years. I have experienced them since as far back as I can remember, certainly from about the age of 4 onwards. It is a rare night that I wouldn’t have a nightmare, and these are the most common ones that still plague me on a reoccurring basis.

Lesley says  – A lot of vivid dreams from J. It is interesting that so many feature creatures and ‘change’, a monster disguising itself as his father, friends changing into something J does not recognise.  Also, I had believed that people did not die in dreams but J seems to knock that theory on its head. However, what also shines through is that J’s dreams also focus on trying to help others which speaks to the person he is.

From P

I had a series of five nightmares over a three week period about 15 plus years ago. All involved being watched by something I couldn’t see but could sense was there. The last two were the worst and prompted me to go to the doctor for a chat. I did, we chatted and they stopped. Very strange.

The fourth was as follows:

I was working in a tower block and went down the stairs to meet my wife who was on the floor below at a bank counter. She looked up and waved to me through the window and I pointed to a small child, in Victorian dress, all in black, who was standing in front of the counter staring at her. I kept pointing at the child and mouthing “who is she” but my wife didn’t appear to see her. The child continued to stare and I felt panic rising. Them something moved behind her. I couldn’t make out what it was but it was dark and the air had gone cold. I started to bang on the window telling her to get out as the dark figure got closer and closer behind her but my wife now seemed to be able to see the girl and took no notice of me. Just as the figure was about to envelop her I woke up, wet through and hardly able to breathe.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the last one.

I often dream about a house we lived in when I was a child. It was a Victorian terrace and behind it was an old slaughter house that my Dad used as a garage. I had to be moved out of one bedroom as I kept waking up screaming in it. I was about six or seven. I claimed the walls were moving.

In the dream, the house was the wrong way round and I remember trying to reconcile this as I slept. The bedroom was where the bathroom should be and vice versa. I was in bed and my two sisters were also in beds alongside me. I was cold. It was dark but I could see the flickering of the TV screen downstairs as my parents watched. A breeze started and then got stronger. It got colder and, again, I became aware of something moving. I started to shout to my parents but they either couldn’t hear or my voice was too weak. Panic built up and, through the flickering I could see the same dark shadow as my previous dream. This time I could hear it too. It scraped and rustled as it climbed the stairs. I was freezing cold and screaming at my sisters to run but they slept. I tried to get up but couldn’t, all I could do was stare at the open door waiting for whatever it was to come round the corner.

Just as the figure was about to appear, there was a grating noise and the walls began to move. In one of the walls, three shapes began to appear. I watched in horror as three tomb spaces appeared and above them I read the names of my two sisters and me. The figure appeared into view and I woke up, again wet through and freezing cold. It was terrible.

As a postscript, the year after, J and I took my dad to France to where he was brought up. A school friend of his hired us a gite. It hadn’t been modernised since the war and we were dismayed when we went in. The walls were filled with dead animal heads and even my implacable dad hated it. In our bedroom was a double bed and at each side of it was a little door, about two foot high with a cross above each. My wife opened a wardrobe door and freaked out. In there was a Victorian doll, dressed exactly as I had described to her in my dream. We moved out the next day.

Lesley says – I think P’s words do illustrate one thing I believe, that children can pick up on nuances/vibes/call them what you will, that adults are perhaps not sensitive to. Some people say that dreams like this are merely coincidence; I have never been that certain. In life and dreams there are coincidences but I also believe there are things not so easily explained. Others place many names for this but I have none, I just know that sometimes your inner voice is the right one to follow.

From Me

I talked to my sons about this blogpost and they too have had this dream so it may be common, I only know how scared I was when I first experienced it…

This dream only happens when I am dozing. In the dream I am sleeping where I have fallen asleep, normally the sofa and the same people are in the room with me as were there when I dozed off. I waken in the dream but I have total paralysis. I cannot open my eyes, cannot move or speak. I remember the panic the first time when I tried to make a noise, any noise, to alert my family to what had happened. I could sense my fear and my heart knocking in my chest but couldn’t do anything about it. I have never known such fear. It felt like an age but was probably only a minute or two before I fell back to sleep.  When I awoke properly I talked about it and asked had it been obvious to anyone but apparently I had looked happily asleep. It preyed on my mind for days.

The second time it happened was exactly the same. Again I thought about it for days and was even frightened to sleep in case it happened again. I am glad to say that thinking about the experience has somehow allowed me to process it. I have had the dream a few times since but once I have those initial moments of panic I have been able to comprehend that this is a dream. This allows me to tell myself to go back to sleep thus allowing me to waken properly shortly after. I hate the feelings it gives me but am hoping that I can now deal with them a little better……

Some theorise that dreams allow us to process the experiences of the day, others believe it is a way for our body to process underlying emotions. Scientists study our sleeping patterns and the brain activity during the phases of sleep. However, no-one has definitive answers for dreams and how they impact our waking selves. I think they will always have some mystery, perhaps they are personal and should remain so?

For me? I hope your dreams are happy and you waken up smiling. When you do, please think of those whose waking hours are the nightmare – poverty, violence, hunger. These are the waking experiences for too many and their nightmares may be a relief. That is a terror to me.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

September 3, 2012 at 9:19 pm Leave a comment

Mean Girls? Mean Boys? Teenage Kicks…

A little reminder of why I do this. The premise is simple. You donate to a childrens charity and comment on this blog about the donation and what you wanted to be when you were 8. Want to know more? Please read the About Lesley page….

I have just been subjected to a teen flick. I am very tempted to end this post now with a very loud and silent scream – you know what I mean. However, in the spirit of blogging more in 2012 I thought I should write about teenagers.

I state upfront that I only have one teen left but she is my third experience of the species that is ‘the teenager’. A strange and puzzling race they are. I am still struggling to work them out when it comes to food, fashion, music, books and online gaming. One thing has been proved to me time and again, I know very little and I have no real taste. I accept all of this, tis the way of the world that children know their parents know nothing, at least while the child is aged between twelve and twenty. This is a rite of passage (or in today’s overused and sickening cliché, a journey?) for all parents and children. At some point in their early twenties most children have a revelation, their parents actually know stuff and some of their words might be worth listening to, shock horror!

There is one thing that puzzles me though. Why do groups of teenagers scare so many people? What is the obsession that the red-tops and Daily Fear and Screams have with ‘feral teenagers’? I am sure some people have had bad experiences with young people but like all age-groups most of them are kind, polite and trying to get through life the best way they can. Teenagers are only one more age-group, there are good ones, not-so-good ones and the ones that learn from their mistakes and move on.

Can you remember when you were a teenager? I can. I thought I knew way more than I actually did. My friends and I alternated between thinking we had everything sorted to knowing that our world was ending to being completely bored! That is the nature of the teenager; they are trying to figure out what they are and are as inward-looking as the rest of us. To those who find them intimidating because they travel in groups I ask this – did you not do exactly the same?

You may counter my words with ‘but teenagers are more violent these days’. Are they really? If you think that I suggest you google the 1960s and mods and rockers. The outrage that leeched from the headlines of the red-tops was something to behold. Yes, there were fights and riots, they were conflicting teenage cultures and could not see a space for each other. That was fifty years ago, the world turns and history repeats itself now with gangs and hoods.

I am glad to say that I have survived the teenage years, both my own and those of my children. At least two of them know that Motown is awesome but they haven’t really taken on the joy of Karen Carpenter’s voice, although I live in hope. As for me, I have learned that Nirvana wrote some really decent songs but am still immune to the charms of Bob Dylan.

My last note, they may look like this a lot of the time but they are loveable, sometimes it just takes a second look to see the loveliness……

Awwwwww, coochy. coochy!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

January 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm 4 comments

Parenting or Punishment?

A little reminder of why I do this. The premise is simple. You donate to a childrens charity and comment on this blog about the donation and what you wanted to be when you were 8. Want to know more? Please read the About Lesley page….

I read an article a couple of weeks ago on child-rearing. Amy Chua is an unabashed ‘Tiger Mother’. Four hours of homework/practice daily and total control of the day-to-day activities of her children. It works for her, her children are high achievers and we all want our children to fulfill their potential, even stretch themselves to make that potential soar. However, Amy’s style is not and will never be mine.

However, it got me thinking about parenting ‘styles’. A business it its own right, it isn’t easy to get overall figures on revenue but one of the most popular books, Dr. Spock’s baby and Child Care book has sold 50 million copies in 49 languages. Another best-seller is Gina Ford whose methods would appear to differ from Dr. Spock. I have read neither but know that both have huge fan-bases as well as dectractors. From a cursory glance I would have more in common with Dr. Spock’s methods.

