#3 Bridging the generational gap
How comfortable are you having those difficult – even awkward – conversations with your kids? And what can we do to help bridge the gap between grandparents and grandkids?
This week Holly and Vernon look at how we can bring the generations closer together. They’re joined by Simon Thomas, former Blue Peter and Sky Sports presenter to talk about one of the hardest things any family can face – coping with the loss of a loved one.
00:00:00 Vernon Kay
This podcast is brought to you by Aviva, will be exploring some of the biggest questions and issues faced by parents, but sometimes it's nice to have a helping hand. Aviva exist to be with people when it really matters throughout their life. They've been supporting people through life's financial challenges for over 300 years, so they Know a thing or two about preparing for the future. Aviva is with you today for a better tomorrow, right? Let's get into it.
00:00:28 Vernon Kay
Hello everyone and welcome. I'm Vernon Kay. I'm joined by the wonderful Holly Mackay. Holly how are you?
00:00:33 Holly Mackay
High very well thank you Vernon. Good to be here.
00:00:35 Vernon Kay
Yeah, very good, as always, it's always good to be here we've got an interesting topic today on the podcast. In this episode it's all about bridging the generational gap.
00:00:44 Holly Mackay
In other words, Vernon I think how cool you are is gonna be scrutinised for the next half an hour.
00:00:51 Vernon Kay
That's exactly it when you think about it.
00:00:52 Vernon Kay
Dad are you cool, and I remember my parents saying ohh you don't want to do that.
00:00:58 Vernon Kay
Its not like it was in our day. I think those where the classic phrases.
00:01:00 Vernon Kay
That you get used to as a kid oh it’s not like it was in our day. What are you doing? It's that entertainment. Good grief, that's pathetic.
00:01:07 Holly Mackay
And then you use to turn around to your parents and go, oh I know I im going to put on a fake Northern accent here and annoy you. Oh when I where young, I had to go to school, break ice on driver.
00:01:19 Holly Mackay
And what about, I'm kind of interested. Do you, are your parents still both around?
00:01:25 Vernon Kay
Yeah, both still with us.
00:01:25 Holly Mackay
And what's the generation gap like between them and your kids?
00:01:29 Holly Mackay
So kind of take it up a level. What's what's it? Do notice it between them, is it an easy relationship. Or do you find your gramp? Do your parents look at your kids like they've just come down from Mars sometimes?
00:01:41 Vernon Kay
I think what my parents do is judge our parenting skills through our kids do you know what I mean? So they're not really interested in. Tik Tok or digital, that digital playground that our kids are obsessed with. Their more into the fact that have our kids got good manners.
00:01:55 Vernon Kay
Are they polite? You know they carry themselves? Can they start and finish and carry a conversation?
00:02:02 Holly Mackay
taking do they take up on table manners?
00:02:03 Vernon Kay
Ohh yeah, very much so.
00:02:04 Holly Mackay
I feel quite ashamed sometimes, cause I don't really. I'm maybe a bit more relaxed and I should be, but I really notice things like that when we stay with my parents.
00:02:10 Vernon Kay
Theres a wonderful little picture Holly of your family activities in this Podcast series.
00:02:15 Holly Mackay
Well, maybe I'm being a bit over the top, we're not, that's slovenly, I don't think.
00:02:21 Vernon Kay
So let me just explain, for those of you just joining us, if this is your first episode in this podcast, then the picture I have, and you got remember and I have only just met whilst we started this podcast.
00:02:31 Vernon Kay
So, the vision. I've got now that you said that is kids at the trough. Basically feeding themselves while you're sat in the corner drinking gin.
00:02:42 Vernon Kay
Yeah, and analysing the business.
00:02:45 Holly Mackay
Vernon it’s like you just came round to our house last night, so it's not that bad. It's little things like, you know, if they eat pizza with their hands for example, I'm a bit more sort of like relaxed about that and then my mum, I'll suddenly see her sort of looking at them.
00:02:58 Holly Mackay
But in a way, I kind of don't think.
00:03:00 Holly Mackay
That much changes I was sort of thinking about it I mean I had some sort of tention. A bit of tension between me and my mum, but it was never kind of.
00:03:10 Holly Mackay
That hardcore I think and save you said that the word polite and to me that is the one thing I'm probably doesn't sound like it, because you just said I feed my kids from the trough, manners are really really important to me. And I think that was always sort of, I was going to say beaten into me by my mum. That also sounds awful, it was instilled in me.
