Has everyone made and broken their New Year resolutions then?
I never do owt so rash as promise to change at New Year. I can think of nothing worse than removing clothing, doing without comfort food or taking up a new hobby in the darkest depths of winter when cash flow has slowed to a trickle. I wait until early summer to come up with madcap ideas but be assured, I break my resolutions just as quickly as any made in January.
I wonder though if all this me-focus for making resolutions is a bit skewed. Maybe we'd have a greater chance of success if we resolved to help make a difference for others. It doesn't have to be a big gesture - looking out for an elderly neighbour, helping to tidy up a forlorn bit of community space, picking up litter whenever we see it - after all, every little helps.
Working as I do for a charity that supports vulnerable children and families, I spend a lot of my time thinking about the lot of some children in our communities.
Over the festive period, our charity, CHILDREN 1ST, ran a campaign to highlight the impact of violence in the home on children and young people in Scotland. In addressing or highlighting the issue of domestic violence, often we tend not to think about the effects on children who live with the fear of abuse and violence.
Yet, there are literally tens of thousands who day in, day out, are afraid to go home, not knowing what might greet them. And most of us dismiss an instinct or suspicion that something is not quite right behind closed doors, preferring to get on with our own lives.
Domestic violence is one of the reasons why so many children become homeless in Scotland. Shelter Scotland also used the festive period to highlight the numbers of children who would be spending Christmas in temporary accommodation, without a home to call their own, or any of the comforts - a bed, a toybox, a garden - that make up a home. Homeless children suffer in terms of their physical, emotional and mental well-being. They tend to do less well at school and that impacts on their longer-term life chances.
It says a lot about a society that thinks, or rather doesn't think or expend energy and resources, on protecting its most vulnerable citizens. Increasingly, we take our lead from politicians and media who justify why some folk are worse off than others. The idea of the deserving and undeserving poor is alive and well: its arguments can be heard in conversations on the bus, in the pub and round the dinner table.
But what is it exactly that children have done to deserve a poor start in life? It's hardly their fault that the adults in their lives have problems and issues. Indeed, such a narrative presumes that domestic violence and homelessness only ever happen to certain types of family, when the reality is that anyone can pick the wrong partner and anyone can lose a job and a decent income, particularly in the current climate.
It is simply unacceptable that there are tens of thousands of children in Scotland whose childhoods are blighted by society's failure to tackle big issues. Having a home is not a privilege, it's a right. Feeling safe and secure is a basic human requirement, not a luxury only available to some. By not acknowledging this, by continuing to turn a blind eye, by expecting someone else to do something, to keep our heads down and get on with getting on, by not taking a stand and saying not good enough, we are all complicit in consigning some children to the worst possible start in life.
Maybe this year would be a good time to make a different kind of resolution: to do all that we can to ensure that all children don't lose out on their childhoods. To demand of our politicians a different approach, that puts children and their needs and interests first. To encourage our circle of family and friends to do more to protect vulnerable children. To contribute our own talents, time and yes, money to those charities and groups that work hard to ensure that children get a better start in life.
Maybe if we all resolved to ensure no child is left behind, we can look forward to the day when all children in Scotland have the same chances of success in later life. After all, we never know when we might need them to look out for us.
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