Why Pudsey Bear is Awful: This story. AGAIN.

Acceptable generic injury bear

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Though people can’t leave their dwellings, I’ll still be retelling why I hate a bear. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It has been 40 years since Children in Need began and Pudsey Bear is still awful. I have no particular opinion about Blush.

Some people who know me (let’s call them friends, despite their arguments) state that they wouldn’t feel that Children in Need was complete without me telling them about why I dislike Pudsey Bear. They’re humouring me of course, but humouring me represents 97% of the work of being my friend, so that’s fine.  My apologies if you started reading this for some reasoning behind why Children in Need as a charity is still important (some of that later), some psychology of altruism (some of that later) or a serious exposé of some behind the scenes scandal (none of that later). I’m afraid my story is still just a short, bitter, pointless grudge against a monocular bear.

As a much younger man, a CHILD you might say, I had been unwell and as a result had been to the see a doctor. I can’t remember what the illness was. Possibly news had spread about the time I asked the biology teacher why they directly taught us about diffusion instead of letting the idea spread out to us gradually and the medical profession were worried my body was degrading due to being too cool.

After leaving the clinic, in fact just outside the clinic, I fainted. On my trajectory towards the ground, I decided it would be safest if my head should take a slight detour towards the wall, using the bricks to cushion the blow and add a jaunty angle to the proceedings. I broke my glasses too, so that was a bonus.

Artist’s recreation of the event

As I lay there regaining consciousness, bewildered and pathetic, head hurting and glasses broken, I notice a blurry figure approach out of the blurry distance into the slightly less blurry foreground. It was Pudsey Bear! He was obviously out collecting money for Children in Need that being the time of year it was and the main thing that he is into. I was saved! Who better than the mascot of Children In Need to help a child, in need, outside a healthcare professional’s building? Pudsey stepped over me and carried on walking.

I’m not a fan of Pudsey Bear.

“Perhaps Pudsey didn’t see you, his vision can’t be that good.”

“Why did he step over me then instead of tripping over me and landing beside me on the pavement?”

I’m not a fan of Pudsey Bear.

Psychological studies into altruism have demonstrated that whether someone stops to help someone else is influenced by a number of factors. For example, if people feel they are short of time, see someone is bleeding, think there are lots of people around so one of them will help instead  (diffusion of responsibility) or simply don’t identify with the person who needs assistance, then they are much less likely to engage in altruistic behaviour (the bystander effect).

Perhaps Pudsey was late for an important bear appointment, was put off when he saw I was losing haemoglobin, thought one of the other people would help me and noticed I wasn’t a bear like him, so didn’t help. Perhaps Pudsey’s just awful.

I’m not a fan of Pudsey Bear.

Acceptable bear demonstrating the bystander effect. Probably.

However, Children in Need do take part in good work that shouldn’t be necessary. Recently, you will have no doubt heard about or experienced the negative impact of lockdown on children’s mental health. Some research suggests that as a result of increased social isolation and the loss of the normal structure of their lives, a large number of children experience disturbed sleep, nightmares, poor appetite, agitation, inattention and separation-related anxiety. Even during this second lockdown, despite schools remaining open, lessons and daily structure are disrupted due to social bubbles being sent home with positive COVID-19 cases and due to teachers being absent with infection or instructed isolation. Some stress is important for healthy psychological development, but intense, frequent or prolonged “toxic” stress can lead to cognitive impairment and stress-related disease. So children suffer with isolation if schools are closed due to lockdown, but suffer due to lack of structure if schools are open but continually disrupted, for example, if they had been made to stay open for political reasons rather than being given time to come up with a blended approach that works well for pupils and staff. Or something. Regardless, children will suffer. Children In Need do a reasonable amount to assist children with mental health difficulties, so maybe donate?

Or there are lots of other good charities, so you can pick one of them if you like. You might as well, otherwise reading this stupid story about my ridiculous grudge against a visually-impaired ursine has been a complete waste of time.

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