00:03:29 Vernon Kay
The equation of who and what Holly is, but no I think you're right. I think it is. It's that DNA of your Parenthood, isn't it that you kind of.
00:03:40 Vernon Kay
You want the lines to progress in a way that you were brought up, so therefore you mirror that onto your kids, hoping that they would mirror that onto their kids so that I think,
00:03:50 Vernon Kay
It all stems, I don't know. It's really simple to say, and it's a big stereotype, but if you've got a happy home then you've got a happy life and I think if as a parent you instil into your kids, in my opinion a good work ethic and what's right and wrong and your manners, then that's a great foundation to lead into your teens. Your early adult life, family and then carry on into your hopefully successful career. I think that's the foundation of what our parents try and instil in us, and I think that's what the generational gap is.
00:04:27 Vernon Kay
It's how you take your parents, parents, parents, parents, essence of life or what they're trying to establish a good livelihood and move that along. I think that's one of generational gap is, I don’t think it's about my parents asking my kids or my parents feeling left out because my kids are on an iPad, and my parents don't know how to work it. Because my parents, the kids, grandparents have embraced technology, they really embraced it and I think you have to. If you if as a more mature grandparent.
00:04:56 Vernon Kay
Want to communicate with your grandchildren?
00:04:59 Holly Mackay
Yeah, I think, I think for me, the biggest thing I notice now is.
00:05:03 Holly Mackay
It's actually just how much my parents do find my kids quite noisy. I think they have a certain time limit now in capacity that 10 years ago I didn't notice so much, you're laughing.
00:05:19 Vernon Kay
Ok Holly we are done now. Thanks for kids. Ta ta.
00:05:24 Holly Mackay
Im picturing this creepy, when the snouts come out of the trough, they then start shouting.
00:05:26 Vernon Kay
Mummies on the Gin.
00:05:28 Holly Mackay
Because mummies on the Gin.
00:05:29 Holly Mackay
Know but I certainly noticed it, like even when then they just 10 years ago. I now see my parents get actually physically tired just cause of the maelstrom, that is kind of young children.
00:05:40 Vernon Kay
Yeah, I kind of like that though.
00:05:42 Vernon Kay
I think I think if you got a vibrant active house, you know the kids are running around and then there there I've been play fighting or playing together and there's lots of noise. I think that's a sign of a happy household. I'll be honest with you, I love it when I walk into our house and it and the girls are singing at the tops of the voices or creating so much noise with the dogs are dancing around. You can hear them shuffle around in the front room, and I think yeah that’s alright, good day today.
00:06:08 Holly Mackay
And what about the more, this is kind of stereotypical, but if you talk about the generation gap we are bound to kind of introduce, the word woke into the conversation at some point. Have you had any sort of conversations with your daughters where you've been sitting there listening to them and you start to sort of get a bit confused, and go, I actually don't quite follow what they're going on about now.
00:06:30 Vernon Kay
Theres one conversation comes to light and that's when my daughter, 16 year old Phoebe, listens to explicit lyrics.
00:06:37 Vernon Kay
Or songs that have an explicit meaning in them, and I'm alright. Let's just turn off the. Sing that to your dad.
00:06:44 Vernon Kay
And she goes bright red.
00:06:46 Vernon Kay
I'm like, right why you listen to it in public if you Can't Sing it to me, I'm not having it on the radio that goes off simple as that. You invite you imagine embarrassment and let's go back to the 80s and my mum kind of ruled the roost with a firm hearty Roman Catholic hand.
00:07:11 Vernon Kay
But I can't imagine singing explicit lyrics to my parents in the front room. I bet it would be the end of me.
00:07:14 Holly Mackay
Maybe you should try it?
00:07:17 Vernon Kay
Ohh gosh, no, no, no.
00:07:018 Holly Mackay
Do you know what 2020 was boring year for us all Vernon.
00:07:19 Vernon Kay
No I'm not that brave, I'd have to come round to yours and litrally drink your gin cabinet.
00:07:20 Holly Mackay
00:07:29 Vernon Kay
Before I even thought about swearing in front, I still don’t swear Infront of my parents.
00:07:35 Vernon Kay
Oh gosh yeah, bad manners and swearing and lying with the three things. Three principals at my parents brought me up on.
00:07:47 Holly Mackay
Talked about swearing, what about clothes? Erm my 10-year-old daughter likes crop tops.
00:07:56 Holly Mackay
I do actually have a problem with that. I try not to kind of be heavy handed about it, she's just wearing stuff.
00:08:04 Holly Mackay
Because she will get hand-me-downs from her cousin who's 16.
