Saturday, 25 May 2013

Head-scratching and a Possible Snowman

Although some of us won’t readily admit it, unravelling a mystery or solving a puzzle can give us quite a lift. Who doesn’t know that niggling feeling that comes from knowing the solution to be simple, but for dear life we can’t quite grasp it. The glaringly obvious solution to a crossword , but having already made it clear that crosswords aren’t your ‘thing’, revealing the answer isn’t an option, leaving your inner detective well and truly thwarted.

We live in a puzzling world, whether you find yourself preoccupied with the secrets of Dan Brown’s Archimedean spiral, or just trying to fathom out what Russell Brand means in his reference to parliament: “The whole joint is a deeply encoded temple of hegemonic power.”

Yesterday, SW’s little sister, who she occasionally refers to as ‘Thing Two’, presented me with a rather charming, if somewhat cryptic piece of handiwork. Is it a flow chart, designed for use at a snowmen’s conference? Perhaps a series of coded ideas contained in the shape of a light bulb? Whatever the rationale might be, it’s likely to remain an enigma. My guess would be that it’s actually many things and nothing at all. The perfect example of a fertile imagination, one that might well prove useful for solving riddles in later life.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Am I a Grandsharent?

There’s an old chestnut that pops up regularly in conversations between parents of young families. It’s the one where doubts and fears are raised over how much information about children should be shared on social media platforms.

You won’t be surprised to learn that there’s a name for those parents who regularly post pics and updates relating to their offspring. They are “sharents”  - a fairly unimaginative term from the same stable as “kidult” – and they’re probably here to stay.

When our daughter was born, we decided that her spiritual security was a personal matter for her to think about, so we never had her Christened. It’s never entered our heads to persuade her one way or the other with regard to politics, either. Some things can’t be decided for you. You reach a point in your life when the big issues, like personal privacy, faith, and political ideology, gain weight...or not.

I feel much the same about the information I share here, about my grandchildren. Proud though I am, and love them as I do, the rule was established from the beginning that I wouldn't share photographs that clearly identify them, or reveal their actual names. This isn’t to say that others are wrong to do so, or that I believe they might be in peril if readers knew their identities. It’s a matter for the individual to consider, a question of choice. A kind of privacy by proxy, if you like. And, I hear the argument that unless we take the Michael Jackson route, and insist on our children wearing masks in public, the world at large will come to know our children and grandchildren, anyway. But it will be in the real world, as opposed to the ever expanding virtual kind.

There are still parents and grandparents who feel much more confident about protecting children off-line, and I can understand that. What do you think?