David Cameron made a speech yesterday in which he spoke about how society needs to take greater responsibility for our young.
The speech referred directly to a spate of shootings which have taken place in South London, and no doubt, to the UNICEF report published this week which highlighted just how miserable children growing up in the UK are. On a league table of twenty one developed nations, our children came out the un-happiest.
I wrote once on my blog about children and boundaries. About how boundaries instil security, because a child knows the point to where it is acceptable to go – doesn’t matter what’s beyond that point, because you can’t go there, just no point trying.
No boundaries, no discipline, equals insecurity. Insecurity produces fear and low self esteem.
Adults in a community used to take a collective responsibility for the young as they grew up.
All my neighbours were an aunt or uncle. It was actually a shock to me as an adult to discover that I wasn’t related as such to all the people I thought I was and that I was from a small family!
Imagine this scene. Two teenage girls walking down a street. A Policeman is walking behind, as he was about once every fifteen minutes or so.
One girl swore. The other ducked, to miss the hand she knew would be straight out from behind – it was – it got the girl who swore by the scruff of her coat and marched her down her path to her parent’s front door, where the parents took responsibility for what she had done, which by today’s standards was mild.
Would that happen today? What happened on that street was the girl, Anne, had stepped over the boundary and adults, both at home and in the community, took responsibility and applied the discipline.
Anne is now a nurse lecturer, but she, like I, would have been classed as a child poverty statistic growing up in a needy area.
If all adults take responsibility within a community then the qualities lacking in one, can be found in another. My mother couldn’t knit, but I spent many a happy hour in Aunty Olives house learning how to. My mother couldn’t bake, but Mrs Dever could, and she taught me how to make a Victoria Jam sponge!
Aunty Peggy taught me how to look after a dog properly and Mrs Townley taught me how to clean. Each and every one of them would have had no hesitation in giving me a slap on the leg if they had seen me misbehave in the street.
We had shared values; we all knew where the boundaries lay and what was expected of us. Most of the mothers were at home and didn’t work.
I think that maybe we need to learn some of the lessons from the past and find a way to apply those lessons in the very frightening and confusing place we find ourselves in today.
I was the girl who ducked; Anne could never get herself out of a scrape!
I am ecstatic!! I have just gone onto the Today prog listen again service and heard David Camerons interview. He spoke about the things I am passionate about and the reasons why I came into politics. He talked about the importance of the family, about changing our culture and values, about discipline and tax breaks for marriage, and the importance of boundaries in bringing up our children - as mentioned above. He was fantastic, so fantastic that you could tell he was really irritating John Humphries . Just in case you think I heard the interview before I wrote the blog, see blog entry for December 12th 'A La Carte Society'. N
This is all such staggeringly obvious stuff, I am constantly amazed more politicians don't focus on it.
Perhaps, finally, they are. Excellent!
Of course, but the problem is -unfortunately - that we, the children of the 60s, screwed it up. We wanted to be free from constraints, and now we are. Right bloody mess we made of it too. The real problem is no boundaries are now set. Children need boundaries, and they need to be enforced. As Shakespeare showed in the Tempest and elsewhere, true freedom consists in service.
"He talked about the importance of the family, about changing our culture and values, about discipline and tax breaks for marriage, and the importance of boundaries in bringing up our children - as mentioned above."
Policies ??? How is he going to do this ?
What about the Tory MP who left his children and wife for another man and David Cameron wouldn't condemn him. This says more than than Cameron spin. Judge a man by his actions.