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Having one place called home really matters

While attending a funeral, I was reminded of the importance of special places in our lives, and the importance of having a home city.

Posted 26 November 2019.

Until 23 December, you can listen on BBC Sounds to my Thought for the Week and my 13 minute chat with the presenter Mike Shaft about the newspapers, and also the state of the general election campaign. Using this link, listen from 2:41:40.

We discussed the following newspaper stories:

  1. Do newborn babies cry in different languages? - From the New York Times
  2. Prince Andrew's use of the phrase "Play the white man" - From The Guardian
  3. Rivlin rebukes Netanyahu for ‘ugly’ comments branding Arab lawmakers a ‘threat’ - from The Times of Israel
  4. Belgium begins to face brutal colonial legacy of Leopold II - From The Observer

On Sunday 24 November, I presented my 51st "Thought for the Week" on BBC Radio Manchester.

Sometimes I struggle to find a subject until the deadline is imminent. However in this case I had realised back in September what I wanted to share. You can read it below.

Thought for the week

Many of us live very mobile lives.

Eight years ago, one of my sons went to live in America. One daughter has spent two years working in Japan. The other is thinking about working in Switzerland. I have been to very many countries, mostly on business and occasionally for pleasure.

Despite all that, having one place called home really matters.

I had a very strong reminder of this in September. One of my close childhood friends died. He had been very unwell, so it wasn’t a complete surprise.

The funeral prayers were held in the Manchester Central Mosque in Victoria Park. As I was kneeling during the Friday prayers before the funeral, I found myself thinking.

That mosque has been a fixed point throughout my entire life. I have been going there since I was aged in single figures when my father used to take me. I attended Sunday school there. Sadly, one of the Sundays that I missed, was the day the mosque was visited by none other than Malcolm X.

I have lost count of the funerals of family members and friends which I have attended there.

Places like a church, a synagogue or a mosque provide many of us with roots. Roots which fix us into a particular community. A community where people know who we are.

Roots really matter.

Children who grow up in families which move regularly, such as military families, often end up feeling rootless. They have an increased risk of mental illness.

That funeral in September reminded me how blessed I have been, spending almost all of my life living in one city.

Additional material

I recommend my page "My international Manchester", a recorded presentation which explains how much Manchester has changed in my lifetime, and why it is such a vibrantly successful city.

 

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