00:08:10 Holly Mackay
But I don’t want her going out looking like that and I've kind of backed away from picking fights with her over it, because in a way life's too short and I just tell her its cold and to put a jumper on, so I sort of skirted the issue. What about with the 16 year old? Does that get a bit more?
00:08:26 Holly Mackay
I don’t know, tricky to navigate.
00:08:28 Vernon Kay
I won't lie. Yeah, it does. It does get tricky navigate, but I think the one thing that parents have to bear in mind is that fashion is always at the forefront of your kids.
00:08:40 Vernon Kay
Mindsets growing up because you don't want to be stuck behind. You got fit. Follow the peer group. If you don't follow the peer group, then you're a bit weird
00:08:50 Holly Mackay
Is that your definition of weird?
00:08:54 Vernon Kay
Yes, yeah, yeah it is. And I apologise if I upset anyone, but you know.
00:08:56 Holly Mackay
I have a purple skirt with bells on
00:08:58 Vernon Kay
Well, yeah there you go.
00:08:59 Vernon Kay
So I'm only I'm.
00:09:00 Vernon Kay
Only reflecting back on how I grew up and anyone that kind of dared go against the grain, they were always a bit weird, a bit quirky. And now looking back and the person I am today, I love that, I say to myself. Why do you want to look like every other person walking down this street?
00:09:17 Vernon Kay
And having worked in the fashion industry.
00:09:21 Vernon Kay
I believe that fashion and style, are a reflection of you, who you are as a person, what you believe in.
00:09:29 Vernon Kay
The trends that you follow, and I'm not talking about fashion, I mean the arts, music, culture, and all that kind of stuff. And your personality. So, when you see, if you went to a bar and you looked at 100 lads, they would all be wearing the same thing.
00:09:47 Vernon Kay
Jeans tucked in shirt. No socks, boating shoes and thousands of tattoos on every inch of their skin. why where you, why just why do you wanna follow the crowd? Why do wanna blend in when surely you want to stand out? Surely you want to walk into that bar and people turn around and go, bloody hell he’s cool.
00:10:07 Vernon Kay
But if my daughter came out in a dress when it was her 16th birthday. She came out in this beautiful dress and I looked at it and I thought do you know what? It's a bit short it's her 16th, she feels great. Let's just go for it. But deep down I'm abit like err you know its abit short.
00:10:27 Vernon Kay
But then I kind of think about my mum or my dad. Do you know like what you wearing that for? But then I'm thinking that's not what it's not what it's about, it's about an expression of your of yourself. And I think the more kids can express themselves without feeling pressure from the peer group. I think that's a real good character builder and I think it's a really great way of expressing your personality without ruining your mind.
00:10:50 Vernon Kay
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00:11:01 Vernon Kay
Right, it's that time of the show where we invite a fellow parent onto the podcast. This week we've got the wonderful Simon Thommas joining us.
00:11:08 Vernon Kay
I know this is going to be an amazing chat. Sadly, Simon lost his wife very suddenly to leukaemia back in 2017 and he had to learn how to be a single parent very quickly.
00:11:19 Holly Mackay
Yeah, I'm really looking forward to hearing his story, about how he and his son have been doing in the last few years. He's just returned to his job as a TV presenter. And got his own podcast to Simon. Welcome to the show.
00:11:31 Simon Thommas
Hi guys, how are you?
00:11:34 Vernon Kay
We are very good thanks Simon. Yeah, we're talking today about the generational gap, how we Bridge it, and how as parents. We have those conversations without talking about how amazing night clubs were back in the 1990s.
00:11:46 Vernon Kay
I find it quite embarrassing, but I'm starting to say things that my parents said to me when I was young, like it's not as good as it used to be or what's this garbage you're listening to, I don't like it. I it does make you feel old.
00:11:58 Simon Thommas
Now, I know I know exactly what you mean, the one I find. I say more often than not because my boy, Ethan is he just turned 11.
00:12:05 Simon Thommas
So, he's got one more year then is senior school and we're already into the talk about when's he gonna get a phone?
00:12:12 Simon Thommas
What kind of phone is it going to be? I'm trying to go down the line of saying it's probably just going to be a phone, not an all singing all dancing one is just going to be for calling and texting. It already doesn't like that, but so often I say or my partner Derrina says, you know, we didn't. We didn't have screens back in our day and you think where's where's that one come from? But it's just come into the subconscious and without thinking about it, you're now saying it and are now being your parent. It was a different thing back then.
