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

Information Overload

You can never have too much information, right? Information means education, that’s knowledge, right? But, currently it seems it is possible to have too much information. Because, after all, information does not have to be true. It is just a message, it is up to us to decide if we trust the messenger. Politicians stand up and lie, repeatedly, and go unchallenged. People share what they have heard, and the word is spread.

But, how do we know? After all, we can’t all be experts in every field. We have to think, look at where the information has come from. If you live in America, and the website you are reading is covered in patriotic memorabilia, you can be pretty sure there will be a bias to a certain point of view. Maybe you share many of those views, but you should still be aware of the bias and not just let your views be confirmed. I feel that the liberal media is much more honest, but I still have to think about what I hear and not blindly accept it. 

We all must be aware that every person has some individual bias. After all, we are all products of our environments, we all want to believe that our peers and our friends are good, honest people. And they probably are, but it doesn’t mean they are right. 

Daily Prompt: Volume

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

No Qualms

As my son’s first year at school comes to an end it seems that everything has gone to plan. I have no worries about his work, his friends and his attitude. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t occasional arguments and tantrums, that is to be expected. But, generally, he seems to be a very happy schoolgoer.

The picture you see is from his first day of school, what a happy face! He doesn’t always look that happy when you wake him up at 6.30am, but I think it is generally indicative of his feelings about school, and hopefully life.

All I hoped for, in his first year at school, was that he would be comfortable, content and happy. And that seems to be the case, I just hope it continues. Occasionally he gets into a little bit of trouble, but only running in class and occasionally being a normal, lively child. This also makes me happy, because I don’t want him to be perfect, I want him to have a bit of life and spark. But not too much, of course. 

Now, with summer approaching, it is time to begin winding down. He will have more school trips, today he has gone to the zoo with his precious new camera. He woke up early and happy today, that was a change to the norm, and will have a great day with his friends. I can’t wait to see him later, hear some stories and look at his photos. See his tired, but smiling face and have a hug before bedtime. No worries, it’s all good. 

Daily Prompt: Qualm

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish


Do you remember when learning was so much fun? Learning how to throw stones is very different to, let’s say, particle physics. But, at the same time, the joy of knowledge should be the same.

Watching my children learn and enquire about the world around them gives me energy for the search too. The search for knowledge, or for something new. A new angle, viewpoint, or sight. 

At the moment, my kids are both keen photographers. My son wants to know what every button does on his new camera. It is difficult to actually slow him down, so he learns the basics first. 

When you are a child, you want to understand everything. How does it work? Why do we do that? But, as adults, this seems to stop. We become happy to accept the world as it is, and never question. I believe this is the biggest fight for all adults, to stop this descent into lethargy. Keep fighting up that intellectual hill. It is never ending and has no summit, but it is a beautiful journey. 

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish