These are two very big words, fairness and loyalty. Two very big words we would love our children to learn the meaning and appreciate the value of. Easier said than done, you would tell me, especially if you are a conscious parent who is aware of the realities of the world we live in. Teaching about fairness and loyalty goes against the grain of what the society is teaching our children from when they are babies. The strongest gets the toy, if mummy isn’t there to watch out. The loudest one gets the attention most of the time, if the presence of a responsible grown-up isn’t there to mediate the conflict.
My Emma is no different from any five year old girlie out there. She wants to be the best, the fastest, the prettiest girl of them all. She thrives on praise and would do anything to get herself noticed. Nothing wrong so far. But I have noticed that as she get older and is exposed to more TV and outside influences, the more self-absorbed she has become. Selfish, not in the mean and nasty way, but self-caring nevertheless.
I have always tried to make her aware of other people’s existence and feelings. She does recognise situations when she is in the wrong now and says sorry for “hurting your feelings, mummy!” But the next step for me now is to help her grow empathy for her friends, especially in situations when they have a conflict of interests.
She has started school this year and has grown her circle of friends. But she has also become aware of children whose behaviour, appearance or demenour makes them less popular with the majority. And it has been challenging for me but oh, so worth my mummy job title, to help her step in their shoes and see the world through their eyes.
“Mummy, that little girl I was telling you about yesterday, mummy, she has hit my friend again, mummy!”” “Why, my love?” “Because she is a baddy, mummy!” “No, my love, no one is a baddy at this age, she must have felt sad and lonely. What happened before she hit?” “We told her she can’t play with us, mummy.” “Why, my love?” “Because she calls us names, mummy.” “Why do you think she does that, my love? And what would you do if the girls you like tell you you can’t play with them?” “I would cry, mummy.” “Well, my love, her name calling is the way she shows her feelings are hurt. It’s the way she cries for attention.” Thinking pause…”I didn’t know that, mummy. I will tell her she can play with us tomorrow before she gets sad.” Learning to look beyond the polished surface. Evaluating things in their complexity. Appreciating people for what they expose to us, not only what they let us see. Being fair to others and understanding their need for security.
I was very impressed to learn that one bank is trying to break the mould and make a difference by offering their existent customers a fair and loyal service. The NatWest Hello campaign aims at keeping its existent customers content by making them aware of a missed payment before charging them a fee and by keeping the ISA rates level, for both new and existing customers. No favoritism and unfair play to other banks by attracting their customers with bogus starter offers but an internal policy aimed at providing loyal customers the best deals!
No fake offers of “security” in exchange for custom but a recognition of the innate need we all have as human beings: to be treated respectfully. To be heard. To be given a sense of recognition and security even when we have been customers for a while, even when our bank balance is low, even when we do what all human beings do, fail. At making a payment. At filling it with much needed and profitable cash.
Making life real, not only pretty offers which will be withdrawn as soon as we join, like in the video below:
It gives me a glimmer of hope, this new NatWest initiative. It makes me feel a bit happier about Emma growing up in a world that is not only focused on the sensational and rewarding the novelty factor. I want her to grow in a world that is still passing on “traditional” values like respect for the elders, loyalty to your friends, compassion for the weaker, understanding for challenging behaviours.
In a world where the banks have been blamed for the worst, it is refreshing to see a bank initiative focusing on improvement at ground level.
Much appreciated, NatWest!
I’m working with BritMums and NatWest on this project and have been compensated to write this post but all opinions expressed are my own.