When I was about 17 this was the speech I wanted to make to the world, well Western society at least. I doubt it would be the one I would make today but when I read the question it got me thinking about this speech and how much it meant to me. I still believe a lot of the points I made and the anger and feeling behind it are valid.
Childhood has never been straight forward and in resent years there is a growing consensus that it is in a peculiarly parlous state. What is this so-called parlous state? Academics and children’s experts say that a deadly cocktail of junk food and electronic entertainment, combined with the sinister effects of over-competitive schooling and marketing are poisoning our childhoods. I would like to put it to you that this consensus is fuelled by adults who have all too quickly forgotten childhood and its true form. These adults look back on their childhood through rose-tinted glasses to see an adult imagined world of what they believe it was like.
Is electronic entertainment driving children in doors such a bad thing? Adults would have you believe that children spend hours in darkened rooms in front of a box that sends out images of violence. The fact that there has always been violence in the play ground, in cartoons and in fairy tales doesn’t come in to the argument. Research carried out by the BBC state that children are more likely to be disturbed by violence seen on the news than in fictional media. Adults complain that children no longer go out to see their friends instead they turn on a computer and chat with them without having to make the laborious effort of having to see them face to face. I personally believe that not enough is time given to research that suggest that computer games can assist children’s social and educational development. Young people are using technology to make music, learn and connect with friends across the globe.
Adults insist that children’s childhoods are becoming shorter and that we are growing up far to fast. This could be because never before has there been such a relentless barrage of marketing aimed at children. That there are more and more images of adults present as an aspiration for children, with the perfect make-up and hair, dressed from head to toe in height of fashion. Yet this marketing is a mirror image of that aimed at adults. Children are merely following in their parents foot steps.
Are children really growing up faster? Children may smoke and have mobile phones but this does not mean they have the ability to leave home or get a job. Economic independence is harder to reach by children today unlike forty years ago when it was not unusual for children to be working by the age of sixteen. This illustrates how difficult it is for children to reach the traditional milestones of adulthood: owning your own home, having a job and getting married with children is being push further back in life.
These however I believe to a cover of a greater embarrassment to adults not children and that is with all our advance in technology and understanding; and all their knowledge teachers and parents are still facing the same problems they did a millennium ago when it comes to children. There has always been great pressure on children, yet adults are still no closer to understanding how to deal with them. We all know what childhood is, but what defines a good childhood and when does it end. The last of course is that all gown ups know what it is like to be a child but there greatest fear is that they will not understand their own children.
If you could make a speech to the world what would it be??
I definitely have dancing feet and they are the best thing I have. I can talk for hours about getting the perfect line, movement or position but I’m not going to, as much as I may like chasing the perfect performance that’s not why I love dancing. I love dancing for the sense of freedom, the joy, to feel beautiful, to completely lose yourself and be yourself all at once. I believe that life is not about waiting for the tempest to pass it is about learning to dance through the rain.
Dancing is part of my soul, there is nothing better than dancing like no one is watching or dancing a night away until the sunrises and your feet ache. Dancing is everything and it’s all about dreaming. It’s about good music, feeling like you can fly and go on moving forever. I dance to music in my head anywhere any time, I dance in shops and streets as music is pump out. I will always be the first on the floor and the last. I will always allow a rhythm to infect me, I will ask partner after partner until someone will dance with me, I will always chose to get lost spinning with someone special for a moment, than hours sitting together.
Almost every society and culture has dancing; every child knows that the only thing to do when a song comes on is to jump around like a fool. It is sad that as we get older some of us stop and worry what people will think. When I was 16 I saw two elegant elderly widows, wrapped in scarves and coats gracefully dancing to a band in the park, they laughed their way through dances from their youth and flashes of their early days reflected in their faces. I decided then that if I got nothing else from life, I am going to be a woman who dances in the cold, in the open air, achy and weathered to smile and be happy.
Got any good memories about dancing?? When was the last time you danced like no would care?? Tumbling Pretties
There are some things that happen once and that’s it. For example everyone should go outside in the evening just now and look toward the night sky in the west if you are in the Northern hemisphere. You will discover that after the moon, Venus and Jupiter are the brightest objects in the night sky; they are there until at least Saturday side by side in the dark sky. A few weeks ago the Northern Lights were seen in Britain and my sister and I stayed up all night to wait for an opening in the cloud to see them. Okay so this is event is going to happen again and there is a chance I will see them again but it may not, this may only happen once in my life time. I think sometimes people are just too busy to notice the once in a life time things that will happen.
I could continue by telling you that every moment you have in your life will only happen once, and things like ‘you’ll never be as young or as old again as you are right now’ but I think that’s a bit clichéd. I am nevertheless a full believer in living in the moment and never regretting something you do because at some point ……it was exactly what you wanted.
There have been times when I have scarified a good night sleep for a night that was truly inspirational; a night I that will never get back or spent money I didn’t have to do something incredible. And that doesn’t include the time I have had to exert myself twice as hard in order to reconcile the time I spent on the unique experience I just had to have at that moment. I’m not saying working for a future is bad, I just worry that I’ll miss the life now, the moment that is once. There will be a life time of good night’s sleeps, of money saved and days worked hard. There will only be one moment to meet an idol, to watch the sunrise from a mountain to go somewhere you’ll never go again.
There is a possibility my children will never see the Northern Lights but I have stood in the dark and star gazed at the awesome night sky. There may be a possibility it will happen again, but there is a possibility it won’t. So live in the moment once, to live that once in a life time instant…. try it.