The other evening I was on-line looking at auctions and bought my granddaughters an electric toy car, the type of toy I would have loved as a child but was well out of reach. I had decided on a middle of the range one, not too slow and not too expensive. Then a got chance to get a sports Mercedes-Benz at a bargain price so I went for it.
When I was a child we didn’t even have a car, let alone a Mercedes-Benz! As a lower class child in class conscious Britain it was beyond even our wildest dreams even if we had wanted to show off, which is what these vehicles seem to be for.
My action set me back down memory lane to my childhood when we looked at humanity from the bottom rung. Fortunately my parents looked at the post-war society as a place in which their daughters could have all the opportunities they never had so we never felt inferior. I knew we didn’t have as much money as those around me but I tended to look at the situation objectively. I had a very happy childhood and this seemed to be my yardstick for what life was about. Looking up from the bottom I was aware other people had more money and goods but they didn’t seem any happier than I was.
This seems to be what the world is about these days. The quality of our lives is measured by the amount and value of the goods we have. Happiness, which doesn’t seem to be linked to these, doesn’t come into it. What does worry me is that the yardstick we tend to use about each other is based on wealth and we tend to apply this to children. The government has arranged education reporting which is linked to the income of each area. How much money people have has little effect on how well their children do. What does effect children is the amount of interest and support their parents give them but unfortunately we don’t accept this and haven’t developed a way of measuring it. I wonder how many parents who are flat out trying to earn ever more money realise that their children are likely to be telling their teachers that their parents don’t care about them as they rarely see them. Love, care and interest by parents and other family members are the backbone of a child’s needs to enable them to develop and achieve their potential.
Meanwhile I hope my granddaughters enjoy their model Mercedes-Benz simply because it looks fun and Grandma will be enjoying watching them play with it. Not because it represents upper class misplaced values. It’s the love and fun which count. I’ll be having a giggle at a world I learned to see through!