I've Been Inconsolable About The Events of 2016; My Son's School Assembly Changed All That

Let’s face it, there isn’t a lot of good news about these days, is there?

I’m pretty sure that I won’t be the only one downing a few extra glasses of bubbly on New Year’s Eve just to celebrate the end of a bad year. Just as we were getting our heads around the largest refugee crisis to hit Europe since World War II, Brexit knocked us all for six, followed by the election of Trump a few months later.

I think it’s fair to say that, as a ‘glass half full’ kind of person, I’ve been close to despair looking back at 2016. My job hasn’t helped. As a researcher, rarely a day goes by when I don’t see a depressing new statistic that makes me question the kind of world my children will grow up in (I’ve just finished a blog on child poverty). And like many parents still trying to digest the events of 2016, I am haunted by the prospect of having to explain to my children how all of this came to be (the fact that they are aged just 4 and 1 does little to allay my fears). Not even my old friend, Jack (as in Daniels) has helped to drown my sorrows.

So, when I walked into my son’s first class assembly this morning, the most I was hoping for was a brief respite in my otherwise dull outlook.

Boy, did I underestimate the power of little people in large numbers.

It wasn’t just the rendition of ‘Such Love’ that pulled at my heartstrings, or the way my four year-old son bravely stood up to read his lines so clearly (even if I do say so myself). It wasn’t even the ‘assorted-crayon-song’ about how we’re all different, but oh so special (it was full on cheese by this point).

It was simply this: here was a room bursting with the prospect of hope, possibility and potential – all beautifully manifest in these wonderful children, singing about crayons and the three little pigs. And what a room it was! A microcosm of the UK, the hall was filled with children from all social, class and ethnic backgrounds – their faces filled with anticipation, innocence and a blissful ignorance of all things Trump.

What a force for good, I thought….

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