There are many new parents out there who feel they need help to raise their children and there will likely be a book that can match their core beliefs and styles. As families spread out geographically I can see a need to have support from books, healthcare professionals and the like. I happily confess that I have never read a child-rearing book, I learned it all the practical way. I am one of nine children, eldest girl, middle child. When I was young there were always babies and I learned how to play with a toddler very early on. I also learned mothering skills from my mother. She was and is a wonderful parent; she had nine children then studied for her degree. If you want to know the value of hard work in my family you just look at my parents. They also taught me one of the best things I know, that words are the stuff of life. I am lucky that they are both still with me, even if they take my money playing poker on a Friday night….

I do not claim to be a great parent but I have been the best parent I could. If I boil down my parenting style it would be something like this:-

  • A routine for a baby is a good thing. However, there are times when a routine cannot be applied. Yes, a baby may cry for a few minutes before sleep but a distressed cry is different from a tired, ready to sleep cry. You will know the difference and you will know they need lifted for food, cuddles, whatever is required.
  • I remember being told that you shouldn’t look in the eyes of a baby when feeding during the night so they knew this was a quiet time. What tosh! How can you not make eye contact with the loveliest thing in the world?
  • Babies and toddlers need love, laughter and play. Fun is good for everyone and everyone should play with their children.
  • All children need to learn the meaning of losing. The notion that you cannot have a sports day so that children feel like failures is just ludicrous, to be honest it makes my blood boil. You can participate, have fun without winning and children need to learn this. There is some prevalence to the notion that children should never feel as if they fail; this myth is being perpetuated. I am not saying that any child is a failure but few excel at everything. Children are not stupid, when they are told they are awesome at something they know they struggle with they will get confused. Grown-up life has rejection, in relationships, in exams, in the job market. If losing a sack race at school gets you ready to deal with this isn’t that a good thing?
  • In the same vein everyone needs to learn the meaning of ‘no’. I have heard of parent’s being advised not to use the word to their children as it has ‘negative connotations’. This makes my teeth hurt. The word no is important. If a child gets everything they want all the time their expectations are set. There is nothing wrong with learning that a new game must be earned’ that pocket money earned from doing small chores can be saved to buy that game. My kids always felt very proud when they could buy some longed-for item with their own money. That sense of achievement was worth it to them.
  • Eating together makes a family. This doesn’t happen so much in my house now as they are all grown-ups and focused on work, going out, seeing friends and that is how it should be. However, it was always a rule when they were smaller that we sat together to eat dinner most of the time. There would be rows but there was also a lot of laughter. When we do go out as a family to eat it is still the same, a vast amount of mickey-taking but a heap of laughter to boot. It is rarer than I would like but I always enjoy it, even when I am the butt of the jokes. You should all know that I have no life and when I was young I had no idea how to party. I do not correct that myth, some things are better kept in my head:)
  • I save the most important one for last. Children need to know they are loved and supported. Smiling, talking, telling your children you love them is important. Even when they are getting right on your nerves and you are having a row they need to know you love them. I hope mine know it every day because that is true every second of every day.

My last thought on this. The reason that everyone loves to see the You-Tube videos of ‘talking’ twins and laughing babies is that the sound of a child’s laughter is the sweetest sound on earth.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

January 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm 2 comments

I know, I know, Seven Weeks and Counting?

You know why I do this but if you don’t know why I do this please read the About Lesley page….

It is that time of year again, Christmas is coming over the horizon. For most this thought makes us happy, for some it causes pressure and depression. If you can afford to buy all those items your children want you can look forward to the Season of Goodwill. If not then you have that sickly feeling of dread in your stomach. You know what I mean; we have all had that feeling. It is normally fleeting, most get this it only in moments of great fear or danger but it passes quickly leaving ‘just’ that lingering nausea. When it is constant life is painful…

So, have I created a little guilt yet? Have I hit the collective conscience? I jest but only slightly. Christmas is after all the time when we should be thinking of others. With this in mind I am going to make a few suggestions.

