How often do your children get to spend time alone without any outside stimulus? When was the last time they had to draw on their own resources to entertain and motivate themselves?
Timetables for children these days can be hectic; after-school clubs, the pressures of school work, social media and other screen-based activities all vie for their attention and focus. It’s not so often that they are left alone to their own devices free from these distractions. And the same is true of us.
When was the last time you asked a child a truly profound question?
Last year, the comedian Joe Lycett wrote a Guardian column in which he mentioned asking a ten year old girl, to whom he is close, “What do you think art is?” She replied, “It’s trust. If you trust something’s good, then it is.” Brilliant. As Joe says, that is exactly what art is.
Fashion is a slippery master. It pervades almost every aspect of our lives, not just music and clothes, but attitudes, values and personality traits. These days the tenet that ‘you can achieve anything if you want it enough’ is all pervasive. Similarly I see a trend towards ‘loving yourself’ gathering momentum. Less in favour are the not-so-thrusty attributes of modesty and humility.
People-watching sure can teach you a lot. When I'm on a trip, I spend a fair amount of time observing how other guests treat the hotel staff. Some are polite, but removed, others clearly see beyond the role to the human doing the job, and some are just downright rude. I find myself wondering if there is a parallel here with how they treat children and young people.
Last year, Amazon released the Echo Dot Kids Edition, which is apparently more able to decipher the way that young children speak.
For some time now I’ve been pondering the effect that getting used to barking orders at our devices will have on us.
“Siri, what’s the weather like in Edinburgh?”
“Alexa, phone Dad.”