In my first assembly of term I shared with our children a message of what I hope came across as optimism. In the story, ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ the family bravely meets each bit of adversity and, rather than avoiding it or turning back, they meet it head on and keep on going. And life feels like that at the moment...a steady stream of challenges and adversity put in our way to test us. And I know that us adults are finding this hard - never before has ‘Dry January’ seemed like such a challenge!
However, despite my message of optimism (what else could I say?), my heart truly goes out to our children. The more time goes on it becomes increasingly apparent that they are the ones who have been asked to pay a huge price during this pandemic. Just taking my own children as an example, their experience so far has been: cancelled exams, predicted grades, cancelled sports fixtures, cancelled leavers ball and holiday, cancelled family gatherings, cancelled freshers week, no gyms, no night clubs, no travelling to see friends, no gigs, no part time work and learning at home, on their own and with no idea really what they are working towards. So much of what we hold precious in our country seems to have been cast aside where our children are concerned; their education, their freedom, their rights and their mental health.
Of course I understand that the protection of the elderly and vulnerable has had to be a priority, they are the ones who suffer most if they contract this disease so it is only right that they are the ones who get the greatest protection...but at what price for our children? And when does the point come where our Government will recognise that enough is enough and it is time to also prioritise the next generation who will be so vital to our recovery and the future of our world. To me it feels that if we are not already past this point we are certainly rapidly approaching it and close to the point where it could be argued that we are not giving priority to our children in the way that we should.
And it is perhaps worth remembering that our particular children are most certainly the lucky ones. They live in warm houses, with full fridges and loving families. They have access to a great online educational provision and have the technology to access it. If our children are finding it difficult, imagine what it is like for others...
John F Gilmour