Euroresiuk

‘ I AM ELEVEN ‘

Not me, of course. That was a long time ago. But this is the name of a documentary film we saw last week, directed by the Australian Genevieve Bailey. She travelled to twelve countries, interviewing children of different nationalities, backgrounds and religions whose only thing in common was their age. She prompted the children with her questions which I felt were sometimes too loaded and out of their experience, such as war, love, ambition, but her subjects came alive as did their locality and families. A wonderful film. It felt as if we had actually met the children.

As you get older, the communities you feel at home with tend to be made up of people of the same age. We were at an interesting meeting last night. Guided by a university professor, we learned about Global education and had an insight into one of the conflicts amongst educationalists between a narrow understanding of education as subject based (fostered by the present government) and one that has a broader environmental remit.

The few of us who were there were all elderly. I go to church; mostly we are old people. U3A which I have mentioned in these blogs is by definition a collection of the over sixties. The cardiac rehabilitation classes I go to are made up of mostly older people. I keep contact with friends by phone or e mail; inevitably they tend to be a similar age to me. And what do I miss? The company of children.

Thank God for our grandchildren, who keep us in order and can be very gentle with us as we try to see what the world looks like from their point of view. Confession – I find the noise the youngest make can be painful, and their future as they grow up in this increasingly ugly world worries me. But they are lovely, and with four of them living in another country I have been known, in their absence, to smile in a grandfatherly way to babies in push chairs and groups of rowdy school kids as they gladly leave their places of learning at the end of the day, and I smile with the pleasure at seeing youngsters playing in the park.

I am no longer directly responsible for them, but I think children by definition are wonderful, and I miss their company.

It’s never happened, but I am aware that an old man walking with a stick and smiling at, say, a mother and her child can be misunderstood. So I go carefully!

Bryan