Did Christmas just come again?

 

If you’re based in England and have school-aged kids, I’m guessing that for many, today is a good day… 

 

For those not in England, today is like Christmas all over again, but without the materialism.  Our children are going back to school.  It’s a day for the children and parents alike, a true family day, yet a day we will spend separated from those we hold closest.

 

And what are we celebrating?  

 

  • Our luck and good fortune for making it through.
  • The return to some form of normality.
  • Our gratitude for the education that our children receive and an appreciation of the hard work that teachers do.
  • Pride in the sheer grit that both our children and we as parents are capable of when we really try.
  • Breathing space (or is that just more time to work?)

 

Most parents will agree that this has been a tough year, and the Memes, WhatsApp songs and jokes, and claimed increased consumption of wine make light of this.  However, the impact on all families has been real, from mental health, through to behavioural concerns, bed wetting, relationship breakdowns, lost learning (the list goes on), and that’s before job losses and furlough are added into the mix …

 

However, over the course of this crisis, over 1 billion children across 100 countries have been out of school (Source: OECD).   A huge proportion of the future generation have had to sacrifice their own wellbeing for the greater good.  According to separate research from LSE, UCL and the Sutton Trust, there have been clear losers:

 

  • The educational divide between rich and poor has widened, reducing chances of future social mobility. 
  • The gender gap between women and men has deepened as women took on more educational and domestic chores.
  • Many children’s mental, emotional, and physical growth and development has suffered.

 

Given the nature of Linked in, I would imagine that most parents reading this are in a position of privilege, possibly middle class (either by birth or grit), probably educated (formally or self-made).  Probably the majority could afford technology and internet access to ensure that their children had access to learning.  Probably the majority could support on basic concepts and had adequate literacy, numeracy and had the wherewithal to support their children to the best of their ability or find a handy YouTube video if they didn’t know the answer.

Those of us working in profitable organisations also operate from a position of privilege.  In today’s world, things will get better when we all pull together. Businesses and brands have the power to act in ways that benefit people’s lives and make a difference to humankind.  

As we ease ourselves out of home-schooling, welcome the continued vaccine rollout, and begin to regroup, let’s celebrate coming this far. Parents, you deserve a HUGE pat on the back.  However, let’s not forget what our own small hardships have awakened us to…  

 

Life is tough for many and will continue to be so until people, brands, businesses, and society come forward with support and solutions.

 

As businesses in a position of privilege, what social issues can you address through innovation, investment, or partnerships, to help those who experience hardship every day (schools or no schools)? How can you as individuals, teams and companies contribute to the social good?

 

For now, from us … we hope both you and your children enjoy the day. Squeeze them tightly when they come home this afternoon, we’re sure you’ll have missed them.