00:12:40 Simon Thommas
You know I remember my first ever game thing was called Puc Monster, like a cheap version of Pacman. My mum and dad couldn't afford that one.
00:12:45 Simon Thommas
Electronic game and you know they would say we never had anything like that in in our day. And now a generation on its well, we never had screens in our day and it's you just say it without even realise it's become part of a conversation.
00:12:58 Vernon Kay
Do you think the digital world enables kids?
00:13:01 Vernon Kay
To interact in a way that they did when they were playing hide and seek when we were playing tag when they were playing all those school ground games, but on a digital platform because my my youngest daughter plays Minecraft, and she plays it with six of her mates.
00:13:15 Vernon Kay
And their creative because they build a world they are communicating, but yet they are not physically moving, and I think as parents because they just sat watching an iPad. We think that all you should be playing hide and seek, or you should be going playing. You know, nicking stuff in peoples gardens. Don't recommend.
00:13:33 Vernon Kay
Everyone had fun with the neighbour's garden gnomes, let's be honest.
00:13:36 Simon Thommas
Little glimpse into Vernon's childhood,
00:13:39 Vernon Kay
yeah. And you know it. I think it times have.
00:13:42 Vernon Kay
Changed, but still there communicating their learning about there being creative because I think that's why Lego is so successful. Because they.
00:13:48 Holly Mackay
Maybe on Minecraft, but Simon if you've got an 11-year-old son, I'm guessing fortnight sort of features in in your world
00:13:54 Simon Thommas
No, no it doesn't yet. We've we decided not to go down that route because he's not being the age where I'm quite strict on that. I think it is important this is one of the great tensions of parenting. I think when it particularly comes to technology because he does have friends in his class
00:14:08 Simon Thommas
Who have been on it for a year or more so it's very much part of their world, but it's not part of Ethan's world, but I think at some point as a parent you gotta you gotta put your markers down and that's difficult sometimes. And I know coming back to the phone conversation that senior school. It's kind of a must have, but the idea he may have a phone that doesn't do what his friend's phone does doesn't mean I just go. Well, okay, you have one of those, and it's it's really difficult. I, I think Vernon coming back to what you were saying is it's just getting that balance between.
00:14:35 Simon Thommas
Still doing some of the things that we did as children because they haven't suddenly become outdated, hide and seek or whatever games and 11-year-old wants to play outdoors because I remember this summer we went to stay with some friends and there was a moment cause there were some other friends there. So about 6 kids in all and they've been quite quiet in the morning for about 2 hours, and I walked into the main room where all the kids were sat, all six of them.
00:15:00 Simon Thommas
Sat in total silence on their devices and I just walked in. I just said to them all what's happening here then, and they sort of begrudgingly looked up then look back down again and in the end, I said right, and I wasn't the parent of these other five kids. I felt a bit bad, I said right? You got 5 minutes more than just put them all down and go outside and they're a bit disgruntled at first because yeah, they're enjoying that world where they are interacting with other kids online. But then I'm thinking but here you are together and given the period we’ve just come through where kids will not see each other apart from online and.
00:15:31 Simon Thommas
Ethan use to do a twice weekly kind of zoom game time with some mates, which was really good and kept them connected.
00:15:37 Simon Thommas
But I just said 5 minutes get out there and and they're a bit grumpy for a little bit, but then 10 minutes later they're kind of doing all the stuff that we remember doing as a kid. And it's not about being snobbish and saying well. I never did this when I was a kid. I didn't have screens, its about saying, there's a place for both, but I think the hardest thing for Parent is just it's getting that balance because as you know, it's all too easy when you're busy and you got stuff going on. Particularly weird period where there's so many of us. We've been at home, we've been working from home, and then the kids come home. Thankfully, back at school now.
00:16:08 Simon Thommas
And everything is all going on. It's all too easy to just go. I've got stuff on so just get on with it and then two hours of sleep by. It's just been interacting online, which I don't think is healthy. If it's just that I just think it's about balancing.
00:16:18 Holly Mackay
Simon Ive got a question and stop me if this is an indelicate, but but I understand that that you lost your wife, and Ethan lost his mum at a year or so ago. Just going back to the issue of sort of your.
00:16:35 Holly Mackay
With a partner now, but as a parent who suddenly lost your kind of partner in crime in some parenting your son.
00:16:45 Holly Mackay
How? How did that feel when when suddenly for a period of time you know the weight of responsibility on your shoulders combined with being a time of incredible grief, must have been extremely hard to juggle. Did you do feel that you should have had to kind of carry the mantle of being mum as well as dad for a bit?
