Charity begins at home #savesyriaschildren
Like many others around the world, my heart has ached for the father of the two young brothers who perished at sea, along with their mother, trying to escape from their home to safety in Greece. The photo is a haunting image and one which you will never be able to unsee.
As a parent myself I felt this overwhelming sense of responsibility. That phrase charity begins at home is banded around in jest but it actually has never felt more true, but for the right reasons. Unless you are one of the world's billionaires there will always be someone better off and worse off than you and we should acknowledge that awareness begins at home. We have a moral duty to educate our children, no matter how young they are.
I look at Sammy and Ollie who at 6 and 4 have absolutely everything they could ever need. They have no real concept of money, or of time really. They live in the moment, as they should do, blissfully unaware of the dangers they might face in the big wide world. It's our job to protect them, to keep them in that bubble, to savour their innocence for as long as possible. We take them to parties and theme parks, we build sandcastles and indulge them with ice creams and cakes in coffee shops. We play doctors and they make believe being soldiers with plastic guns, innocent child's play with very different real life connotations.
I asked Sammy earlier to write the phrase that people are sharing all over the internet, it could have been me, and he in turn asked me why. I made the decision to tell him the truth.
That there are children who need his help. Children who are scared, who don't have a choice. They don't get to go to school, they can't play with their friends. They are trying to escape from their houses, climb onto boats and sometimes there are too many people on the boat. He knew the next bit, I didn't need to tell him. He doesn't need to see the photograph. But he does need to know there are children less fortunate than him, when he's crying crocodile tears that we won't buy yet another game for the iPad. Because he is the next generation, where wars around the world might suddenly become more real than they have ever been for me.
The house sometimes feels as though it is bursting with toys, their pyjama drawer barely closes under the strain of tops and bottoms printed with their favourite characters and the garden is littered with balls and nets. It feels vulgar all the excess we aspire to surround ourselves with when you are faced with a Facebook feed full of the same harrowing image. We have the luxury to go to work, to be able to provide for them, to host parties and birthday celebrations where they are showered with love attention and a mountain of presents from friends and family. We should be allowed to work hard to treat them, but with the conscience that compels us to help someone less fortunate.
We throw away money. On things that don't last but that give us an experience. £5 here, £10 there. A round of chocolate bars during a petrol station run, magazines that end up in the recyling bin or a takeaway because it's been a hard week. But today along with thousands of others I'd like you to think about the last £5 you spent and think about the hard day that father will face, every day for the rest of his life.
Then text SYRIA to 70008.
Donate £5 to Save the Children to play your part.
Share your photo #savesyriaschildren and share the words below, because it could have been one of yours.
There's lots that you could do from the comfort of your own home.
Please don't turn a blind eye.
Do something to help.
Whatever you decide, don't choose apathy.