Sunday, 5 December 2010

Back to the future

The viral campaign on Facebook this weekend has been very, very successful. Although not started by the NSPCC it has their endorsement and is boosting public awareness of their cause.

People have been encouraged, by peer pressure, to change their Facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from their childhood. This wonderfully nostalgic exercise forces you to remember your own happy, innocent days when life was simple and for most people safe.

The campaign reminds those fortunate enough to have a happy childhood that for some kids, life is far from pleasant. By encouraging us all to reflect on our own early years, we are reminded of the importance of investing in an organisation that helps those for whom childhood memories will not be so happy.

I have a foot in both camps on this one. My very early years were happy I seem to remember, but as my childhood progressed things changed. Years of psychotherapy have helped me see that the deterioration of my father's mental health, together with my mother's inability to cope or courage to seek help, created the stultifying family environment from which I eventually emerged.

By coincidence, I saw the film 'Good Will Hunting' last night. It tells the story of a bright kid who chooses not to do well, to get even with his abusive foster parents long gone. Turning point in the film is the moment where his therapist keeps repeating the phrase; 'it's not your fault.' This repeated approbation does the trick and the film moves on to a happy ending.

Which brings me to Muffin the mule. My earliest TV memory, from those happy days of blissful innocence when life was easy and my story had only recently begun.