00:17:09 Simon Thommas
Yeah, I did it. Yeah, I mean, it's nearly it's. It's been nearly three years now. And yeah, definitely, I think it was both, I don’t want to use the word cursed thats the wrong word, but it was both in terms of suddenly becoming as I called it at a time of solo parenting. You know, there wasn't, there hadn't been a split up or something where you're essentially still raising the kids, but you, you share your time in terms of bringing them up. And you can still talk to me about school decisions and life decisions for your kids going forward suddenly.
00:17:36 Simon Thommas
Yeah, we had to support family and friends, but in terms of the decisions in terms of bringing him up, it was suddenly for a time all on my shoulders and and I I remembered early on watching the Rio Ferdinand documentary on becoming Mum and Dad and thought gosh, this is this is suddenly my world and you're right, you are dealing with a huge amount of confusion and pain and massive questions about what the hell does the future look like now in terms of, you know losing your wife. But then on top of that it's Crikey now.
00:18:07 Simon Thommas
Everything in terms of Ethan's upbringing for the time being at the least.
00:18:10 Simon Thommas
Rest firmly upon my shoulders. And yeah, I can, I can call out to family and friends for advice, but ultimately the decision rested squarely on me. But in lots of ways. That was also a massive help because you know those first few weeks. Are a blur, they really are an absolute blur because of what happened with Gemma was very very sudden. She went from diagnosis of acute minor leukaemia which is a blood cancer that took her on a Tuesday to being gone by the Friday. So three days no time to prepare, no time to get your head round what was happening to know that was going to be the end result with her diagnosis we knew it was a tough road ahead.
00:18:45 Simon Thommas
And suddenly in an instant your whole world is flipped on his head and you don't know where you're going or coming. I just describe it as being in this thick fog for weeks on end, but the one thing that would drive you out of bed in the morning. The one thing that meant you had to grapple with the day and do things was having a child having Ethan and he would still come through what we actually slept in the same room for the first few weeks, but I had to get him up. He's back at school a week later to keep some of the structures of his life in place because if school, disappears for a few weeks and he just goes what the heck is happening here? My mums gone.
00:19:20 Simon Thommas
Schools gone, this landscape that I once knew as life.
00:19:23 Simon Thommas
Now just looks barren and that was a really big thing in terms of beginning I describe going through something like this is you initially can't move and then you eventually learn to crawl again. You eventually learn to walk again and then one day one day and people listening who may be gone through this and maybe it's too early to even imagine this, but you begin to run again.
00:19:44 Simon Thommas
But he was the one that you can't have unknowingly pulled me through those first weeks because simply had to be there for him and I had to deal with all the really tough questions that came my way from him. He's very open about questions about what the future is going to look like. He was eight at the time, So what he's trying to do is work out in his head. What is my life? What is what I term as my family life gonna look like in a years time in two years time, three years time and so he asked me questions that in the first few weeks or.
00:20:12 Simon Thommas
Really not not wanting to go there like what are we going to Mum's clothes? He asked me within he asked me within 10 days. Do you think you'll get married again? You know? And all these questions I don't want to talk about this, but actually, it's really important. I learned this early on. It's really important and actually say this for any parent. When kids ask tough questions and sometimes the question you think I'd rather put that off for another day because maybe I don't feel equipped to answer or actually I just don't wanna answer it. I I think it's really important to try and go there with them when those tough questions come. Because if you don't what I think happens.
00:20:44 Simon Thommas
The door on conversations and your kids being able to open up to you begins to close. Their dad doesn't want to talk about what we do and mum's clothes. He doesn't want to talk about the future he keeps saying I'm not talking about that right now and eventually the door shuts and he stops asking you the question. So yeah, I think it was it was. It was a huge weight of responsibility, a massive burden. But actually, in those first few months, having a kid and however painful it was to feel his grief and see his grief and realise he's going to grow up without a mum.
00:21:14 Simon Thommas
That was the big thing. That kind of dragged me through those first few months.
00:21:18 Vernon Kay
I know we're talking about the generational gap Simon, but when you opened up your heart so honestly on social media, it really brought the nation together in a way that everyone seems to be kind of empowering you to get through the struggle and the loss of Gemma, but it's nice to know that the generational gap, you know, stick it on the theme from when our parents and our grandparents would find themselves in this kind of situation.
00:21:50 Vernon Kay
Even something as simple as talking about it just didn't happen.
00:21:53 Simon Thommas
No, you know.
