Keep busy – but feel free to avoid drib­bling

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

IT’S been a fran­tic few weeks, but, scan­ning some cut­tings of ar­ti­cles that I had kept, be­cause they caught my eye – I was pleased to spot a head­line, ‘Rushed off your feet? You’ll have a sharper mind’. I delved deeper.

Men and women in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s were quizzed by Amer­i­can sci­en­tists about their daily sched­ules and put through a se­ries of men­tal tests.

The re­sults showed no mat­ter how old they were, or how welle­d­u­cated, a busy life­style was linked to a healthy brain. Those with a packed sched­ule pro­cessed in­for­ma­tion more quickly and had su­pe­rior mem­ory, rea­son­ing and vo­cab­u­lary to those who took it easy.

I won’t ever moan about be­ing too busy ever again. Fisher Ju­nior (FJ) al­ways says I’d hate it any­way if I didn’t have a packed sched­ule to moan about. Mr F, (look­ing over my shoul­der as I write this) agreed. With feel­ing.

As one reg­u­lar reader, de­lighted to meet Mr F at Phyl­lis Whit­sell’s book sign­ing last month in Water­stone’s in Uxbridge, said ‘So this is the long-suf­fer­ing Mr F?’ as he shook his hand.

The Ox­ford dic­tionary de­fines long-suf­fer­ing as ‘hav­ing or show­ing pa­tience in spite of trou­bles, es­pe­cially those caused by other peo­ple’. I sur­ren­der.

Also long-suf­fer­ing, are par­ents keen to see their chil­dren read at home. A sur­vey of more than 500 fam­i­lies, with chil­dren aged three to eight, found 60 per cent promised their chil­dren re­wards for read­ing. These in­cluded money, trips and sweets – as well as stick­ers and star charts.

At pri­mary school I had a friend called Michael, a star foot­baller, whose mother was al­ways say­ing “I wish you would read, like Bar­bara.” I al­ways thought this was a bit mean. Hav­ing to be book­ish at school was enough for him and after all, my ten-year-old self thought, no­body sug­gests I should hone my skills at drib­bling or tak­ing penal­ties.

Pon­der­ing on be­ing com­pet­i­tive, and with Rio still fairly fresh in our minds, I was in­trigued by an ar­ti­cle which said mem­bers of Team GB would rather get bronze than sil­ver, as no­body likes be­ing sec­ond. I once came sec­ond in a fancy dress con­test when I was about seven, the only time I can re­mem­ber win­ning such a prize.

I’ve never for­got­ten, but more in­cred­i­bly, I’ve ab­so­lutely no idea who came first.

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