Teach Your Children Well

9 August 2011

I sat up late last night. I was tired and really needed an early night, but I started watching the riots in London unfold on the news. It was thoughtless destruction that was out of control and I couldn't quite believe what I was witnessing was happening in places I knew. Politicians were wheeled out to debate what might have triggered this act of thuggery and other key political figures cut short holidays to come and deal with the issue. Innocent members of the targeted communities have seen their homes and cars go up in flames. Others have lost their livelihoods; livelihoods which were probably already up against it due to the current recession. Good honest people have been very frightened. It's a very sad picture of society today.

Yes, yes I know these thugs are the minority. But I fear that actions like these are becoming more commonplace. Yes, there are political tensions. Yes, there will be friction between the young and the police. Yes, prospects for many of today's young people look grim. But none of those are reasons for this behaviour.

Respect is disappearing from today's society. That, I believe it is one of the underlying problems to the riots. Installing respect into children is the responsibility of parents. Most of us do this as second nature. I do. My parents did with me. When I was young the majority of us had respect for authority; the police, teachers and our elders. My parents generation even more so. Nowadays, the growing minority of respect-less young people dis-regard authority of any kind. They know that they can't be touched. The riots show the extreme, but you can easily stubble upon examples of no respect on a daily basis; unruly kids in the classroom that teachers can't (or aren't allowed) to touch to adults that allow their kids to throw their litter onto the pavements. As parents we are accountable for our children's actions. I know I am not alone in worrying about the world I'm bringing my children up in. But I dare say that my grandparents would have said the same about bringing children into a world at war. I guess we can but teach our children values and hope that they will pass them down to the next generation.

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