Who do you look up to? Perhaps you’ve always admired a certain celebrity, actor, artist or musician? Maybe your hero is a world-changing character from history, or it may be that your hero is someone closer to home.
During my (almost) 42 years of life, I have met many men and women who I have admired, listened to an been influenced by. I have been greatly blessed to have been surrounded by a varied, lively and caring community from birth. I was the first baby born in my street. My parents moved into their little cul-de-sac in the Spring before my Summer arrival. By the time that my mum had delivered me by c-section in August 1977, my parents’ next door neighbours, opposite neighbours and neighbours from “around the corner” had attended a street party, played squash matches together and learnt a little of each others’ history.
I grew up close to a great number families who sent their children to the same nursery school, playgroup and primary school. We played 40/40 (our own version of hide and seek), Mummies & Daddies, Wimbledon (tennis games with our own rules), fashion shows ans had sleepovers at each others’ houses. We learnt how other families were different to our own, and with an American family living next door, we got to try foods from another culture, watched American TV and learn how funny it was when American used different words to the English. As we all grew up and moved away, many of our parents stayed and now, all in retirement, many of then still spend their spare time together on a regular basis.
Growing up and looking up to other grown-ups was possibly one of the most influential elements of my childhood. Looking at how money was managed, learning how to cook, bake and and do the gardening, mini tutorials on cleaning the car, fixing the computer and DIY – all part of learning from people outside of my own family, and all part of growing my understanding of how other people live.
Whilst our parents are to be loved, honoured, listened to and respected, it has been one
of life’s greatest gifts to me to meet honourary parents, other grown-ups who have cared for me, loved me, understood me and taken the time to spend with me. This hasn’t stopped as I have reached adulthood. I still know many men and women who share their wisdom with me, having “gone before me” in terms of marriage, parenting and working life experiences. How great it is to know I can rely on the advice given to me by people who see me for who I am, love me and know what they’re talking about!
This month, we are supporting TLG, Transforming Lives For Good, who seek to support young people and children by giving them mentors, honourary parents, who will get to know them, spend time with them and share some kindness, love and wisdom. If you would like to learn more about how you can support TLG and make a tangible difference to the lives of young people and children, head over to our Making A Difference page now!