Wednesday, 9 February 2011

What were you born to?

Have you every asked yourself the question what you were born to?
It's a difficult one, isn't it. We are all complex human beings with lots of interests and passions, and nailing it down to just one is just a tiny gigantorous bit hard. I for one have never been particularly good at nailing the essence of who I am and what I am about onto the head. Stick me into any personal development course or session and I come out more confused than before.

Maybe I was born to write. I like to write and have always done some writing, without ever being ambitious about it. Honest, I know I'm not a poet, a novelist and that's fine. It doesn't mean that I don't enjoy expressing myself in writing. That's probably why I blog, and why I'm never pushed to find time for blogging, something many people find odd. It's something I enjoy, which relaxes me, just like reading and knitting does, or watching a good film or gigging.

The other passion I have is that for social justice and equalities. It's always been with me, I really can't tell where and when it started. I grew up in the height of the cold war and always thought it was ridiculous the way the "Russians" were portrayed as the baddies. I voiced my views loud and clear as a teenager and promptly got labelled a communist (which back then was a major insult - I shrugged and just said that they should check what a communist is first - and if you think that sounds rather petty, it wasn't at the time). I loved to discuss politics but I could and still can get angry when views extremely opposed to my sense of justice are put forward, it really upsets me which is why I wouldn't be any good as a politician, it would tear me up from the inside I'm sure.

Much safer from this bloggy corner of mine because, let's be honest, if someone reads this and doesn't like my views, they will mostly just not read again. Debate usually is within a shared understanding and without upset. A debate that I find challenges my views and lets me look deeper and develop. The kind of debate that's good and constructive.

Some time ago, when I was still at school and uni, I worked as a freelance journalist, while I studied languages and politics. It became clear though that to be a successful journalist you needed more than a talent to write, it took a bit of elbows where I was and as someone who always waits their turn and is a bit on the shy side, it didn't feel right at the time to pursue this career. Of course I still wish sometimes I would have, it still is the one career that combines my two passions. Instead, I wrote a PhD, instead I now write reports and a blog. Which is pretty close. I still wish I was a more poignant debater/writer, and that I had the time to properly research the points I'd like to make, which is why I love reading posts by people who somehow manage to do this in their busy lives. You guys rule.

The bottom line though is that whatever I was born to do, I had the opportunity to explore and follow my dreams. The world was my oyster and I explored a lot of avenues, single road tracks, motorways, dirt tracks and dead ends. I'm one of the lucky ones. I even got a free third level education and only my parents nagged me about my choice of subject which they labelled a "brotlose Kunst" (breadless art, i.e. won't get you a job). Many children today are not born into such luck.

Save the Children have been working long and hard to launch a new campaign. I've known about it for a good while (after all I work for them) and I'm rather excited to see it all happening now and lots of bloggers sign up to it and spread the word. The great thing about this campaign is that it really engages with everyone, asking them what each of you were born to do. What's more, it links the international work Safe the Children does, which  is all about child survival, with the UK work on eradicating child poverty. The vision of the charity is for a world where no child is born to die, and where every child is allowed to live a life where his or her ambitions stand the possibility of being fulfilled, where they can life to their full potential.

And that vision applies equally to the developing and the developed world. In the UK, children born into poverty, compared to all other Western countries, are the least likely to succeed in school and to raise themselves out of poverty; giving rise to intergenerational poverty, low ambitions and a whole section of society who disengage because they know there is no real possibility to fulfil their ambitions. Crime and violence, or depression are the consequence of a generation growing up without hope, without the possibility of a brighter future. With living in poverty comes a poorer diet, poorer health and severe health inequalities (in some parts of Glasgow average life expectancy is around 65 years, while in other parts of the city it's 85).

With the cuts and the age of austerity this is set to get even worse. As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, our society is breaking apart from the inside and we are denying our children the future they deserve.

It's time to do something about it, at home and internationally. Join Save the Children's No Child Born to Die Campaign.
If you are a blogger, blog about it and you may have a chance to win a ticket to a special blogging conference that Save the Children is running on 26th February 2011 in London. It's full of workshop sessions and a masterclass with best-selling author Melvin Burgess. I'd love to be there but I'm currently born to lactate, so maybe next year ;)

You can also help spread the word by:
So then, what are you waiting for?!

    1 comment:

    Liz said...

    Thank you for your Born to Write post and for supporting Save the Children! Good luck with the competition.

    Save the Children



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