29 August 2013
I went to Tina’s yesterday. Two of her kids were out, and for the first time her garden wasn’t full of friends and family having a great time doing nothing but fooling around and enjoying each others company.
Odd as it was with just our two kids playing it was really good to have some ‘grown up time’.
We sat on the lawn, glasses in hand reading something she had written in her early 20’s. It was so funny looking back. Even the typeface was different. Done on a typewriter when she should have been working.
It was a grown up version of the little quizzes that appeared in all the girls magazines back then. You know the type of thing:
You see a boy you like, do you :
a) Try and catch his eye during break?
b) Send him a note?
c) Get your friend to tell him you like him?
Well as you can imagine the ones she wrote in her 20’s were a little more…well….grown up, and something I am not going to reprint here. Let’s just say I was rolling with laughter and each one she read out had me not only laughing but remembering things from my past when I was that age.
Tina is a few years younger than me but back then a few years made little difference, things didn’t change that fast 30 years ago.
Now even massive changes occur in a very short space of time. It seems everyday we are bombarded by a new issue, a new thing we are not allowed to say or do. Rules and regulations smother us, choke us at every turn.
Children, who 30 years ago played out in all winds and weathers using their ample imagination to create magical games full of heroes and witches and soldiers and princesses now sit in front of the TV staring at the inane, mind numbing crap that TV producers call entertainment.
The children who used to come in after a hard days play, filthy dirty and physically tired are now up until midnight playing on electronic devices that transport them to such places, saving them the need of actually thinking it up for themselves.
How has this happened? How have we allowed our kids to slip into this lifestyle? How have we allowed ourselves to become so time poor that we no longer have the time to sit still and watch our kids play?
Normalcy bias that’s how.
Normalcy bias is a creeping, insidious disease that captures us all to some extent. Changes creep in little by little and we don’t notice. Tiny changes that in themselves mean nothing but like pennies they all add up.
Before you know it the tiny changes have turned into small changes, and then the small changes into large changes, and this is what has happened over the past couple of decades.
The changes that are happening now, and that will continue to happen are all about control, of us, as a people. Our kids are dumbed down, the next generation is not learning independence and individualism, they are becoming part of the collective.
As adults we spend a stupid amount of time either looking for a job or working a job if we have one. There are so many unemployed we have to do it because there are a couple of hundred people more than willing to take our place if we don’t tow the company line.
Life moves at a pace where trying to fit in all our responsibilities becomes almost impossible, and the electronic babysitters are ideal to get us enough quiet time to make dinner, or make a phone call or even just sit for five minutes getting our breath back before moving onto the next thing we ‘have’ to do.
It’s the ‘fast food phenomenon’. We want everything, and we want it now. The thing is that the system is going to fail, it always was going to fail, and we are starting to witness that failure now. The can cannot be kicked down the road anymore.
How many times have you been into a fast food outlet and there are that many people in there it takes an age to get served and find a seat where you then chomp on your tasteless burger surrounded by noise and other people that have got a tray full of food and no seat?
The fast food wasn’t so fast was it? You could have gone to a decent place to eat and had a decent meal and it wouldn’t have taken much more time or money to do it.
The same principle can be applied to life in general. We are forced to move ever faster, to work longer or more unsocial hours to make ends meet, living constantly with the fear that refusal will mean losing the job. Our time off is spent catching up on everything we should have been doing bit by bit throughout the week.
We are bombarded by the mass media, buying the latest miracle cleaner because it might save us time over using a more inferior product that requires more time and effort.
Our children feel entitled to the latest electronics feeling they are missing something if they don’t have what their friends have.
Millions on benefits have found they can lead a better lifestyle without working, no childcare to worry about and as long as they want to watch Jeremy kyle. They have lost sight of the fact that benefits are meant to be a hand up not a hand out.
While all this is going on the government continues to spend millions on CCTV in order to watch our every move, money that could be spent rebuilding communities whilst there is still a chance to do so.
Adolph Hitler said:
“The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”
He was right. His words are still right, they are as applicable today as they were then.
Our rights and freedoms have been eroded. They have been eroded by the government, they have been eroded by the media, they have been eroded by the education system…and we have allowed it to happen. We could have said ‘no” but we didn’t. The reason we didn’t was because we didn’t notice, it happened gradually, and it’s still happening, and it will go on happening until we do say no.
Until we say no to our kids, until we make them realise that running around in the fresh air opens a myriad of possibilities to them, until we make them realise that they can think for themselves, invent for themselves and enjoy themselves doing the simple things, this decline in their physical and mental wellbeing will not stop.
Until we tell the schools we will not stand for mediocre teaching, that our children deserve better mediocre teaching will continue.
Until we tell the government we will not tolerate their slight of hand, their insideous invasion of our private lives and their riding roughshod over our rights and freedoms it will continue.
Until we tell the big corporations we do not want their ‘Frankenfoods’ on our tables they will keep supplying us with adulterated foods that bear no resemblence to the animal or vegetable it originally came from.
Until we get back to basics as individuals, stand up for what we believe in, and believe in what we stand for it will continue.
In order to turn things around, to get back to the point where it was safe to walk the streets at night, where you looked at your plate and knew what you were eating, where children left school with a through and sound understanding of, and ability in the three basics of education, reading,writing and mathematics, we will not be able to turn things around. We need to stop and take stock.
It starts with us. We are the adults, we can turn this around but only if we start now, before it’s too late.
We need to teach our kids the work ethic, teach them respect, teach them that the best games are those of their own invention played with other children. They need to know that eggs come from chickens not aisle 26 at Asda.
We need to teach them how a home grown tomato tastes, free from pesticides and modification.
We need them to know that the new ways are not always the best ways and that the old ways still have a place in modern society.
It starts with us, because our kids are the ones that carry the future on their shoulders.
Tina, thanks for the inspiration.