state newspaper this morning - and it has already elicited the first phone call.
I managed to grab the phone on the first ring so it may not have woken the Senior Cat. The callers was not pleased with me and said they hoped they had woken me. (Not a chance. I was up over an hour before that call was made.)
The caller wanted to rant on that I was not a parent. I had no idea how parents feel. I had never been a mother so I couldn't possibly understand.
I let the caller talk on because, if I put the phone down, they would simply have rung back. They needed to rant. I just left the phone "off the hook" and left them to it.
But, do I understand? I think I do. It isn't just that I have a certain amount of imagination. I have had certain experiences over the course of my life which have taught me things about "parenting" and caring for children.
The caller didn't like it because in my letter I had said the rights of the child had to come first. No civilised society has a choice about this. Adults can make all sorts of decisions on a daily basis, decisions that children are generally denied. The decisions adults make may not be the best decisions for themselves or for others but they can still make them. Children, especially very young children, are generally required to get out of bed at a time an adult decides and, from then on, they are told what to wear, what to eat, what they will be doing with their day and when they will do it. Of course the child makes some decisions but an adult will be - or should be - responsible for seeing that a child is appropriately dressed for the weather and the activities they will be participating in. An adult is equally responsible for seeing that a child is fed on appropriate food. An adult is responsible for seeing that a child is educated in many ways, not simply sent off to school to be child minded by teachers.
If adults don't do those things - at least to an acceptable standard - then other adults need to step in. They have to do that in the best interests of the child. This isn't about "spoiling" children. It is the exact opposite.
So, to my early morning caller, I am sorry you disagree with me but until a child reaches an age where they can make all decisions for themselves then adults are responsible. If you don't want to be responsible for a child's welfare then seek help or allow someone else to take on those responsibilities. Children need to come first.