posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 07:57 PM
As an eleven year old living in Scotland life was simple and consisted of me, my grandfather and eight weeks of summer holidays from school. We lived
with nature, camped beside fast flowing streams that entered small rivers, where we fished and talked about things from the past. The subjects always
had me hooked, like the fresh caught rainbow trout we would cook over the fire and have for dinner.
I learned about mining disasters and strikes, about neighbours sharing bread and heard the stories about "Big John" who was a street fighter, being
paid money from the bookies for removing his shirt and fighting fairly with fists only.
My grandfather’s legacy to me? I was taught to see, listen and smell my rich world. To belong in the scheme of things and more importantly that I
had an "identity".
Time has moved on and now I am the grandfather of five very independent grandkids. The eldest girl, an eight year old is very nature orientated and
has a genuine empathy for others. She comes to stay with us every second weekend where she listens to stories from my past and asks questions as I did
of my grandfather. The other four grandkids are too young and too busy to listen to their grandfather as yet, but rest assured I will try to capture
their interest as they grow.
When I look around me I see kids standing on corners. Others are afraid of them and at times use pre-emptive aggression towards them. Why don’t
others see kids who are lost and who have no identity? They may have a future in the local factory, but they have no past, no identity and no history
that is theirs.
There time is filled by drinking behind the local community centre or going to visit a nearby housing scheme where they shout and throw bricks at the
local "gang" tonight, thus inviting them over to theirs tomorrow night.
This group or gang culture is about identity and belonging.
Something has gone wrong with society when kids or young adults can’t tell you their grandfathers’ name or what he did for a living. Personal
history is being forgotten due to the insular society we are encouraged to follow.
Hopefully one day the world will wake up to the fact that we can’t go forward unless we know where we have come from.