What Our Kids Need: Blogger Stories
At the start of the year, a time that’s often full of reflection and hope for the year ahead, we asked bloggers write about what their children last needed and what this meant to them. We were delighted with the inspirational posts that came back.
All the bloggers observed that the practical side of providing for our children is part of the job description – answering their needs for food, warmth, shelter, health, clothing and cleanliness every day. For Anne at Raisie Bay, one of the last things her children had needed was their dinner – for her to provide and cook their food. This is usually a simple feat, just a matter of a trip to the supermarket and use of a clean, working kitchen.
The situation couldn’t be more different in other part of the world. South Sudan has just declared a famine and a further 5.5 million people are facing severe food shortages. World Vision are working hard with the World Food Program to ensure that vulnerable children there don’t go without the nourishing food they need.
Simple things can be easily overlooked as we get on with our busy lives. Manny at The Greenwich Mummy recognised this in her post. The last thing her baby needed her for was a nappy change - not a job relished by many parents, but something so easy to achieve with wipes and disposable nappies. In countries without running water, keeping children clean becomes a daunting task. Manny had the opportunity to see for herself how luxurious the basics in the UK are on childhood visits to her grandmother’s home in Vietnam.
Water, Sanitation and Health (aka WASH) has been a key focus of World Vision work for over 50 years and, with the help of their supporters, World Vision has reached 7 million people in the last 5 years. Just one of those 7 million was 12-year-old Amanuel from Ethiopia. Our work to provide clean water let him say goodbye to the worry of diarrhea and take pride in his village.
Comfort for one of her three-year-old twins was the inspiration behind the blog post by Helena at Work for Mums. She’d found herself lying next to her son, scrunched up beside him in the toddler bed, providing reassurance that everything would be alright. Although our children may test us when they are young, with tempers and tantrums and demands that seem never-ending at times, when all is said and done they are vulnerable and need us to lead the way.
Rhian who writes at FromTumtoMum is familiar with the tests that toddlers like to put us through, as a self-described mum of a “two-nager”, who “needs” to do everything for herself. She talked about a touching time when her daughter needed her. Having run out of all energy reserves on the top level of the soft play, her daughter hit exhaustion. All her hard-learned independence deserted her and she called out for her mum to “rescue” her: “As I reached her, she held out her tired little arms and I guided her to the slide for us to go down together. She was so relieved to have her Mummy when, in her opinion, she really needed her.”
Our children need us to put them at the centre of our world, as we are at the centre of theirs. As Natalie at Mum in Brum says: “Suddenly I’m not the centre of my world anymore and I feel so much more vulnerable every day. Vulnerable because I don’t feel I can always be in control – I know that I can’t wrap my daughter up in cotton wool and it worries me that I won’t be able to protect her like I want to.”
This vulnerability is exactly the reason that World Vision are driven to work to improve life for children in some of the world’s most challenging places.
For me, reading through the blogs, the sentiments behind the question of what our kids needed us for was summed up by Kelly at Kelly Allen Writer and Victoria at Mummy Times Two. Our kids often have all they need, they just want a kiss, a cuddle, another story, some more of our time, some more of our attention. And luckily, we can often provide that for them – although sometimes we have to give ourselves a break when other responsibilities mean we can’t.
We aren’t concerned with some of the things that Victoria at Mummy Times Two saw in her travels to Peru. Our children aren’t trying to provide for themselves, meet their own needs, by selling trinkets to cars in traffic. Our homes aren’t in such states of disrepair that there are large holes in the walls, for all to see in. We take meeting a lot of our children’s needs for granted, so that we can just focus on being there, kissing things better, making it alright. Let’s help other people meet those basic needs by sponsoring children and their communities, so they can get on with the essence of parenting too. As Victoria says, “I sponsored a child. I gave them a chance. Not the kind of chance my own children will have. But a chance of meal each night, the opportunity to learn, and to be part of a community which would be supported to help itself. And the reality is, it isn’t just that child it’s helped. It’s helped mine too.”
To help parents meet the needs of their children just like we meet the needs of our own kids, find out how to sponsor a child.
With special thanks to all the bloggers and parents we spoke to about what their children need.