Last night I stumbled upon the #PAS12 hash tag on twitter, asking people what would make Scotland the best country in the world to bring up children.
Now this is a subject very close to my heart. I was born and raised in Scotland (as was husband), went to Uni in Scotland and only moved away after graduation.
For both of us,childhood was a time spent outdoors, on the beach, puddling in burns, building dens, walking along disused railway tracks, having freedom basically. We played out on the street until the light failed, we had fields and countryside to run wild in but were rarely further than 5-10 minutes from our back door.
We remember it as an idyllic childhood. Our parents were there at breakfast and dinner, commuting was an alien concept and 'holidays' were simple affairs involving a tent. My parents once drove for an hour, taking the scenic route to a campsite a more 10 miles away to make it more of an adventure!
That's the childhood I want for my boys. The simplicity, the access to the beach & countryside. I also want them to grow up close to their grandparents, while their grandparents are still young and fit enough to build campfires with them and go fishing together.
During 2 short weeks in the summer we flew kites, ate wild raspberries, discovered pirate coves, found dinosaur footprints, enjoyed fish only 10hrs out of the sea, watched for dolphins, hunted a Gruffalo in deep dark woods, dreamt of finding Nessie, built dens, enjoyed proper rope swings and permanently had sand in our shoes.
For me, it's giving families the ability to enjoy the abundance of fresh air that Scotland has to offer that will make it the best place to grow up. I was lucky to have that ability during my childhood and am doing everything I can to ensure my boys will soon have the same.