I guess I am not alone in despairing at times at what the future may hold, thoughts that often surface after some display of poor behaviour, or appalling knowledge, from the next generation; those that will get the right to vote and to shape their world. There are times when I feel a bit like M’Learned Friend back in 1963 or so, who, in addressing those assembled in his court was heard to mutter “and who are these Beatles chaps?” Yes, an old fart.
But yesterday I had my faith in our future restored. It was done not by gangs of angry, looting teenagers repenting of their ills; not by the deeds and words of highly paid elected members; nor even by some new found re-birth of any long lost faith gene that may once have existed hereabouts. No, it was done by spending less than an hour in the company of half a dozen kids with an average age of less than nine, and it prompted me into some positive action this very day.
Our local primary school is very dear to me, not least as it has amongst the 30-odd in its care, my own precious Urchins. I had been asked to attend a meeting at said school, to get some parental involvement into the next stage of the Green Team project. Hm, thought I, parental attendance, box ticked, next flag awarded, k-ching. Cynical, moi?
Not so. I was given a presentation, heavy on the technology, digitally filmed by the children themselves, and presented with their plans for the year ahead; their plans to make their school more eco-friendly; their thoughts on what they could do to re-use, to re-cycle; to fully consider the environmental impact of the school garden, of water and electricity.
Brilliant they were, each and every one of them. Motivated they were, to do better; better than our generation had achieved. Agitated they were, at the damage done to the previous efforts in the school garden, so quickly destroyed by mindless vandalism, even in our tiny community, that dug up the new plantings, that broke the signs, and damaged anything that moved when the boredom of holidays set in and the school grounds lay empty and inviting. I had no idea that such destruction had taken place, and hope there is to be no repeat. For if the children can take responsibility and pride in their environment and in their work, why not others?
I was presented with proposals for spring bulbs, and delighted that I could offer some tiny assistance. For many years it has been my habit to plant a few sacks of mixed daffodils so that one day the garden, for a few short weeks each spring, may slowly begin to inspire just a few words worth repeating, or better, hosts of them. The children, bless them, thought bulbs to be a spring planting project, and I realised we were all in danger of missing the season for next spring. So today I stocked up for my own garden, a planting job for ther next few days, and dropped a sack in at the school on the way by. No better time to get them working than when they are fully motivated.
There will be a pole to display the current Green Flag, I promise you that; and I will do all that I can can to help these youngsters get a second award for their efforts, and to meet up with them whenever inspiration is needed, either by me or by them. The future’s bright, as someone once said, so much so that I’ll leave the politicians alone today, promise.