00:21:54 Vernon Kay
What's wrong with your sunshine, get back to work, you know,
00:21:57 Holly Mackay
Especially for guys. Yeah, I don’t know about you. I look at my dad erm you know Scottish sort of 81 you know he's not overly prone to talking about how he's feeling. Yeah, that's how you can wind my dad up, talk to him about his emotions. He gets all. Feufvfbdjdc.
00:22:16 Simon Thommas
Well, I think there’s defiantly, there has been and Ive gotta be careful when I say this because I don’t want to say that was just the wrong way to do it. But I think it had an impact and there is a generational gap when it came to.
00:22:28 Simon Thommas
Talking about the area of loss and the area of grief. And I I remember quite early on, having having lunch with actually someone from my work. It was very high up at Sky Sports at the time. And and this guy was was a strange one to work out because you can meet him on one day and he just be an absolute gentleman. Easy to deal with easy to chat to.
00:22:52 Simon Thommas
Other days he was he was he was a nightmare, to put it politely, you know, really tough cookie could sometimes be pretty harsh and unfairly harsh. There was almost like a.
00:23:03 Simon Thommas
Like a schizophrenic nature to his character, could you just didn't know what you were going to get on any on any given day? And he came to see me early on and we just had lunch and he began to tell me his story and it was part of the reason why he wanted to reach out to me coz he he knew something of the path that Ethan was now on and he sat there and said, you know, you won't probably know this but I I lost my mum to cancer when I was seven and my brother was nine at the time.
00:23:30 Simon Thommas
Sort of listening to what he was saying. It was really interesting about how the generations deal with loss and how I think that is changing for the better with time. It's not saying everybody gets it right, or everybody does things differently, but I definitely think it's changing and he said, you know, the way my dad and I think he was without telling me what to do, encouraging me not to be this dad. And he said, you know, my dad. Once the funeral had come and gone, he never spoke of his wife.
00:23:57 Simon Thommas
Of his mum ever again, it's almost like banned within the House, so the only place my colleague and his brother had to go in terms of expressing their grief or talking about their mum.
00:24:08 Simon Thommas
Was with their mums mum, their grandma, who was the other end of the spectrum, wouldn't stop talking about it, but essentially his dad shut the door on grief, shut the door on loss immediately after the funeral, and so he never had anywhere to go with that. In terms of life at home. And I'm not saying that it was definitely connected, but I as I listen, I thought that may be part of the story behind the person you've become because actually grief at some point has to come out weather.
00:24:34 Simon Thommas
It's five days later, or five years later. At some point it will express itself, and I've always wanted to try and encourage people. Actually, it's okay to express it, and it's okay to express it in front of your children. You know me, crying or getting stressed, or saying that you know I'm sad today was an expression of weakness to Ethan? Wasn't saying Dads falling apart, although I know at times, he did feel I was falling apart. Actually, I think it's it's showing strength and saying, listen, it's OK to vocalise these things and actually Ethan it's okay for you.
00:25:05 Simon Thommas
To vocalise these things, I think that stiff upper lip generation where we just got on with.
00:25:09 Simon Thommas
Things you've made work for time, particularly as we talk about war earlier now, none of us, thankfully. Know what its like to live through something like that, but there was that well we just had to get on with it. You know multiple amounts of people were dying every day in conflict. You didn't have time to grieve, but I think now the stiff upper lip thing I just trying to encourage people to try and loosen the lips a little bit. Be okay expressing it because I think your kids will thank you for it in later life that, you are, you know, honest enough to be open and it gave them coming back to that door thing. The ability, hopefully to be open themselves.
00:25:36 Vernon Kay
Simon, thank you so much. But before we leave you, we should talk about where you're at now and generational gap. I would imagine that you and Ethan have done a lot of talking about your new partner, then the future head and things are bright. Things are progressing in a positive way.
00:26:07 Simon Thommas
Yeah, they really are. And I remember, yeah, one or two people who did know. What this path was like as they've been for themselves, said quite early on, and I have been honest enough to say I didn't welcome it at the time. I didn't wanna hear it, they said.
00:26:15 Simon Thommas
Life life will get better that the sun will one day shine again and you cannot even begin to to believe that but but it does its slow but but it does and you know I, I'm really thankful for the place. You know we're in now and I've met an amazing woman who you know it took me by surprise and never thought I'd ever meet anyone again. There if I'd fallen in love again, I thought I never thought I'd allow myself to fall in love again because we all know when you fall in love in life it comes with risk doesn't it? That it doesn't work out that you might be heartbroken.
