Sunday, 14 August 2011

Let’s return to a clip round the ear culture

Let’s return to a clip round the ear culture

Read this interesting article this afternoon-an obvious response to the recent youth thuggery and violence in the UK. The responses by fellow readers were interesting. 
Hear one Molloy:

'Children misbehave because they get away with it, and discipline is the only answer. When my child was 2, she began with tantrums and loud obnoxious behavior. She was put out on the stairs, treats were withdrawn, and i now have a well behaved 9 year old with beautiful manners, who respects the rights of others. This was supported by projects in her school, which dealt with having 'kind words and kinds hands and feet'. Bullying, violence, and bad behavior is not tolerated. That said, her school is an Educate Together, which requires parents to get involved in decisions and policy implementation. Not every child is as lucky.
When such a vast amount of children misbehave, in such a violent and destructive way, we, as a society, have to take responsibility. Society has failed these kids. They have no hope, no community spirit, no feelings of culpability, compassion, or remorse. The footage of them robbing that young man whose jaw was broken, as his blood poured down his face onto the street, was stomach turning. What kind of a human being can feel so little for the suffering of another, that they can further abuse them in a situation that should inspire compassion, even in the most heartless and cynical of people? They, obviously, felt none.
A 'clip around the ear' is not the answer. Suggesting that there is any immediate quick fix for this situation is ludicrous. The end result of treating human beings as merely consumers and economic units has just been demonstrated. If people are taught to do nothing more than consume, and told that this is all that defines them- property as personal worth and status- and then left in situations where they have no hope of attaining these aspirations; then, like locusts, they will consume, even when they don't have the means to do so.
Blaming the kids themselves, the welfare system, or liberal notions of punishment for bad behavior, is missing their point; and not listening the these kids now is going to have drastic consequences. What are they going to be like in their 20s and 30s, if this is what they're doing now?
Children learn by example. At the moment, most governments are putting economic concerns first, as a priority above investing in the social fabric that generates and serves their economy. The elderly, the disabled, children with special educational needs, schools, hospitals, and the worst off in society are all suffering, as a result. The media bombards us with images daily, we are accosted by advertising everywhere we go, which tells us that acquisition is the only route to happiness and self-worth. We are told that only the strong survive, that you have to be ruthless to succeed. Those who cannot consume in the same way- the poor, the disabled, the elderly- are worthless, and have nothing to offer.

These children have absorbed these lessons perfectly, and the riots, looting, callous behavior, and total lack of consideration and compassion for others is the end result. Children don't listen to what you say; they watch what you do. The baying for swift retribution and 'justice' is absurd, but it exonerates the rest of society from feeling any responsibility for what's just happened.

These kids are a symptom of a very sick society. There aren't any quick and easy answers, but the questions their actions raise need to be examined, not dismissed with glib buzz words, and knee-jerk reactions. Perhaps if they were being raised in a society whose governments and media endorsed social responsibility, care for the vulnerable, and civic values of decency and compassion, they wouldn't behave like this? If you teach kids those values by example, they will live by them. A person is worth what they contribute to life, in time, knowledge, compassion, and consideration- not the price of their trainers' 

God bless you, Molloy. I hope the policy makers are listening. 

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