Arriving at kindergarten with my young son many years ago, I was confronted by a sign on the notice board – an advice – that to say ‘no’ to a child or provide negative feedback would destroy the child’s confidence and inhibit development of abilities.
“What nonsense!” I thought, reflecting on my not inconsiderable experience in raising a family. By all means encourage and affirm the child to foster development, but never to voice negatives would be to deny the child the opportunity to deal with reality – an essential skill for life, for building resilience to deal with tough situations as they arise.
Experts promoting such a farce failed to see the consequence of their actions that are now being played out. We are left to absorb the impact of a couple of generations who are not only unable to own responsibility for their actions for which there is little consequence, but also show grand capacity for blaming the person/s they have harmed. Furthermore, under the mantle of compassion, offenders can be affirmed in their ‘victimhood’.
It is worth trying to make sense of compassionate market distortion in which our silence appears complicit.
Sudanese youth crime
The violation of victims of violent home invasions, jewellery shop destruction and theft, muggings, car-jackings and community facility destruction by Sudanese youth is exacerbated when there is little consequence for the perpetrators. Police, courts and sympathisers all wave a light brush over criminal damage and personal trauma. Blame is apportioned to racism and the alleged failure of the Australian public to aid assimilation of people from a different culture, but not, heaven forbid, the youth themselves, beneficiaries of Australia’s largesse to immigrants. ‘Deport the Prime Minister’ goes up the call.
Little consequence is an affront to our sense of justice. Little consequence does untold harm to the Sudanese youth, as it has done to our children, in that they are not called upon to deal with reality, in keeping with our community values, based on Judeo-Christian traditions and sense of justice.
Bullying has become an industry, engaging participants from virtually all walks of life to seek solutions and change behaviours. Bullying has ever existed and no doubt will continue.
Most recently the tragic suicide of “Dolly” Everett at age 14 years, seemingly as a consequence of cyber bullying, has galvanized governments around the country to see what collective measures can be taken to prevent more of the same.
Yet again there is no consequence for the perpetrators of the bullying. Who they are would be known by people with access to Dolly’s online messaging.
Factors for change:
- Foster a moral compass and honest, transparent dialogue about the destructive evil of known negatives (“sins”) – jealousy, hatred, avarice – however unfashionable, which cause a person to embark on concerted bullying. Whatever happened to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?
- Build resilience in children by helping them deal with reality, early and often, rather than fostering fantasy. Bill Gates is quoted as saying “Life is not fair; get used to it!”
- Address the co-dependence on communications technology, which has reached epidemic levels. While the simplest solution is to turn off a device used for evil, enforcement is impractical when no boundaries have been set. In time the crisis will pass.
Hollywood is great at promoting Hollywood and other fashionable causes. Now it has put its momentum behind the #metoo challenge of sexual harassment by lions of the industry against women and occasionally men. #metoo has been exported internationally and has gone viral in local media.
For too long there has been little or no consequence for sexual predators, especially those of status, thereby distorting the balance of relationships. Public exposure of men who have misused their power and status to extort sexual favours from others deserve to be exposed. It is right and just that their ability to escape the consequences of their actions be called to a halt. Still, judgement should await due process.
Women are not necessarily fault free in the context of many accusations. Women have been known to make false allegations, which, widely promoted as matters are in this era of mass media, destroy the reputation and lives of men who happened into their headlights. False and misleading allegations are every bit as devastating to men as sexual predations are for women.
Australia’s efforts to affect rapid transition to renewable energy to reduce projected greenhouse gas emissions, global warming or climate change (whatever is the term of the day) has led to unreliable base load power, higher energy prices and an uncertain energy future in a country awash with resources. Of small consequence is that businesses and pensioners are being priced out of the market.
Should the Greens’ demand to “close down coal!” be met, the consequence is that Queensland may not be able to service health and education, now largely funded by coal royalties. Energy and metals to build windmills and solar panels may be in short supply. “Stop Adani”, the current campaign by shipped-in activists, by extension, means stopping the six or so other coal mines scheduled for development in the Galilee Basin, as well as the common use rail line to the port and the accompanying jobs and regional prosperity.
False claims invariably have consequences. The Great Barrier Reef is an emotive target for the ill-informed. Claims that coal mining damages the Great Barrier Reef are farcical on basic geography: the Galilee Basin is 500km inland. The GBR is another 100km or so off shore and stretches 2,400 km in length across several climate zones. Over its 10,000 years of existence the Reef has demonstrated amazing resilience, regenerating when damaged by underwater turbulence and normal climate events like floods and cyclones. Areas of bleaching have recovered rapidly. Professor Peter Ridd has been roundly castigated by James Cook University for speaking truths about Reef resilience, questioning the ‘science’ of mutually affirming ‘research’ that attracts funds yet fails to replicate findings, as should be normal practice for science.
Adani intends exporting coal to India to provide 300 million of India’s poor with access to power that will improve their life and opportunities, privileges taken for granted in this country. Perhaps the activists would prefer India’s poor to continue to live a short, difficult life (40 years) in slums, subject to disease, smoke and fire accidents? Jobs for the region and the lives of poor Indians seems of little consequence to activists.
Australia’s important days
As is usual when one log of claims is met, other ‘wants’ are rushed in to fill the vacuum and maintain the media profile and importance of people of little consequence.
Same Sex Marriage legislation had barely been passed into law, when activists turn their hatred and violence to remaking history of western civilisation in this country. At contention are alleged “wrongs” against the original inhabitants, claims which position Aborigines as perpetual victims. Activists demand the date of Australia Day be changed, because it offends Aborigines to remember the “invasion”. And by the way, the commemoration of Anzac Day should also be abolished.
Any reading of the historical documents of the first fleet, recently articulated by Trent Dalton in The Australian, shows that Captain Arthur Philip came with best intentions and clear plans to establish an outpost of Empire characterised by the English language, equality and rule of law. There is no question that Aborigines were dispossessed and decimated by disease and conflict. Imperfect as execution of Philip’s plan may have been, recompense for Aboriginal disadvantage has now been ongoing for several generations. Over $33 billion/year is committed to their welfare to improve health and education to ‘close the gap’; land rights have been secured; around 12 days of the year celebrate Indigeneity; welcome to country precedes most public occasions; and a public apology for previous “wrongs” has been given by Prime Minister Rudd.
Apology and recompense place responsibility for reconciliation between the original inhabitants and those who came afterwards largely in Aboriginal hands. Many of Aboriginal descent have come to terms with reality and operate in work, school, government and academia similar to other Australians. Continuous blame, victimhood and anger are seriously misplaced when directed at an empathetic audience who wish them well, but who cannot change history. After all, sooner or later Australia would have been settled by some country (the French were in Botany Bay as Philip arrived and Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish already hovered).
The English gifted inhabitants with universal law, language and opportunities for all. A little gratitude would not be misplaced. Next step is to take up the gift, heal the rift and bring the best of Aboriginal culture along for all of us to enjoy. That would be of great consequence. We could all celebrate Australia Day in good spirit.
Those familiar with my Maturity Model know that truth (fact) is the basis of making sound decisions. In each of the situations mentioned, emotion and compassion distort reality, hindering resolution. Satisfaction is invariably short lived. Troubling consequences abound.
The best we can do is to stick to the facts ourselves, be confident in our decisions and to speak out where possible, to honour our values.