A community conversation on childhood

Posted on: 6th March, 2014

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: West Cork People

Freya Sherlock Lic. Ac, BSc hons level TCM/CHM is a practitioner of Chinese medicine in West Cork. She is equally passionate about the nourishment of childhood. She co-founded and co-managed The Little School 1995-2005, facilitates the Parent Plus programme in collaboration with HSE and Dunmanway Family Resource Centre, trained in Early Years Steiner education, Co. Clare and with Dr Tony Humphries at UCC. She has run several large summer camps in West Cork with Forest School Camps and is currently initiating WildChild Outdoor Education. For further info: 086 1273148.

Childhood, it seems, is undergoing rapid changes. Of course, every new generation heralds a certain degree of change, that’s the nature of evolution! However, there are core qualities inherent in children and childhood that have always transcended and bridged generational change but, it would appear that these are now beginning to slip through our fingers.

As a facilitator of parenting groups with many years of experience in education for children, I am struck by the increasing concern I hear from parents lamenting the loss of certain aspects to the childhood experience and all that it once gave to our kids.

In the spirit of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, it seems wise that we start exploring what exactly is going on and how it is impacting on our current generation of youngsters. As Wordsworth suggested, ‘The child is father to the man’ and we are, together, responsible for shaping the nature and quality of our future leaders, movers and shakers, innovators, grafters, givers and receivers and team players.

We need to understand the changing nature of modern children and how to meet their needs yet uphold worthy cultural, social and family values and traditions. Perhaps too, we need to consider how to ameliorate and antidote some of the impacts of modern life on kids whilst not diminishing or dismissing the benefits of those same influences.

‘What’s in the way, is the way’, so if we are finding that our young people are becoming increasingly lost in cyber space, whilst their ability to connect with others in heartfelt ways and communicate with skill is somewhat atrophying, then whose job is it to address that if not ours? All of us. From concerned parents up to lofty leaders.

Without waxing overly lyrical about the good ol’ days, we can perhaps reflect on all that was and is deeply nourishing for children so that we can restore and salvage the soul of childhood before it becomes extinct.

Early childhood really matters, for it is when we dig the well that we will draw from for the rest of our lives. And yet, bizarrely, instead of being contentedly satisfied by the wonders of discovering themselves and their world, we find that according to the Mental Health Foundation 2012, 1 in 10 children in the UK have a diagnosed mental health disorder.

Houston, we have a problem. Children in the modern world are now subject to unprecedented commercial, educational, technological, social and environmental pressures that are beginning to deeply affect their well-being. Should they emerge from childhood without the well-spring of inner resources that those precious years used to yield, we are likely to witness increasing discontent and estrangement from selfhood.

Children are designed to be active, to run, play, dance, laugh, tell stories, build dens, get muddy, climb trees, draw elaboratly, make something out of nothing, imagine limitless possibilities, believe in all that’s good and true, love with all their hearts  and express themselves wholeheartedly. What is it then, that is breeding childhood discontent?

If we are to raise resilient and emotionally intelligent children who can not only cope with rapid change, but live with poise and play their part in leading society into a sustainable future in meaningful ways, we need to take our instinctive concern and mobilise our response. Through community-wide dialogue and debate we can collectively navigate this unchartered territory of childhood in the 21st century and empower ourselves to take appropriate and often very simple action.

The factors contributing to the changing landscape of modern day childhood are complex and multifaceted. Over the next few issues of West Cork People, various aspects of raising children in today’s world will be discussed and explored to help open up a much needed community-wide conversation of how we can answer their call.

Latest News Articles:

The secrets of stone set to be unlocked at Symposium
Network Ireland West Cork launches Business Woman of the Year 2019 Awards
Backing Businesses, Backing Cork
Crowd of 5,000 people expected to visit Dunmanway for Fleadh Cheoil Chorcaí
Fáilte Ireland announces funding of €194,000 for Festivals and Events in Cork
New ‘Ability’ programme to support young people with disabilities
Call-out to schools to ‘go Fairtrade’
Inspiring mother takes in West Cork on four year charity walk
Third Annual West Cork Bird Race
€160,000 in funding for Béicín Walkway

Join us on Facebook

Thinking of selling your house?
We'll be talking property in our new 'West Cork Property People' section in April. It's all about the people who know...
... See MoreSee Less

22nd March, 2019  ·  

22nd March, 2019  ·  

Welcome home party this Saturday for Clonakilty Special Olympics Gold Medalist Aoife McMahon

The people of Clonakilty are encouraged to come out in large numbers this Saturday afternoon (23rd) to welcome home local Special Olympics athlete Aoife McMahon who won a Gold Medal for Ireland in Table Tennis at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi last Sunday.
People are asked to assemble at Fax Bridge roundabout (near Scally's Super Valu) at 2.45pm.
At 3.00pm sharp, Aoife will arrive in an open top car and there will be a parade, led by a piper, through the town centre to Emmet Square.
Here there will be a number of short speeches followed by music to get the party going!
People attending are encouraged to bring along hand-held Irish flags to add to the atmosphere of the occasion and to wave them along the parade route.
Aoife represented Ireland in Table Tennis at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, having qualified through the COPE Foundation structures. She is a client of COPE in her hometown of Clonakilty.
She has also been a member of the Clonakilty Special Olymics Club since its founding in 2005, playing Golf and Basketball. She qualified previously in the Ireland Games in golf representing the club.
... See MoreSee Less

22nd March, 2019  ·  

Fascinating lecture coming up in Clonakilty.....Secrets of the Deep: The Underwater Cultural History of West Cork
by Julianna O'Donoghue and Connie Kelleher
in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty on Thursday Mar 28th 2019 at 8pm.

With the second longest coastline in Ireland, the County of Cork has borne witness to extensive maritime activity throughout time. The preponderance of shipping that passed by or utilised the many ports, harbours and hidden havens along its jagged coastal edge has left its cultural mark in the form of shipwrecks on the seabed. The record for the large quantity of wrecks off Cork's coast is growing all the time as new discoveries are made. The talk will begin by providing an overview of this underwater cultural heritage and how underwater archaeology is identifying, surveying, recording and preserving this finite resource, including detailing the legal requirements that are in place to protect these important wreck sites. It will then focus on a time when piracy and smuggling was in its heyday along the southwest coast, in the early part of the seventeenth century, and provide evidence from two shipwreck sites that may have possible direct links to a time that is only recently revealing its secrets.

Underwater archaeologist Julianna O'Donoghue is director of Mizen Archaeology Ltd., based in Clonakilty in West Cork. Mizen has undertaken a multitude of high profile underwater archaeological surveys and excavations, and has made several important underwater archaeological discoveries. These include the 17th-century Colla Wreck located off Leamcon near Schull in West Cork that could be the possible remains of one of Dutch pirate Captain Claus Campaen's prizes from 1625.

Dr Connie Kelleher is a member of the Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU), National Monuments Service in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. As part of her work she has carried out several shipwreck excavations that has included the remains of a Spanish Armada wreck, a 17th-century possible Cromwellian flagship and a wreck in Dunworley Bay in West Cork that could be directly associated with the Algerine raid on Baltimore in 1631.
... See MoreSee Less

12th March, 2019  ·  

‪Our March issue is out today and we’ve set you a reader’s challenge on the front cover 😂🤦‍♀️. Pick up your copy and email us those numbers - first one out of the bag on Monday will get a €20 book voucher! Info@westcorkpeople.ie‬ ... See MoreSee Less

28th February, 2019  ·  

Jump to: