Greetings Fellow Traveller,
Last week you will be aware there was a leak in the Maui gas pipeline. In response to this, we had the various news agencies reporting on the situation. One such item I heard included the following: ‘the crisis continues there will be no bread rolls or crumpets until next week.’ Now this could well express the view of the radio news editor, a crisis I think not. I accept that for some no bread rolls and no crumpets could well be a crisis. This surely, minimizes what a crisis is. I checked my NZ Oxford Dictionary and there a crisis is defined as: a decisive time or a time of acute difficulty or danger. Is having no bread rolls or crumpets for a few days a crisis? I think not. The Rena grounding is a crisis, affecting the social, economic and environmental fabric of the Bay of Plenty.
I want to suggest a situation, that some, is a crisis that often goes under the radar and is quickly forgotten by all but a few in our society. That is Grandparents raising Grandchildren. The following is an extract from a report by the Grandparent Raising Grandchildren Trust: ‘The exact number of children in extended family/whanau care in New Zealand is not known, however at time of print the membership of the Grandparent Raising Grandchildren Trust stood at 3,983. As at April 2009, the Unsupported Child Benefit, the most common means of support available to kin carers, was claimed by 7,743 carers. When other forms of financial assistance such as the Child Youth and Family Foster Care Allowance; the Independent Youth Benefit and the Domestic Purposes Benefit are taken into account and those carers who receive no financial support in order to retain custody, it can be estimated that there are in excess of 10,000 children in kin/whanau care.’
On this our Sunday to celebrate Grandparents and grandchildren, we pause to remember those grandparents who at a time in their life when they thought life would be easier, now for many various reasons are raising their grandchildren. We can only imagine the immense physical, emotional and financial cost this entails. We honour these women and men today and the gift they are giving to their grandchildren.