  • Buy charity cards but I add a note of caution. Make sure you check the pack of cards to see how much of the money will be going to the charity. Charities do like there to be at least a 10% donation but, from the little research I have done, there doesn’t appear to be any legislation. You can also buy direct from the charity to maximise the amount they will receive. Look closely and let your motto be check the pack and get the most charity bang for your buck!
  • Consider purchasing some gifts of goodwill? It has become more popular to donate as a gift and present your family member/friend with a certificate about the donation. There is a wide choice of charities you can do this with, I have added a few links at the bottom of this post.
  • When you are battling your way through the crowds with ‘that’ list full of names, ideas, strikeouts and ticks, why not buy one extra present for families in need in your area? There are always local collection points who will be happy to take these from you. In my area the Post Office and banks always participate. One note from me, please remember the teenagers, you can always find presents for young children and we all love buying toys but teenagers love gifts too.
  • Lastly, a concept that is new to me but one I am going to take advantage of. A kind friend on Twitter, @Pancake_One, sent me a link to a site (Easy Fundraising) that donates to charities for every purchase you make. They link you to the major retailers and you select a charity to benefit from your on-line spending. I have registered with the site and have asked that Barnardos be my chosen charity. I picked Barnardos as I donate monthly to two other childrens charities and thought I would spread the love. You don’t have to use this site, there are others out there. Please check and be happy that any site you use is secure before you purchase anything, I am always cautious online and would urge you to be the same.

I hope this post finds you happy about the upcoming Holiday Season, I also hope you will think before you buy? Enjoy! 🙂

Links

I have included a selection of charities and sites here but please have a look for your favourite. Remember – check the sites out and only use if you are comfortable….

Easy Fundraising – http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/

Save the Children Wishlist – http://shop.savethechildren.org.uk/wishlist/

NSPCC Online shop – http://www.nspcc.org.uk/donate/donate-and-buy/

Barnardos Online Shop – http://www.barnardos.org.uk/shop.htm

Unicef Online Shop – http://shop.unicef.org.uk/

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

November 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm 2 comments

I Want!

You know what I want, please donate to a childrens charity and write to me! More details on the About Lesley page….

I had an exchange on Twitter last week about my long-held longing for an Audi. I haven’t got one but one day perhaps. It got me thinking about our ‘I want’ culture. We all want, fact. Be it stuff, feelings, opportunities, change, we all want that ‘one’ thing or many things, if we get those things then perhaps life will be perfect? We assuage any guilt by telling ourselves we need to ‘want’ to be able to strive. That is true to some extent but I ask you, when do we reach ‘enough’?

When children are small they do not recognise anything beyond their own wants and feelings. When they cry they are lifted, fed, cuddled, changed and their crying stops. As they become toddlers they want to explore, touch, possess and see no barriers to having what they want. I do love this stage in children, they have total freedom and happiness in believing that everything is theirs. Of course we must teach them otherwise. We teach our children the word ‘No’, we teach them to share, a lesson hard-learned but a lesson that must be learned. It is all necessary to allow a child to develop but I do remember the sheer disappointment on my own children’s faces as this became painfully clear.

We are in a consumer culture and are continually bombarded with the next best thing. Adverts, product placement, even the news broadcasting the top twenty toys for children. Is it any wonder that our kids feel deprived if they don’t have those trainers, that game, this burger? When we combine this with the immediacy of a credit-driven economy it is too easy to say yes when we should be saying no. I have tried to raise my children to save before spending but it is tough. I know I am not immune to the charms of the advertisers either. If I am out ‘browsing’ I inevitably find myself drawn to admire handbags, a weakness I am very aware of. I contain and control it; I can admire and walk away but every now and then I succumb. My friends are very aware of this character flaw and steer me gently away from the pretty, pretty bags:)

However, there is more than one definition for want, I thought this summed it up for me –

1: to be needy or destitute
2: to have or feel need
3: to be necessary or needed
4: to desire to come, go, or be
The first definition is to me the most important. It is that which makes me keep my love of handbags and Audis in check. You know I hate to sound ‘goody-goody’, that is not my way but do I really need more when so many don’t have enough? I will continue to ask myself this when the handbag pangs get too strong. However, I won’t stop saying ‘Hello Baby’ to every beautiful Audi I see……
In the meantime, I can always look, can’t I?

Oh my, isn't it pretty!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

October 31, 2011 at 11:07 pm 4 comments

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