The one about the ‘Magic Moments’

Hands up who remembers the song about ‘magic moments’, which graced a television advert or two some years ago? It might be a cultural reference which is UK specific. I have been thinking a lot about ‘moments’ recently from different things I have seen, and read. One is an e-book, another a blog post, and another, a campaign led by a daytime television programme here in the UK. Each has expressed a similar sentiment in different ways.

What is wrong with ‘take a moment’?

I think, judging by the success of the latter, this sentiment about seizing, or making the most of the moment, is having a ‘moment’ in the spotlight. I say this in part because our government has seen the bright lights of the’ popular vote’ and declared that for every ‘moment’ of their time This Morning show viewers give to someone in need (it if is then recorded on the show’s website) our government will donate £5 to ITV’s Text Santa campaign. They are asking for 50, 000 moments, which means a lot of donated money by the government, which sounds good in theory…This morning are doing this to celebrate their 25th Anniversary which asks views to select their favourite moment from their 25 years of the programme.

I am sorry that I sound such a cynic, but in my opinion the above is nothing but a gimmick. I get that the government’s donations to ITV’S Text Santa campaign will do some good, but instead of the Government donating this money to charity, I would rather they dedicate this money to supporting poor and vulnerable children and families in the long-term, and by safeguarding the services they rely on, rather than cutting or dispensing with the services they dependent on altogether. As ever, the Government is giving with one hand, and taking with the other, while those they are supposed to help suffer. So much for the ‘Big Society’ which ‘Dave’ (Cameron) was formerly so fond of.

The other major flaw I can find with This Morning’s ‘Take a Moment’ campaign is that by volunteering to help, the public is giving of their skills, time and talent temporarily rather than on a longer-term basis. This is ill-advised for a variety of reasons. If an older, ill, or disabled person needs help with a particular task, they are likely to need this more than just once. Therefore, to only help once smacks of tokenism. Additional benefits of offering help on a longer-term basis are, that vulnerable people are less isolated, vital in an age where families are fragmented from estrangement, geography or being time-poor. It also gives families surrogate grandparents, aunties, and uncles, while teaching children of the necessity of, and value in helping those in need, demonstrating kindness, compassion, and how to share what they have with others.

Why ‘moments’ matter…

Though I have expressed cynicism and found much to criticise ­­­­­­in the first part of this post I see much value in another aspect of the ‘moment’ – making the most of every single one of them. This is something I am coming to value as ever-more important, the more limited my energy seems to become. It has taken me multiple attempts to write this post as I keep falling asleep, or being unable to concentrate. In the times I can however, my Twitter friend Lou’s post on making the most of her time while she waited for her baby to be born really spoke to me.

I have a choice here. I can believe that as I am in a transition, I have nothing to offer until I become a mother or I can do all I can, as I can right now. I don’t want to miss out by rushing ahead. I don’t want to miss opportunities that I will not get to have again.

On my bad days, in pain and exhausted,  is easy for me to believe that I don’t have anything to offer, however this is not how my Heavenly Father sees me.  I too have opportunities that I should grab before they go. Other things I am reading at the moment are encouraging me to make the most of the little things, and to find adventure where I may not have seen it before. Normally, I try to do useful things in my support time, however, as a one-off, I went to see a movie with my main carer. Something I would not normally watch. We had junk food lunch, which I try not to eat normally, and popcorn, and settled down to watch the movie. ‘Rush’

Time
Time (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

directed by Ron Howard, is about the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt during the Formula 1 season in 1976. I love human interest stories, which this was, and the sense of danger in the movie just made it more exciting. I definitely recommend it, if you haven’t already seen it! By trying to find the things I can do to vary my life a bit, I am trying to make the most of my time. I’ve been inspired to do this by the sense of adventure in Wendy Van Eyck’s e-book Life, Life, and More Life, which s­­­­he wrote after she and husband Xylon found out he had cancer. They made a conscious decision to make the most of whatever time they have:

The reality is that life doesn’t wait for me to be ready before good and bad things happen. In the midst of life happening around me, in hospitals and on holiday, I’ve realized I can embrace life. I can live fully, and I can live without regrets.

Again and Again I have found nuggets within Wendy’s writing which not only encourage and inspire me to live a Godly life in the midst of my own messy life, but also teach me about the faithfulness of the God I serve and his unfailing love for me. I urge you to check out Wendy’s blog, if you have not already done so (http://www.ilovedevotionals.com). I am trying to find other ways to make my restricted life an adventure. The next of those was hydrotherapy with Community Physio, tattooed and pink haired carer, risk assessor … basically a hoot from start to finish. The next several hours of ‘moments’ will be spent comatose continuing to recover from hydrotherapy yesterday! Night night!

Syal sticks up for disabled people!

coins
coins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I posted the following on my Facebook page today as a ‘status’ but then decided what had been said merited further thought, so I decided to write something here. The following is what I wrote on Facebook.

While I was watching the Andrew Marr show today, I heard panelists talking about £1bn being lost in tax avoidance because companies are now conducting are their affairs through Ireland. Meera Syal then said “I can’t believe nobody’s doing anything about it, given that I know at least 3 or 4 ppl who are literally on the breadline because their disability benefits have been cut.” When you put it like that, it shows just how inconsistent the Government is being, especially when you consider that ‘Dave’ talked about ‘Compassionate Conservatism’ at the last party conference. Where is your compassion now, David Cameron?

I listened to this part of the programme a couple of times to type exactly what Syal said. Listening to the rest of the discussion, I quickly became disgusted as her fellow panelist seemed to casually dismiss what she said. Only Nick Robinson (standing in for Andrew Marr) attempted to discuss what Syal said, he too brushing it off by saying that at least politicians were ‘starting to’ realise what was going on, and talk about how to sort it. Sorry, but they could talk about it forever more but that doesn’t mean the problem will be solved. The other panelist then talked about how the companies would say this sort of inconsistency was down to the Government and the law-makers, and is about getting the balance between bringing in money from taxes and lowering corporation tax so that these companies could work from this country, but without addressing the inequality which Syal had tried to bring their attention to. Syal then said this situation was ‘immoral’. However, Robinson was keen to move on, asking the other Panelist to begin discussing the next story of interest. A little later in the program Robinson interviewed Theresa May, largely concerned with the fallout from the shooting of the soldier in Woolwich. May claimed Cameron ”has a grip on the terror laws, reducing the deficit, and a grip on reform of the welfare state” I beg to differ. as I did at the back-end of last year, both with Cameron’s approach to reform/cuts and the motives, or e-motives, behind his, and his party’s actions.

Perhaps Robinson would say there was no room to discuss Syal’s concerns; it was not in the script/autocue. However, they have plenty of time to talk about the same story over and over. Perhaps they would say it was ‘in the public interest’ to discuss this story. However, the discussion that there was surely shows the blatant lack of thought for the poor of this country. There is no escaping it when the truth is highlighted so baldly.

We ignore those on benefits and the ‘working poor’ at our peril… time will tell just what the consequences of this inaction will be. How much more can people be squeezed? Apparently the delivery of Universal Credit on the deadline is in doubt, hurrah!! Watch this space in the coming months for more comment!

p.s. if you are from outside the UK, what is the Government’s attitude towards poor and/or disabled people? What help do you/they get if any? Do you agree with how you/they are treated? What, if anything, would you do differently? If you are from the UK, what do you think?