Monday, 25 July 2016

Eat your greens. Say please.

A bunch of young teens hanging out at McDonald’s on a Friday evening. Some others strolling, chatting, shopping.. It was a warm summer’s day in the city mall. Kids letting off the weeks’ steam. Probably giggling over boys, taking the millionth selfie, impressing girls, gelling down hair, eating too many fries. Doing what teens do. Being kids.

At home dinner’s being fixed. The usual drill - rounding up the family, getting 11 year olds to do their bit - tidy up their little piles, set dinner. They are at that exasperating age – not quite little enough to be babied, not old enough to really be responsible. The struggle is always striking the perfect balance between protecting them and preparing them. We’re guilty of overprotecting and expecting more independence of them, all at once. 
The whole point being to deliver them into the world as good, conscionable, compassionate, educated adults. Getting all the tiresome details right along the way. Clean your teeth – 3 whole minutes, circular movements. Floss. 
Deal with frustrations. The world won’t revolve around you. Learn that rejection is part of life. Always pick yourself up, always try again. Find a passion. Find something you burn for. Practice, practice, practise - for anything you want to be good at. Talent is overrated. Go hunt down your good fortune, don’t wait for it to find you. 
Take a bow when you’re on stage, smile at the crowd. The butterflies in your tummy will settle. 
Don’t snatch, ask nicely. Don’t be a bully. Care about children and people less fortunate than you are.
Appreciate your life, be grateful for your blessings. Welcome children fleeing from war torn countries that have been robbed of their own childhood.
Treat people with respect. The way you want to be treated yourself. 
Mind your language, only use the bad words we use. Don’t think up new ones, we can’t keep up. 
Get off your phones. No really, get off your phones! Read. Write.
Go outdoors, move. Exercise. Eat your greens. Say please.

Most of those slain on Friday were children. An angry deranged young man shot out at point blank rage at children between the ages of 14-17. Children, I am sure, that were taught every tiresome detail 
with love. Eat your greens. Say please.

How is the world of today changing his life, my son was asked by someone. Not in a big way, he says. There is something new that’s got inside his head, to stay. I think it's called fear. He told me about his school friend whose family is moving to China. She says she’s happy to soon be living in a high walled community flanked by security. She will feel safer there than she does in Europe. She was one of the lucky ones that left the mall 10 minutes before the shoot-out began.
My daughter, on the other hand, says it takes more to change her life. It has changed the way she thinks about things. Munich is a place of clean air where people are happy and safe, she thought. If the young man was such a good shooter, why didn’t he become a policeman? Why did he shoot innocent people? 

When will this pass? Where is 'safe'?
Eat your greens. Say please. 

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