30 October 2008

Fireworks and Politics

I can't believe it's that time of the year already, November 5th - Guy Fawkes night.

We will be having a BBQ on Saturday with some friends and pooling a $20 box of fireworks each. It's always great fun watching the kids' eyes light up as they watch the rockets explode in the sky, (hearing all the "ooooohs!" and "aaaaahs!" as the Catherine Wheel finally manages to spin properly).

Dash had a hesitant start with fireworks - the first couple of years he insisted on watching from behind the window. These days he and Miss Fab are right into it, and twirl their sparklers with the best of them. In the picture below, we were sharing fireworks with friend and blogger Sophie and her family; Dash, a sensitive little animal lover, was particularly concerned about the birds! He was worried they would be frightened of all the noise.

I remember as a kid, climbing onto our verandah roof in Grey Lynn to watch our neighbours' fireworks display. I must have been 6 or 7 years old, and I can still picture the sight of hundreds of sky-rockets going up all over central Auckland.

Mr G has memories of "Bonfire Night" in Newcastle when he was growing up. Neighbourhood kids would collect fuel for a huge bonfire in the middle of the street which would sometimes burn all night. They also did "Penny for the Guy", making an efigy of Guy Fawkes and collecting money off people, then burning it on the bonfire. Fun as a kid - but quite gruesome when you think what it was all about.

In 1570 Guy Fawkes and some others tried to blow up the British Parliament. Guy got caught with the gunpowder and was hung, drawn and quartered as a result. Back then, people didn't get a chance to vote and have their say about how their country was run.

Thank goodness we do now.

There's an election coming up very soon, and I have been reluctant to put anything here on my blog about it, as politics is not what I am all about.

However, since the chance to vote and freedom of speech are part of the priviliege of living in a democracy, and since the outcome of the election will have repercussions on the freedom we have to raise our children, I have decided to just put out this quote by Helen Clark, our NZ Prime Minister. It shocked me when I read it and I thought you may like to read how she views us as mothers:

"I have never had any intention of having a child. I definitely see children as destroying my lifestyle. It's inconceivable that I would become pregnant. I realise my attitude is unusual, but I have other interests which crowd out everything else, and I think i would go round the bend if my small amount of spare time was taken up by children. I was able to develop as a professional person with no breaks in career... I wasn't caught in the trap of the young bride who seems to stop maturing when her kids are born." Helen Clark, in her Essay in Virginia Myers' Head and Shoulders, published in 1986

Food for thought? I myself find it hard to understand how somebody who seems so personally "anti-kids" can lead our country and make decisions and laws which affect the way we raise our children. She also appears to have a rather dim view of motherhood!

In my view, far from stopping maturing when we have children, it seems to me that's when we actually start to grow up, learn to put others' first instead of following our own whims, and discover what life is really all about.
And the job we do as mothers is so important! No child-care worker in the world can do what we do, the way we do it, no matter how clever or qualified they may be.

So don't forget to vote this Election, and I hope you will use your vote to choose representatives who will value and appreciate the job we do as mothers. That's all I want to say about that!

(I have just added in some pictures from our BBQ on Saturday - we did
manage to scrape together a few fireworks people had stashed
from last year. We all had lots of fun... phew!)
Click here to read Gail's Account of our Fireworks Party

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Simoney said...

Oh Boo! The Thought Police have banned fireworks sales until the 2nd of November?! Would it have hurt them to start sales on the 1st? (the Saturday closest to Guy Fawkes night); I guess we'll have to make the most of being able to even have our own parties; A few irresponsible hoons have ruined it for the rest of us! Soon we won't be able to buy them at all I bet, and our kids will miss out on what used to be a fun family night. At least a couple of our friends have got some left over from last year, so we will still go ahead, but it won't be as colourful and shiny :(

Gail said...

Love the true to life image of Aunty Helen that you've posted - as opposed to her preference for photoshop magic!

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