"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 7 October 2010

In praise of children!

I am being a bit lazy today and mostly publishing my part in a debate on another blog site about the awful implications made by the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt on BBC2's Newsnight. If you have managed to avoid hearing about this up until now, click on the blog title above to catch up.

It has taken me a time to state my case on this as I have been too angry with Hunt's insinuations to type properly. There are so many objections to the objectionable implications made by this highly objectionable minister - OK you probably get the idea that I feel strongly about this. Someone who managed to lay these objections out in a calmer manner than I is Julian Ware-Lane on his blog: http://warelane.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/parenthood-is-philanthrophy-not-a-crime/#comment-2220

My edited contribution [with additions!]is below:

Going back into history around the end of the 18th/beginning of the 19th centuries, larger families amongst the poor are sometimes credited as one of the 'accelerants' of the Industrial Revolution. The fact that infant mortality rates were falling [then still high but not as high as previously] and that the wages earnt in the growing industries meant couples could marry younger and have more surviving children. These children in turn provided workforce for the growing numbers of factories and mines - and we must remember that children as young as four or five would be working as well as their mothers and fathers. So large families helped provide a 'raw material' - labour - for the Capitalist Society to exploit.

And to the parents - if they survived to old age, or at least an age when they were unable to work - the more children they had the more chance that they would be cared for in old age and not have to resort to the dreaded workhouse.

Yesterday I heard someone declaiming on a 'phone in programme that as s/he was childless why should s/he pay taxes to support the children of others: to educate and otherwise care for them. BECAUSE CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE: educate them and ensure they grow up up healthy and strong because - if we want to look at it selfishly as that 'phone in caller seemed to be doing - they are the future doctors, nurse, teachers, road builders, dustbinmen, traindrivers, shopworkers - get the picture?

We hear so much about Benefit Scoungers but any one who has children to make a profit must be very clever at managing money. No doubt someone will produce an example of someone they know who goes to Florida every year and is dripping with luxury goods whilst living on benefits. In reply I will take that someone to a house not far from here where a single mother with three children is having a terrible struggle to make her money last out between her meagre wage payments plus additional benefits. This mother did not set out to be a single mother and 'live on the state'- the tragedy of marital breakdown has reduced her to this status which is now almost hurled as an insult - and she still works as hard as she can to fit in with her growing family, working well below her educational status to fit hours and proximity to the family.

I thoroughly enjoyed being at home with my children and never felt I was 'wasting my education' or losing out on career opportunities. My mother once said 'educate a woman and you educate the family' - very true. Nowadays it is not so easy for women to stay at home with their children and in a lot of ways some of us older mums feel that children and childhood are 'devalued' by modern society and there seems to be a lot of pressure on children to grow up quickly. Childhood is a magic time that does not last long enough - lets preserve it and celebrate it, please.

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