Posted: 09 December 2014

Advent: Ambitions for our children

As we move through the second week of Advent we are reminded that we are called to be ambitious. Isaiah calls us to ‘make straight the way for the Lord’.

Today, Teresa Pearce, MP for Erith and Thamesmead, takes this message to remind us that we should look outwards, to the children in our society for whom we need to be ambitious. Our aim should be to make a difference to their journeys on the way.

What is ambition?

Ambition is a word we often hear. From the X Factor contestant wanting to live out the 'dream' to the business executive pushing for better than ever sales figures, we seem to understand ambition to be a self-focussed energy.

As a politician, I exist in an environment where there is more than its fair share of self-focussed energy. But the best type of ambition can also be found here.

The ambition for others, the ambition for society as a whole. Ambition that nurtures and cares for all of our children. How we view our children and the extent to which their needs influence our decisions and policy making is a measure of how well we are doing as a society. 

As this moment I have to say that we are not doing very well. 

3.7 million children live in poverty

Around 3.7 million UK children live in poverty. Families below the bread-line, making a daily choice between heating or eating, where the struggle isn’t temporary, but is a grindingly hard way of life. If that were not scandalous enough, inadequate housing, lack of space and insecurity of tenure not only deprive our children a basic quality of life, but also have a real impact on their stability and their ability to learn. 

In the past few years I have found the finger pointing and stigmatising of certain parts of our society not only depressing, but also counter-productive. It is as though there is no point in investing in certain groups of people and consequently their children. What message does this send to our young people? The real impact of what has been unleashed will take a very long time to manifest itself and even longer to redress. The short-termism of much of present day “reform” will ultimately not serve our children well.

My ambition for children is that we put them first, that we invest in them. As a society we need to do some good collective parenting.

Our ambition for our children should know no bounds.

By Teresa Pearce - Guest bloggers
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