May 13: Best help is to believe in your children

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From: Diana M Priestley, The Parkway, Darley Dale, Matlock.

I NEARLY choked whilst reading Grace Hammond’s article about exams (The Yorkshire Post, May 5).

Who is taking them, teenagers or their parents? Once basic GCSEs are over, the candidates have chosen their courses, playing to their strengths and ambitions. This is how they become adults. The prize for passing lies in their own future. A later “we’re proud of you” gift should never be a bribe.

In my own experience, a quiet room was all I needed, and the determination to keep my noisy Dad out of it. Revising was my responsibility. A generation later, my daughter, remarking on the way a friend constantly monitored her children, said: “I’m not surprised none of them went to university. If you had pestered me like that, I shouldn’t have gone either!”

The best, and in the end, the only help you can give your children is to believe in them and let them go for whatever dream they have, with the reminder that if they don’t achieve goal number 1, you still believe in them, and are there if they need you.

“Of course, grandparents should be involved in revision” is simply rubbish. Wait until they ask you – it’s their life.

From: Dorothy Bradbury, Saddleworth.

THE reason children aren’t learning to talk is because parents are often using mobile phones and ignoring the child. One can see them on buses, in the street or in bus queues. I have seen toddlers on the bus looking at mum to take notice of them but mum is too busy on the phone. Also, buggies seem to face away from the parent now whereas years ago the child could see us as we walked along. Although, hearing the way some parents speak to their child it may be as well the child doesn’t repeat what it hears!

A lot of parents these days expect teachers to do their child-raising for them instead of spending a little time talking or reading to the child themselves.

Time to ditch fossil fuels

From: Chris Broome, Hackthorn Road, Sheffield, on behalf of Sheffield Climate Alliance.

THIRD Energy’s John Dewar gives an “industry” (ie biased) view on various aspects of fracking in his column (The Yorkshire Post, May 1), the most crucial being the climate change impacts.

Studies by Carbon Tracker and other experts have shown that we need to leave 60-80 per cent of all world fossil fuel reserves in the ground. Otherwise we are likely to exceed an average global temperature rise of 2C that most countries, including the UK, have agreed to be the absolute maximum that we could tolerate.

In these circumstances, it is not a good idea to seek new sources of gas in areas where their extraction would also be bound to cause significant local impacts, no matter how carefully operations are carried out.

We accept that gas will continue to be use in homes, industry and power generation for some years yet. Nevertheless, there is a real need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels and invest instead in low-carbon infrastructure and energy saving. There are already more than enough gas reserves available to meet our needs.

A grouse with moor report

From: Dr Toni Shephard, Head of Policy & Research, League Against Cruel Sports.

I MUST take issue with the Foundation for Common Land’s one-sided report hailing the management of two grouse moors as ‘good examples’ (The Yorkshire Post, May 2).

Management of grouse moors only benefits species that have exactly the same habitat requirements as red grouse. Many of these species are not top conservation priorities.

But highly threatened species like the hen harrier – one of England’s rarest birds – continue to be illegally persecuted to ensure high densities of grouse are available for paying shooters. In consequence, only three breeding pairs remain in an area that could theoretically support 300.

In addition, heather burning to maintain high grouse numbers releases large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and heavy metals into local waterways. It also decreases the diversity and populations of invertebrates.

Honouring women of war

From: Peri Langdale, Monument to the Women of WWII Trustee, Ripon.

THE VE 70 Government team has now linked monumenttowomenwhitehall.com, the only information in the public domain about the Monument to Women of the Second World War in Whitehall at the end of Downing Street. The monument is to seven million women and was unveiled by the Queen in 2005.

The monument campaign started in York and went UK wide. There are quotes on the site from the Princess Royal, a vice-patron of the campaign charity and a letter from Nicky Morgan MP, Education Secretary. Michael Gove dropped the Second World War from the primary history curriculum last year. There is now a proposal to use the monument as a tool for teaching about the Second World War women linked to British values and local history on the primary curriculum.

Download a copy of the site’s Thank You to Our Heroines letter – fill in the details of the heroines in your family.