Lessons in Life

Re-reading ‘A Christmas Carol’ in 2020 shows me how much things have changed and how much they stay the same.

Family Life

The opening of the novel reveals Scrooge’s self imposed isolation, loneliness and emptiness as he walks through life. In the modern world his cold loneliness would probably be spent trolling, seeking to make others as miserable as himself.

Homelessness

Some of the suggestions to cure poverty would not be put of place in Dickensian England. For example a billionaire has proposed wheelie bin pods has temporary shelter for rough sleepers. Yes he has identified that rough sleeping has become a growing problem on the streets of London; especially for young men. Not only is this suggestion demeaning and humiliating but it shows an incredible insensitivity and ignorance that could only come from someone who has never struggled to eat.

Child Poverty

The rising rates of child poverty in this country are alarming. Again instead of helping the victims blame the parents. Some politicians have declared that food banks are a lifestyle choice rather than a necessity. Now they are debating whether tax payers should continue to fund universal free school meals.

Covid 19 Madness

The announcement UK citizens might be on lockdown brought an unprecedented amount of ‘shelfish’ stockpiling of toilet paper? Pasta, rice and hand gel. It’s like some dystopian movie but more frighteningly this is real life. I can only hope that we can start connecting more with our neighbours, family and friends. More phone calls to our lonely, elderly relatives if we can’t visit.

Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ has moved me more this year than ever. I see the mental health issues that are a direct result of poverty. However I do not feel hopeless. The tragic death of a TV personality had caused people to cry out to others to ‘be kind’. We have spent too long fuelling this toxic environment on social media. At the end of the story Scrooge learns this simple message be kind.