Political activism is alive and well in rural Jersey – albeit in the under-11s.
My daughter wants to start a Facebook campaign to Save Gas Place Car Park. It’s not that she has anything against trees, she’s just worried the walk from car to ballet may become unacceptably long if we have to find somewhere else to park.
And my son demonstrated Scargill-esque disgust when I said I may not be able to nip into town to buy him a plectrum, as I had a lunchtime meeting and a very busy day at work.
“You’re entitled to a lunch break” he complained, outraged that he would have to wait an extra day before a Spongebob plectrum would be his.
“You should quit if you don’t get a lunch break.”
There was a time when their understanding of politics was limited to confusing BBC news presenters with Tony Blair.
Now they know the names of all three main political parties and have views on each of their leaders’ names – not on their policies though. I’m hoping that will come later.
There was a time, on the daily walk to school, when my son commented – “But a woman can’t be prime minister.” And he looked up at me in confusion, as if something didn’t compute.
For a second I paused. I was going to have to use Maggie as an example of female achievement if I was going to nip this one in the bud.
On balance, I decided that widening my son’s perceptions about the relative career options for men and women was important enough to make me swallow hard and offer the Milk Snatcher up as a positive role model for my daughter.
So I replied –
“Of course a woman can be prime minister. There’s already been one. Her name was Margaret Thatcher and she was in charge of the country in the 1980s”
And so I continued, until they got bored and ran ahead to wait for me at the next road junction.
These days they are keenly aware of topical issues and berate me if I leave the telly on standby and don’t get around to donating to Haiti/Red Nose Day/Sport Relief/Children in Need.
My daughter’s learning about electric circuits, so I’m anticipating a lecture on why we should use low energy lightbulbs – which I would if they radiated a useful amount of light.
I’m past the first flush of youth and need high watt incandescence to read by.
But I have just had some useful advice from my son, which I will try to remember the next time I start to feel irritation erupting at yet another example of sloppy work, bad service or rudeness.
I was complaining about something – it could have been one of a number of things I am starting to find more and more annoying – and he said, “You find a lot of things outrageous Mummy. You need to chill.”
He’s probably right.
But given his response to my overstuffed working day and occasional lack of a lunchbreak, he’ll be finding the lunacies of life just as outrageous as me in a few years time.