By Paul Ringer, Deputy Chief Executive
To be in our child’s memories in the future we need to ensure we are emotionally present in their lives today
It seems to me that it is not just the words of the Dalai Lama about ‘mans’ predicament which can help us take stock of our lives (‘Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. Then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present: the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived’).
Whilst a lot of us may have ambitions to create legacies in our lifetimes through work, those of us who are parents would be wise to remember that we already have… our children.
Statistics can provide helpfully inconvenient truths and the chance to step back and question the status quo. Two different surveys about parenting published in the last two months have provided us with insight that does just that. The first reported that 1 in 4 parents are too busy on an average day to spend any time with their children at all, with 3 in 5 parents worrying about its impact*. The second (our own Parent Report that looked into the hopes and fears of parents in the UK today) revealed that 2 in 3 judge that simply being there to listen to their children is the most important thing they can do as parents.
The research amplifies the modern parenting dilemma.
Parents surveyed by YouGov for Spurgeons indicated that instilling a belief in their children that ‘anything is possible’ is the most important factor in helping children feel hopeful about the future. Yet it is us living and working like everything is possible that gets in the way.
Contrary to the prevailing view of past generations, we now know that children should be both seen and heard, but lets remember that so too should their parents. If we’re not careful we might be so busy working and stressing about being better parents that we don’t slow down and provide them with the very thing they need the most… a bit more of good quality us!
About the research
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,842 GB parents with children under 18 years of age. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st – 27 April 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
* Published in a report by the British Heart Foundation (May 2017)
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