An interesting change in my attitudes since becoming a dad has been the charities I support. Previously I worked for a broadcaster that had its own charitable trust raising funds for a wide variety of small good causes throughout its transmission area. I would give my time for free each year to help with an on air auction and even raised funds myself, including a bike ride from Inverness to Aviemore which I think generate a few hundred quid.
It was local charity for local people. (I bet you’re picturing me wearing a headscarf, padded jacket and smiling with bucked teeth.) I remember feeling slightly upset when the trust was taken over by the radio station’s German owners who imposed a children-focused charity as this was what its biggest station in the central belt operated. In marketing terms it was seen as a successful brand they could roll out.
But it made me wonder why kids were so important - surely a general charity would reach all parts of the very many communities served?
While I’m still unsure of the motivations behind that cause, I realise I’ve taken much more of an interest in groups that work with youngsters since becoming Daddy. I’ve been supporting this amazing charity, Room to Read, who do brilliant work in troubled parts of the world giving children, particularly girls, access to books. And a good friend of ours is out in Nepal supporting vulnerable kids there. Take a moment to check out My Small Help.
You can also support kids by buying chocolate. Seriously. As long as it’s Fairtrade. Read more here about the perils of buying non-Fairtade confectionery. Sorry to be blunt but basically you’re complicit in child slavery.
And while you’re at it, make sure to check the length of your Toblerone.
My top tip for new parents at Christmastime? Don’t buy an advent calendar with little chocs behind each door! Wife Features thought I was Lord Boring of Boringshire when I pointed out my advent calendar when I was a boy was the same one every year and only had pictures - no sweets. So, a calendar promoting the traditional Yuletide message of “a glass-and-a-half of milk in every bar” was purchased on 30 Nov.
Toddler WMBO loved opening door one but couldn’t understand why door two had to wait till the following day. A mini tantrum ensued.
Next year: I’m going to hang up twelve pairs of socks, each containing a sprout. That’ll learn her.