Wednesday 15 April 2015

Grand Great Parents

When I have time to pick up my daughters from school I am struck by the number of grandparents at the school gate waiting for their grandchildren to emerge form school. The financial contribution that UK grandparents make has been estimated in 2010 to be £12.5Bn1 in childcare savings, but their contribution to child development is underestimated.

When a grandparent picks up a child form school the child is met by a loving, familiar face and a person they know will always have time for them. They spend time reading stories, encourage kids to count everthing in sight and impart not just knowledge but wisdom, as only people who have been there, seen it and done it can.

It is difficult to quantify how much we gain from the input of our grandparents but I will try to briefly summarise the qualities for which I should thank each one of my four grandparents: An acute awareness of the local environment. A work ethic. How to care without mollycoddling. Generousity of time, money and spirit. Without them I would not be the person I am today and I am greatful that my Grandfathers lived long enough to influence my life in this way, my Grandmothers are still an inspiration today.

The Grandparents at the school gate are doing a service not only to thier children and their children's children but to society as a whole, this vital work has been ignored by the Conservatives for too long. The next Labour government will allow Grandparents in work to take time off to look after their grandchildren.

Grandparents could share the 18 weeks leave, or four weeks in any year, that parents can already take for each child and adopted child up to their 18th birthday without losing their job. At present, only a parent or someone with legal parental responsibility qualifies.

Harriet Harman said “Public policy has not caught up with the reality of families’ lives. It is rooted in the past and has to change. It is not for us to dictate what families do but to back them up.

"Allowing grandparents to share parental leave would help working parents cope during the 'annual nightmare' of the school summer holidays."

I don't really think about my own retirement but questions must be asked: ...Are the government just going to keep upping the retirement age for those who cant afford early retirement..? Will we just all work until we die..?

Every generation should do better than the last. When I became a Dad I made an unwritten promise to  my children to work and make sure that they have a better life than I did. The present government policy on exams, tuition fees and lack of policy addressing rising youth unemployment are making this a difficult promise to keep.

Labour will back the next generation with careers education that looks to the future, a youth jobs guarantee, an end to exploitative zero hours contracts and a reduction in tuition fees. Older people I meet are concerned about pensions, fuel bills and the getting good care in old age but they are also concerned about the next generation.

I would urge all parents, grandparents to vote for hope rather than fear, at this election.
I would ask any younger people reading this to make sure your registered to vote using the link below. Some of our great grandparents fought for the right to vote, now all we have to do us click on a link.



Unknown said...

PS If my Mam and Dad are reading this then thanks for picking the girlies up!

Unknown said...

Amazing blog dear. I also love my grandparents very much. Thanks for witting such a valuable post here.
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