Thursday, 7 April 2011
Have you ever noticed how grown-ups just don't feature in children's literature, not unless they are the baddies? Harry Potter's parents are dead, along with the Baudelaire siblings' and Sara Crewe's in A Little Princess. The Railway Children have one parent in prison and one withdrawn to her study writing and The Famous Five are sent off with only the requirement to send a postcard once a day. The Balicki's in "The Silver Sword" cross Europe, Dorothy travels the Yellow Brick Road and the Pevensie's explore Narnia without the guiding hand of parents. (Even Maisy, Kipper and Wibbly Pig carry on their lives without any grown-ups.) Without benevolent adults, these young people have adventures and fun; they experience danger and overcome difficulties, achieve their goals and develop as people. The Easter holidays have started and my husband is off school. I have skived family responsibilities for a few days, taking time out to begin walking the North Downs Way, and now I am busy catching up with admin and tutoring private students. I haven't spent any "quality time" with my children and I am beginning to feel that pervading sense of parental guilt that I should be doing more, that I am neglecting my children. But they have dug out a not-yet-played Christmas present game, played football, sun-bathed, eaten ice-cream, read books and not got dressed all day. Hardly fighting the White Witch or Voldemort, but still, I think that they are having adventures and fun: maybe more so with a little less parenting!