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Foreign: Just a word


What’s your first thought? The answer will tell you a lot about yourself. Does it strike you with fear? Or does it evoke a sense of wonder?

It covers most places in the world, most people, most everything. For me, the word evokes a feeling of curiosity and triggers the need to understand and learn. There is so much to learn and appreciate in this world. It doesn’t even have to mean leaving your country, although some people should definitely try this. There are things to learn on your doorstep, we are all foreigners to one another. There is another world inside each person’s mind.

But the further you move from home, the more variety you will find, and also be surprised by the similarities. Smell the air, it’s the same, but with a slightly different aroma. Taste the food, probably the same basics, but with a few additions which you wouldn’t have thought of. It’s the differences which make the world interesting.

It’s just a word but, for me, it stands for excitement. What does it mean to you? Take the test.


© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

The Age of Benightedness

Sometimes it seems that the world is running in reverse gear. The search for knowledge and improvement, as a species, grinding to a halt. Meanwhile, old-fashioned beliefs are coming back to the fore.

Whether it be the return to religious fundamentalism, isolationism or authoritarian rule, there is a movement happening. It is a small movement, for now, but is has a wide appeal.

In the West, people call it populism, but doesn’t every politician wish to be popular? Doesn’t populism just mean pandering? Pandering to the masses. But the problem is, where do the masses get their information from? Can their opinions be trusted? Now this isn’t me calling people stupid, but there is a mass of misinformation out there. None of us are immune, we must be on our guard.

Whatever you may think of countries, and regimes, such as China and Russia, they are run by intelligent people. These people know what they want, and how to get it. Unfortunately other countries, like The United Kingdom and The United States of America, are not quite so organised. Pandering to popular attitudes and fears is at the root of both countries problems.

Britain went for Brexit, with no clear plan of how to achieve it. Now it is floundering, not wishing to reverse course, but just circling the waters, seemingly hoping to run into an idea or solution.

Meanwhile, in America, chaos reigns. A powerful country run by, what? Opinion is split as to whether he is stupid, senile or both. Certainly he is totally lacking in understanding, both of policy and people. A man with no heart, who believes he is the boss and everyone should jump.

So, what do we do? We can all fight our own corner, stand up to ignorance and abhorent ideas. Welcome enquiry and suspicion. Think, before the monsters creep up behind us and it is too late.

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

via Daily Prompt: Enlighten

Did you say Summer?

The holidays are almost here, a time for fun and relaxation.

Only one more week to go and the school gates will close for the summer.

On the last day we will run from school. Celebrating, shouting, screaming and jumping for joy. Eager to eat, drink and party.

We know it won’t last forever, we will have to return in a couple of months. But, for now, let’s go crazy. I suppose the students will be looking forward to it too.

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish


© Neil Hayes and neilhayeswriter

Beat the Competition

It’s hard being a parent, isn’t it? There are so many ways in which you can affect how your child grows and matures. Everything from your behaviour, to which activities you choose for them. It all contributes to the final product, your child.

But how do you protect them from the rest of the world? Of course, you can’t. All you can do is give them the tools to judge for themselves, what is right and what is wrong. Luckily my kids seem to be able to make these judgements already, even at only 5 and 7 years old.

My children often come home with stories from school, stories from other children. Stories about how they spend time with their families, and what they do. Or quite often, don’t do. But, recently, some of the stories have left my mouth hanging open. Of course, these stories come from the badly behaved children at school, and you are left thinking, no wonder.

I won’t quote every story, but it is the most recent one that has really made me think. My 5-year-old daughter came back from kindergarten and told us that a boy in her class had tried smoking. Yes, smoking, at 5! He must have stolen one of his parents’ cigarettes, he’d probably watched them smoking and learned how to do it. No, his father had let him try one. His father had put a filthy cigarette into his child’s mouth! Honestly I’m going to run out of exclamation marks writing this.

In the past, this was the classic tactic to stop your child smoking. Make them feel sick and they will hate it. But that was the past, and normally with children of teenage years. In this case it seems like it was just a funny thing to do, watch the child try to smoke, how amusing. My blood is boiling now, just thinking about it.

Luckily, my daughter told us this story while shaking her head. She knows this is stupid behaviour, and my son too. But I don’t want to spend my life telling them that their friends’ parents are stupid. So come on people, please grow up. You need to do it first, so then your children can.

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

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