Living as a youngster in today’s world
By MARGARET BROWN
WHEN I was a child time passed slowly, much of it spent waiting for something nice to happen. Disappointments came on the heel of misbehaviour, rewards were withdrawn and periods of solitary confinement stoked the fires of rebellion both in school and during holidays.
My parents came from a generation where children really were seen and not heard and corporal punishment was the mainstay of discipline. While I was never beaten, I spent many hours locked in an attic refusing to say ‘sorry’ until finally, driven by hunger or fear of the dark, grudgingly I apologised. Thrown out of school in my early teens, suddenly I saw the light and set about changing my ways.
Many of today’s teenagers are struggling to make their way in an increasingly dangerous and unsettled world. While some work hard others fall by the wayside, perhaps lacking a secure home base from which to rebel in an age when anything goes.
Britain’s streets and suburbs are no longer safe and, according to reports in the media, plagued by vandalism and muggings, violent gangs and knife wielding individuals.
The fabric of British society appears to be falling apart at an alarming rate, perhaps the rot setting in after World War Two when women, who had been the backbone of industry, found home making an unattractive option. For some youngsters there is an absence of ‘hands on’ love and parental discipline, no religious instruction at home or in school and no hope for the future.
Several generations of parents bombarded with conflicting advice no longer listen to their natural instincts. Is it too late to install a healthy fear of punishment by both God and those in authority? Perhaps, as a last resort, a period of National Service would do the trick?