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The WHO has just felt it necessary to publish six ‘tips’ for managing parenting in a time of COVID-19. These presumably had to be produced because the majority of twentieth century parents  hate having their children at home and need tips on how to deal with the awful stress this induces. These include ‘Spend quality time together’ and ‘Keep it positive.’ Isn’t that what having children is all about anyway?

I home educated both my children for a couple of years and everyone asked, ‘Isn’t it so restricting having the children at home all the time?’ The answer was I loved it and they loved it. It was the children going away that was sad, not them being at home.

I cannot be the only one for whom this virus makes little difference to my life. I really hate going out. Going out means traffic jams and crowds, noise and pollution. Home means warmth and familiarity and quiet. Of course, it is pleasant to go to a restaurant occasionally but so is pottering around tidying cupboards or making new recipes, reading and being with those you love the most. My favourite occupation is doing not a lot.

And this is what we have lost. In Sherpa villages, high in the Himalayas, a huge amount of time is spent with children, pottering around in the gardens and fields or not doing a lot – smelling the flowers and watching the sunset.

People in remote, poor, mountain areas, understand the risk – the uncertainty of weather, disease, shortages and government whims.  Food is always stored and there is always some cash under the bed for an unforeseen health disaster. Life and death are always together.

‘32% of the UK’s workers have less than £500 in savings and 41% have less than £1,000. 43% of workers do not have anyone in their household they could depend on to support them financially in the event of hardship.’ (2018  RSA/Populus)

How many have no food stored in their house for a rainy day, not even a bag of rice? How many have no candles in case the electricity goes out? How many have no cash in case the banks fail or they have no income tomorrow?

Who is more prepared, practically and spiritually, the Westerner or the Sherpa villager?

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