This is the script of this morning’s Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball Show as Joe Wicks was about to begin his 24 hour PE workout to raise cash for Children in Need.

A quick question: what is Joe Wicks wearing for the next 24 hours of PE?

I just hope he’s comfortable, that’s all. I once played a game of football when I tore my shorts and wouldn’t run – but was too embarrassed to tell anyone why not.

Well, if Joe wanted to wear a leotard, he’d be accidentally celebrating the very first flying trapeze act on this day in 1859 when Jules Léotard flew above Paris without a net. And the one-piece bit of kit he wore became known as the leotard. Of course, it descended eventually into Borat’s mankini, but let’s not go there.

He may not realise it, but whatever Joe wears for his marathon workout, he will also be demonstrating some deep thinking. Many people have understood human beings to be made of different components – body, mind and spirit (or soul) as if they can be separated out and that what happens in one bit has no impact on the others.

I come from a tradition that has had to learn afresh that you can’t divide people up into separate and independent bits. The writers of biblical books are absolutely clear that body, mind and spirit belong together. This is why people 3,000 years ago in the Middle East were being told to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” Jesus repeated it years later. Loving God meant paying attention to how the body (heart) affects the mind and the spirit … and so on. They belong together and how we exercise the body or the mind or the spirit will determine how fit we are.

This isn’t pseudo-psychology. It assumes that if our children – particularly those in need – can’t exercise their body, flex and grow their mind and imagination, and aren’t given space for spiritual wonder and discipline, then don’t be surprised if they end up with problems.

Joe, whatever you’re wearing, go for it. And we’ll support you as you raise the cash to help kids keep body, mind and spirit healthy.

This is the text of this morning's Pause for Thought on the Chris Evans Show on BBC Radio 2 (with Michael Ball, Michelle Collins, Barbara Windsor, and a snatch of Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott rehearsing).

“Children in tweed? Why would they put their children in tweed?!”

That's what I heard in the train to London yesterday. It's a classic of mishearing, isn't it? A bit like when my youngest son asked me (on a long drive through Germany when he was a child): “Dad, on Star Trek why do they say, 'Beat me up, Scottie'?”

It's dead easy to mishear, and then run away with a misunderstanding that can sometimes have serious consequences. When Jesus told his friends to “Suffer the little children”, he didn't mean that we should make the children suffer. (He meant 'allow them to come.) But, look around at the extent of children's poverty and unhappiness in this country – measured by all sorts of organisations – and you could be forgiven for thinking that we had a mandate to put children in their place.

One of the things Jesus was doing when he spoke about children was to bring them in from the margins of his culture – economically unproductive, but a useful pension scheme for when age has stopped you working – and place them centre stage. “If you treat your children as the future only, and not as the present, you've missed the point, he says.

Yet, this isn't about growing little monsters who think from infancy that the world revolves around them and owes them a living. It is, however, about growing children who know that they are loved and valued and taken seriously enough to have to learn how to engage in a complicated world.

Did you know that 62 years ago today the NME published the first official singles chart in the UK. Among the twelve songs on the list – and bypassing the Max Bygraves epic 'Cowpunchers Cantata' – was Jo Stafford's 'You belong to me'. Well, interpret that how you like, but what it says to me on this Children in Need day is: You have an obligation to treat your children well, to give them a good childhood with the best opportunities in life. They don't belong as a possession to be exploited or a commodity to be traded, but as an obligation to be honoured and a gift to be loved.

 

 

This is the text of this morning's Pause for Thought on the Chris Evans Show on BBC Radio 2:

Whenever I hear the phrase 'Children in Need' I hear the echo of something Jesus said in the gospels. Surrounded by a load of adults – probably men – he became aware of a child and said those famous words: “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” That's the old version – it actually means “let them come” -, but it's the one that has stuck for me.

Now, you could be forgiven for thinking that what he meant was that we should make the children suffer. Because it seems we do quite a good job of this in a variety of ways. If we didn't, then why is it necessary to have the Children in Need appeal every year?

I remember that story about Mahatma Gandhi coming to London for the first time. As he got to the bottom of the aircraft steps a journalist asked him what he thought of western civilisation. He replied: “I think it would be a very good idea.”

Now, he wasn't being miserable about it – he no doubt had that twinkle in his eye for which he was famed – but he did point up the question. Why, in this day and age, do so many children now live from foodbanks in one of the wealthiest countries on the planet?

Well, we can moan about it, or we can do something about it. The other striking thing about Jesus's teaching is the emphasis on generosity. Give it away. Don't be imprisoned by things and stuff, but love your neighbour and be generous. Hospitality runs through his life and teaching like Blackpool through a stick of rock.

If I was bidding for a juke box song this morning, I might be tempted to go for Graham Nash's 1970 song which not only tells parents to “teach your children well” – who can argue with that – but goes on to tell the children to “teach your parents well”. It's the grown-ups who need to learn, in the words of St Francis of Assisi, to give and not to count the cost.

This show raised three and a half million pounds last year. Surely there's more to spare this year?