I have just returned from a nicely varied day. A wedding rehearsal this morning on an island not my own. An attempt at a ‘getting to know you meeting’ with someone who in the end did not have time. Then a long journey from Largs to Glagow, doubled by a slow burning VW van (circa 1967) blocking the road. A meeting in Glasgow (one of the enjoyable sort, where one actually feels one is doing what one is called to), then dinner with a friend.
On the way home, I knew I would miss the 9pm ferry, so stopped at Tescos, where there were hundreds of young children and infants looking pale and exhausted. When I commented to the woman on the till, she said, ‘Oh, it’s early yet. There’ll be children here till my shift finishes at 11.30.’
The self-righteous, dogmatic school teacher in me arose to lament the loss of bed time. I never had a bed time, mind, but there is a significant difference between being alowed to fall asleep randomly after an eveing at home, and being taken on chores at all hours.
So many children in perfectly ‘normal’ and ‘good’ homes suffer damage each day by the very routines we put them through — and by the constant low-level stress of trying to do more than is possible or wise. It is one of the things that nags at me and I wish we could better address as a church. But would anyone pause long enough to listen?