00:26:46 Simon Thommas
And Derrina been yeah, just to an amazing woman getting alongside me and Ethan.
00:26:51 Simon Thommas
As a friend when we first met and just been incredible support, but then becoming a whole lot more and she's been incredible for me but also incredible for Ethan. You know, she knows that she can never be Ethan's mum, but no one out there could ever be his mum again, but she become everything bar and we're in the process is going to be a nightmare at the moment because these things often do with some moving house soon, but I think you know, I sometimes think about what's happened and I'll think about.
00:27:20 Simon Thommas
Gemma and I'll think that she was 40 and you know the average age, life expectancy of women in the UK now is is above 80 years. So if everything gone well for her, she lost out on her for half her life. Ethan has lost. The vast majority of his life without having his mum by his side. And yet I've just got to enjoy three years alongside that amazing Boy that she didn't have. And you know in honouring her life I need to embrace life again. She did wonder that to enjoy it again and to make the most of it. Coz because I don't know how long I've got this many, many years to come. But you know I've seen.
00:27:53 Simon Thommas
How quickly, particularly cancer, can steal lives, and we're seeing this period. How quickly Covid can take people you know it's it's hard to do every day. I'm totally honest about that. We all know living each day as if it's your last.
00:28:06 Simon Thommas
It just doesn't happen, but what I appreciate his life in a way that I didn't before. And I do count myself despite everything that's happened as really blessed to have an amazing boy to have an amazing woman and Derrina and to have the opportunity to enjoy and you and a different life.
00:28:23 Vernon Kay
Brilliant. Thank you, Simon. Really appreciate your time. That was enlightening to say the least.
Good luck with everything. Thank you, Simon. All the best yeah
00:28:25 Simon Thommas
fabulous guys. Thank you.
00:28:35 Vernon Kay
Okay, honey, we've got some questions of comfort in that we've got to answer. We have to answer legally obliged by Aviva to answer these questions, so will ask Mark our producer to fire them over. Mark, what's the first question?
00:28:47 Holly Mackay
Please I don't understand half of these new terms about gender and sexuality. How can I discuss it with my kids?
00:28:54 Vernon Kay
Cor blimey, I don't understand half of them anyway. I'll be honest with you, but I think.
That's the world we live in. Holly.
00:28:57 Holly Mackay
I think we just have to get them to explain my kids the other day there's a toy we've had forever, Mr Pickles. Mr Pickles was a girl one day. My son then started to say well Mr Pickles is a trans. My daughter's furious no okay Mr Pickles is gender fluid no its just when she woke up this morning, she was a girl. Tomorrow he will be a boy. Ask the kids, I think.
00:29:22 Vernon Kay
Yeah, I, I think the kids I think kids get taught more in the playground about gender than. I think what it is, is when your when you leave school and leave the education system where you go to college where you got to,
00:29:36 Vernon Kay
University or whatever. You have a tendency to stop learning.
00:29:41 Vernon Kay
You know, because you're on your path, then the sale of up your floating down the stream of Life Shall we say. And unless you're reading, unless you know you're well read in literature, you choose to read, or a newspaper or whatever you get your information from. It's very difficult to understand what's going on, so I think parents have a responsibility to keep learning and.
00:30:04 Vernon Kay
Keep there toe in the pool of what is. where are we at with gender. And also, with race we mentioned to improve this podcast 2020 has been a year where you can really embrace Society and get a real grip of what's going on out there, and I think it's our responsibility to open our eyes and find out what gender-neutral means. What trans means.
00:30:27 Vernon Kay
You know gay, lesbian just just go out and ask, you know, use the Urban dictionary. Be careful but use the urban dictionary to find out what these terms mean and educate yourself.
00:30:38 Speaker 4
Kids want to spend money on things I honestly don't understand like games. Any tips for how to control something I don't get?
00:30:45 Vernon Kay
Ohh hello, if coming this one over to you I.
00:30:47 Speaker 5
Think you know?
00:30:49 Holly Mackay
In a way with my kids, I think as long as they understand the connection between work and money.
00:30:56 Holly Mackay
As long as they are not spending it on things that are actually going to be harmful to them if they want to spend it all on virtual things and in games. And then there's none left for anything else and that that that's up to them. But I think it's just for me. It's making sure that there's a connection between the work that they have to do for the money they get, to the end, after that Vernon. and I kind of think they can spend it on what they choose, as long as it's not harmful to them.
00:31:21 Vernon Kay
Yeah, we talked about kids learning the value of money. Havant we, what hard work is?
