Every time I turn the news on at the moment, it seems as though the world is becoming a scarier and scarier place and, naturally, as a parent, I can’t help but wonder what kind of a world it will be when Caitlin and Ieuan reach adulthood.
|There May Be Future Storms Ahead
Whether it is the terrible ordeal of migrants crossing Europe or the insecurity of China’s stock market sending nervous waves across financial markets worldwide, there is always something new to worry about. Add to that the seeming turmoil of Jeremy Corbyn’s appointment as the new Labour Leader, the threat of more benefit cuts from the Conservatives and the prediction of the coldest winter for 50 years (what will that do to our heating bills!), there is plenty to keep us awake at night.
After the recent budget announcements, online UK voucher, coupon and discount deals website myvouchercodes.co.uk, conducted research in which they asked parents what their main concerns were for themselves and their children for the future. This was part of a wider study into the family lives of 1,286 families in the UK. The results of the survey certainly make interesting reading.
Not surprisingly, it was discovered that issues such as financial instability and the economy (44%), the threats of terrorism and extremism (40%) and house prices /high rents (37%) were on the list. 24% worried about crime, 14% had concerns over bullying and 11% were worried about drugs.
Regional variations were analysed with, for example, the most prevalent worry in Wales being financial instability and the economy (60%).
The results tally quite well with my own worries but I would add the following to the list:-
* the state of our education system (particularly university fees)
* the creaking behemoth that is the NHS.
* provision of care for the elderly
* pension provision
Arguably all of these fall within the economy bracket, however, on a personal level, our children may have to struggle to fund their future education, get on the property ladder and care for their parents. Since we are all living longer, there is also the problem of pensions being insufficient to care for the elderly (likely to throw the onus back on the children) and a potential lack of pension investment by the current generation of children I am in my 50’s and realise that my retirement may well coincide with the kids’ university fees!
I can’t deny that the threat of terrorism is a worry to me. The Government seems unable to decide on a suitable way of policing our borders or agreeing on immigration quotas. Reactions seem more driven by media pressure than actual policy or planning. Some schools do not seem to be aware of the drive towards radicalization happening under their roof, nor sure of how to deal with the menace of drugs and violence towards teachers.
It would be easy to spend your days in a lather of panic but this would not be positive, for us or our kids. We need to focus on what we can be sure of and grateful for what we have. There have been risks and dangers in every period of history and I think that too much media (particularly social media) consumption adds to our unease.
But, unlike those crossing the sea in precarious boats, or hiking down hundreds of miles of railway track with their worldly possessions and their children on their back, we live a relatively safe and prosperous life.
I will probably always worry about our income but there are things all of us can do to future proof our finances. The most important thing, I think, is to learn how to deal with worry and focus on the good things in life and the ways in which we have things so much easier than previous generations.
It ain’t all bad!