"There are four things in this world that every child born could undoubtedly benefit from; their love and relationship with a pet, the opportunity to mix with as many friends and social groups as possible, listening to all kinds of music and being introduced to the reading of books at an early age. I could, of course, include many more, but these four selected areas are the experiences that are most capable of instilling a love of life and ensuring the greatest pleasure in living it, along with a better understanding of one's purpose and the advantages of an adventurous spirit.
Of all the innocence that is to be found on this earth, none can surpass that of a growing child oblivious to most of the world's brutalities. A child invariably presents as a dumb creature, yet they often display an intelligence that is far more comprehensible and compassionate than that of mankind.
If you want your child to truly grow up compassionate sensitive and loving; if you want them to have the strength to face life and death and to look for meaning where meaning is often hard to find, then forget the computers, laptops, bedroom television sets and top-of-the-range mobile phones as presents when their birthday or Christmas next comes around. Instead get a pet that will bond the humans within a family as a unit far more effectively than any inanimate object ever could. A loving pet brings so much more to a family that can ever be imagined. It brings added life; it brings soul!
Allow and even encourage your child to mix and socialise freely with as many social strata, nationalities, different faiths and customs as opportunity presents. During times of war, nationalism can be essential to maintaining the courage and togetherness within communities to win through the struggle, but often what was a welcome trait for a country to exhibit during war years can be counterproductive behaviour during times of peace, where building international cooperation is more important than building bombs and is infinitely more crucial to a country's long-term success.
It annoys me today that the politicians who allocate the money for educational learning and pursuits in our schools do not see the great loss that is incurred in a pupil's life when there is no money allocated to music lessons. To many educationalists and politicians, music does not deserve the money required to promote it in our children as do the sciences and other topics of education.
Without music, life would be a mistake. I would teach children mathematics, languages, religion, philosophy, history, geography, but most importantly, music; for as Plato said, ''Patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning'. Music not only excites, relaxes and soothes, but it gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and brings life to everything it touches.
Finally, civilisation without culture is a barbarity and crudeness of existence. The reading of books not only brings wisdom but also escape, excitement, knowledge, the development of the mind and the creation of new ideas. Many a good story read has led to better stories being written by the reader. Some books and their contents have changed lives. On the positive side, they have improved and changed minds. On the negative side, books have been known to alter the course of history, indoctrinate the minds of the masses and destroy freedom (Chairman Mao Tse-tung's 'Little Red Book' and Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' to name but two), Books are one of mankind's most powerful tools in the art of persuasion. I recall that reading Victor Hugo's 'Les Miserable' had a significant impact on my life for the good as it reinforced the importance of giving and receiving 'second chances.'
Was I to name three books that had the greatest influence on me they would be 'The Bible', 'Les Miserable' and 'The Power of Positive Thinking'. Was I to name two of the sixty-seven books that I have written and had published since 1989 which have had the greatest influence on tens of thousands of children, they would be 'The Douglas Dragon Stories ' ( that states only by putting love in one's heart can hate and anger be evicted from the body), and 'The Sleezy the Fox Stories ( that states everyone deserves a 'second chance').
I consider all these aspects of development crucial in the life of a growing child to make them wealthy, healthy and wise in areas of prosperity, physical and mental well-being and worldly knowledge.
Children are our future and we should do everything in our power to make their lives as secure, healthy and happy as we possibly can. A while back, I lay in bed listening to Nick Ross on Radio Five talk to people who had been diagnosed with different kinds of cancer. The remarkable thing I learned from the programme was that courage rests in the domain of the majority, not the few. While I felt for every person on the programme, I cried when it came to hearing about cancer developed by innocent children; little ones who had not yet reached their teens.
As someone with terminal cancer, I would willingly give some of my remaining time to any child with a terminal illness was that possible, and if I was an influence in our Government, I would prioritise the cost of children's treatment in the NHS over and above that of adult treatment any and every day of the week. Children are our best future; always have been and always will be."
Love and peace Bill xxx