00:31:27 Vernon Kay
Equivalent to a pound kids can't go spending with.
00:31:31 Vernon Kay
Willy Nilly, unless they know the value of that.
00:31:34 Speaker 6
Any advice please? My parents and my kids don't agree on their views at all help.
00:31:42 Holly Mackay
That's it, tough one. Can you actually be a bridge in the middle? Or you just setting yourself up for failure? Vernon what do you think? My kids and my grandparents? I suppose I just keep them off those sorts of topics, find something they do like doing.
00:31:59 Vernon Kay
Yeah, but I also like watching Pheobe debate.
00:32:03 Vernon Kay
The 16-year-old you know her, and I had had some great debates about social topics, and I quite enjoy it. Not not because we're debating, but I quite enjoy the process that I can see going on in her head and her thought processes. And because my parents are quite old school in the way that they carry themselves, it's quite nice seeing my kids and my parents bring that generational gap closer together and.
00:32:29 Holly Mackay
The important point you make there, I think it is really key is debate, I think.
00:32:33 Holly Mackay
Sounding like an old fart maybe, but we've lost the art of being able to disagree with someone and articulate that.
00:32:40 Vernon Kay
Because, these days we seem to be in a society where your opinion is right. My opinion is right. So therefore, a debate becomes an argument, and it becomes quite feisty, very quick, especially on social.
00:32:55 Holly Mackay
We've been talking today with some cringe worthy moments for me Vernon about bridging the generational gap. And of course, that extends to our finances too.
00:33:04 Holly Mackay
Alistair McQueen from Aviva is back once again, with three more top tips.
00:33:12 Alistair McQueen
Hi everybody, my name is Alistair McQueen and I'm the head of savings and retirement at Aviva and here are my top three tips for today. With each generation comes experience and record life expectancy in the UK today of arguable get more experience than we've ever had before, and this is a great thing.
00:33:29 Alistair McQueen
But for each generation there could be different financial needs and priorities for older generations. For example, the priorities can be funding retirement and potentially meeting. The costs of social care, and for younger generations, the priorities can be student debt and getting on the housing ladder, but for the millions in between you will have your own financial pressures, plus possibly the need support younger and other members of your family too. You are the sandwich generation for those in the sandwich generation. These are my top three tips for taking control of your finances.
00:34:03 Alistair McQueen
First, manage a budget, a budget is the foundation of all good financial planning. Simply work out how much money you have coming in each month from where and how much is going out each month to where obviously the hope is that the incomings are greater than the outgoings. The Great News is that there are many free online tools to help you build your budget. Personally, I like the budget planner with the government backed Money Advice Service website.
00:34:33 Alistair McQueen
But many others are available.
00:34:37 Alistair McQueen
2nd Understand where you're heading. Looking to the longer term is good to understand how much you've already saved for your retirement and how much you're hoping to save in the years to come. This will help you understand if you are on track for their retirement to which you aspire. As with budgeting, there are many free tools to help with this.
00:34:57 Alistair McQueen
For example, in my retirement planner two, when aviva.co.uk website this true will help you understand, for example, the possible benefits of saving more or working longer and 3rd take control with your budget and an understanding of where you're heading there now well placed to consider your next steps. You're in control which.
00:35:20 Alistair McQueen
Is a great place to be.
00:35:21 Alistair McQueen
And you can exercise this control on your own with the support of a wide range of helpful tools on the Internet, or you can exercise this control with the support for financial advisor. And if your between the ages of 45 and 60, Aviva has launched a free app called with midlife MOT. It provides handy hints how to manage your wealth. Your work when you're well-being at these uncertain times. Simply search for Aviva midlife MOT app.
00:35:51 Vernon Kay
More expert advice from Alistair McQueen from Aviva next week. Thank you very much.
00:35:56 Holly Mackay
And that's another episode which has whizzed by Vernon, but next week. Coming up, we've got Alison Perry joining us to talk. Here we go about being a role model for our kids.
00:36:07 Vernon Kay
We're looking forward to that one. To help make sure you don't miss the episode. Hit the subscribe button or the follow button wherever you get your podcasts from and whilst you're there, why not leave us a review go on.
00:36:17 Holly Mackay
And For more information, including some content from me, head over to the website the link is in the description or just type in aviva.co.uk/parenting-past-the-pandemic. We will catch you in episode 4 bye for now.
00:36:36 Vernon Kay
This podcast was brought to you by Aviva Checkout aviva.co.uk for more details. Aviva is with you today for a better tomorrow.