“I’ll ask Daddy…. he knows everything” Ego boost to the four-year-old’s male parent.
I on the other hand may have indoctrinated him too well;
“Mummy, someone’s dropped a sweet paper on the pavement… the police should come and put them in prison” I wonder if he’s too young to open a discussion on the pluses and minuses of a totalitarian state.
Me ‘n the Scouts are currently working on a plan for a joint project with the little rural school in Luis Sauce, the hamlet where I go several times a week to extract my young disabled friend. The school is tiny in both fabric and membership (23 at present) and looks like it hasn’t had a great deal of maintenance within living memory. The director says that’s because it isn’t widely seen and since all civil service appointments are political, all the money goes to those buildings which are visible by the public in order to maximise photo-opportunities and press coverage, so a hut in a field a long way from anywhere isn’t likely to become anyone’s priority anytime soon. Hence, the idea is that we hold a Scout camp in the grounds, and the older kids will make themselves useful painting and fixing things, particularly the play equipment, while the younger kids (cub section) will share joint activities, games and the like with the pupils from the school. At the moment we are holding our breath as the inspector for rural schools has to give permission. There doesn’t seem to be great rhyme or reason why permission may or may not be granted, and there are apparently no official policies, so we await the whim of the dear inspector. The current post-holder is rumoured to be particularly conservative when it comes to vetoing school trips and the like, so I’m hoping they’ve had a good day and drunk at least a glass of wine before they get round to reading our project proposal. I really hope we get the go ahead, but I’m also happy we’ve even reached this point. Working in partnership, love for ones neighbour, and looking out for folk who society doesn’t particularly notice are all things we’ve tried to model in the last nearly seven years since we’ve been here, and if we’re honest we’ve barely made any inroads into convincing the church that these ideas have any relevance to the gospel they’re preaching, so it’s an encouraging breath of fresh air for me to see the Scouts; kids and leaders alike, rolling their sleeves up and keen to run with a ball I’ve tossed them.
And, something I have yet to understand… Having been initiated into the over-40’s club on my birthday last year, there’s a running joke in Argentina that all women over the age of forty are blonde, which is of course because just about all of them dye their hair. I have no idea why they go for blonde, frankly it looks pretty silly when they could go for something that far better showcases their dark skin and dark eyes. In fact even then I’m still searching for a any reason as to why that would be a good idea. I’m guessing it’s about looking younger. But why do they want to look younger? Most of the young people I know are charming and wonderful, but lacking the sort of common sense that only years of life experience can bring. So why would I want to disguise myself as someone who has even less common sense than I do? (although it is a moot point; who has the least common sense? the genuinely young and inexperienced, or those who try to emulate them?) Needless to say I shall grow old with neither grace nor shame, granting myself the freedom to gobble up samples in shops and run my stick along railings to make up for the sobriety of my youth. I may even start to wear purple.