Recently, I am beginning to see a trend emerging in parenting articles:

“Invest in holidays, not toys”.

It concurs with something that is central to theoretical physics and philosophy: experience, not objects, is what that creates our reality.

What do we remember with fondness in our lives? I lived in a beautiful home with my parents and brothers, but when I think back of the good times, it is not the materiality I hark back to, but our special moments.

I love those unscripted moments – not preplanned holidays – where the best of our family life shone. Like sitting at the kitchen table with my brother, revising for exams, whilst my mother bustled in the kitchen. Or those cold, dark nights at home in front of the fire, watching tv with my parents.

I write this, because I realised that my 17-year-old daughter does not have many beautiful things – handbags, shoes, clothes – only many beautiful experiences (I hope). She had a date on Friday, somewhere formal, and she had nothing suitable to wear (I went through her meagre wardrobe with her). She ended up going for dinner in a black cotton dress and flip-flops. She often has to borrow her boyfriend’s mother’s shoes and belts.

“I’m sorry,” I said lamely. “I should’ve put some effort into your wardrobe, you know, go shopping together.”

“Don’t worry, Mum,” she said kindly. “Focus on raising money and awareness for your Syrian family* instead.” And then cheekily, “I look great in ANYFINK anyway!”


Her boyfriend was smartly dressed, driving his grandparents’ old car.  I looked at them wistfully, the oddly dressed pair. Sensing my eyes on her, she turned back, walked back towards me and gave me a big hug.

“Mum! Stop worrying! I have a great life!”

Photos: cleaning out a Myanmar refugee school, and above, from Buddha Doodles


Words of wisdom from a 17-year-old. Sometimes, we need it ❤

Post about the Syrian family I am helping can be found here.