Aisling O’Loughlin: “It’s worth asking questions to pass on a better world to our children”
With questions like, ‘Where does the universe end?’ and ‘Who is God anyway?’ or ‘What happens to us when we die?’ Patrick’s line of questioning is just what I need right now to put things in perspective and see life through the eyes of an inquisitive four year old. Sometimes we forget we’re on this incredible planet, rotating around the sun in a place called Space. I remember the day, as a child, I called a halt to the infinity question for fear my head would spin off and hit the floor with a glass-eyed thud. I reckoned the human brain (or at least my grey matter) was not built to truly understand such things and parked it there, exhausted but hugely relieved.
There’s something about a four year old banging on about dinosaurs, extinction and death that reminds you we’re only living in a construct of reality; in an economic state that demands we go to work and pay our bills, go to work and pay our bills.
It gets you thinking about different ways to live and the one that strikes me as a sustainable winner is the notion of a ‘circular economy’ as opposed to the Make, Use, Dispose linear economies that we know so well. In a circular economy resources are used for as long as possible to maximum effect and then recycled. The aim of the game is to curtail waste and ultimately save our planet from mass consumerism.
I may not be able to properly answer, ‘What happens to us when we die?’, but while I’m alive it’s worth questioning the status quo and opting for solutions to pass on a better world to our children.
BRING ON THE DIRT!
Ditch the anti-bacterial soap! Microbes are our friends after all. Yes, more than a century of scientific research on the dangerous effects of these teensy-weensy bacteria that live on us and in us, researchers are now re-assessing our relationship with microbes, the oldest form of life on Earth. Recent studies show that a lack of diverse microbes in a child’s gut is directly linked to allergies, asthma, obesity, diabetes and even healthy brain development. Um hum. It’s that serious. So what to do? First up, get the children out of the house. Too much screen time is robbing a generation of getting dirty, jumping in puddles and getting some dirt under those nails. Quit worrying about how filthy they look and let them stew in their mess for as long as possible. You’re doing them a favour.
A new book called Let Them Eat Dirt, Saving Your Child From An Oversanitized World advises parents to throw away the anti-bacterial soap and use a regular one instead. Professor of Microbiology at the University of British Columbia, B. Brett Finlay and immunologist Marie-Claire Arrieta encourage family pets and tell parents not to be disgusted if the dog licks the little ones: it’s good for their immune system. They tell us high-fibre foods like vegetables and nuts are important to keep the microbes in the gut well nourished and diverse; and to encourage even more diversity, they advise seeking out fermented foods like yoghurt and kefir. White sugar, white flour and refined foods, unsurprisingly, are no friend to a healthy gut. You can find out more about the book on www.letthemeatdirt.com.
It’s a bit cheeky, but so hard to resist! This little baby grow (£10 from www.babymoos.com) might manage to stave off some unsolicited advice on parenting, but don’t call me if the mother-In-law crosses you off her Christmas card list! Alternatively, this Jimi Rock Military sleepsuit (£13.00) will ensure your little bundle is owning the army-inspired trend of the moment.
Big congratulations to 2FM DJ and cancer survivor Louise McSharry and husband Gordon Spierin on the birth of their son Sam. On RTÉ2’s documentary F&%k Cancer, the straight-talking presenter spoke of her devastation on finding out her egg count had been decimated following chemo for Hodgkins Lymphoma and that her chances of conceiving were slim. But luck is on this lady’s side and after marrying her love in a beautiful ceremony in Cork last August, the couple announced their wonderful news in April this year. Thanks to social media, we’ve got to share her delight and trepidation throughout the pregnancy, which makes this arrival all the sweeter.