Many is the time I look at my digital babies (aged 11 and 9) and marvel at the completely different planet they live on. I marvel at the complete divergence between their childhood and my own, despite, like many parents, spending considerable time ensuring they have as much of a ‘real life’ existence as possible (as opposed to the virtual one they are living via laptops, iPads, and various game platforms).
Yes, digital babies have untold benefits. They also have untold disadvantage – the consequences of which we may not realise for many decades to come.
As my children sit poised on the launching pad to adulthood, my eyes are wide open to the future we are leaving them to take in hand. Learning more about this new book – Honeycomb Kids – was of enormous interest to me because that handing-over-to-our-kids thing – I must admit, fills me with a little bit of worry. Not only for the fact that our kids are increasingly losing touch with reality, but that they are also facing a world that has achieved the most incredible amount of change in the smallest amount of time in the history of our existence.
Why honeycomb? Author Campbell explains there are two types. The sweet, sugary, fragile type found inside chocolate bars, and the strong, nutritious, healing type made my honeybees, renowned for its longevity, utility and life-giving sweetness. As the author says –
‘. . . one cell of honeycomb won’t keep even a single bee alive, but when the cells are joined together and filled with nectar and pollen, they provide individual bees and the colony with a strong, resilient, bounteous framework in which they can thrive’.
Sounds a little like community spirit to me – something (God only knows) we are sorely lacking as our Western world becomes even more internalised and virtualised.
Campbell’s book is strongly centered in a parenting shift – a shift that is currently palpable in the family zeitgeist, if not literally then at least the notion of that shift is impregnating the consciousness or subconciousness of many a parent. Campbell espouses some changes within her own family unit in the past five years – namely:
- committing to spend more time communicating than commuting
- focusing attention on community rather than consumption
- striving to generate less waste while making room for more wisdom
- accepting less income but better outcomes
- achieving more self-reliance and less dependency
I have to say that a very similar shift has also been happening in our house, and in the houses of many families I know. The shift is essentially shunning the hype and getting back to real living, to real basics – to our centre, our biology, our fundamental needs. Gone is more more more and in its place is live live live.
Campbell’s beautiful book uses a warm, articulate and intelligent voice to guide the reader through mega ‘aha!’ moments in living a more dedicated, more balanced and happier life. In Part 1 of the book, she covers The Big Issues – topics that cover the bigger picture of our future, and the future of our children. Population growth, climate change, food and water shortages, energy supply, health issues, globalisation, communications and everyday hazards (such as advertising, marketing and instant gratification).
In Part 2, Campbell covers ways to rise ‘honeycomb’ kids. Chapters include community, building strength and resilience, smart thinking, healthy life choices, meaningful work, nature, money, laughter, compassion, time-usage, unconditional love and home truths. Her topics are eye-opening, shocking, enlightening, empowering and brilliant in their scope. They are topics that every modern parent and child can relate to, but most of all – they are important, if not vital, to our future.
Honeycomb Kids is an important book. It will not only have you punching the air with your fist and gasping in recognition – it will also quite possibly change your children’s future. And if you’re anything like me – consistently overwhelmed at the pace we’re having to keep abreast of and terrified our children will soon enter warp speed – it might even make you worry less. And feel happier more.
Whatever the case, it’s very clear we need to make some changes – and where better to start than the family unit? To quote one of those all-pervading ad campaigns that have rewired and screwed with our very organic human brains – we’re worth it.