Take Responsibility

The world can seem a scary place sometimes. We stand on the brink of change at an ever-increasing pace, synthetic DNA, nanobot technology, genetically engineered food, whizz bang communication devices that will do everything we need at record speed…and yet, nostalgia has never been more popular.

Look at some of the most successful musicals of recent years, The Jersey Boys, Mama Mia, Hairspray, or TV programmes, Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Heartbeat. I’m enjoying the current series of a police procedural called Whitechapel which is all about copy cats of the deeds of the Krays.

Everywhere you look, fashion, books, food, music, movies, television, there is a need to hark back and remember the ‘good old days’. If you listen to my Mum you’ll hear about how kids just ‘played outside’ from dawn to dusk. We didn’t worry about processed food, violent entertainment, climate change or guns and knives in schools.

What are we harkening back to? What do we miss? In my opinion it’s a time when people took more responsibility and parents were allowed to be parents. I read a tweet from a friend this morning who had seen a kid bite its Mum. She said if she’d ever done that, she’d have been biffed into next year. Don’t get me wrong, I think hitting kids is a crime, but somehow we managed to grow up to respect our parents and people in authority. I have no memory of ever being hit as a kid, but I was certainly aware of the behaviour that was expected of me. When did we start breeding a race of children who believe they’re entitled to behave any way they please? When did there stop being consequences for actions?

I see lack of responsibility at all levels, politicians with no idea of when to say ‘sorry, I stuffed up, it won’t happen again’; general managers and board directors who make terrible errors of financial judgement and are punished with a sentence of community service and a slap on the wrist; criminals who are given parole and re-offend and the people who let them out blame systemic failure….you know what I mean.

I’d like to see a “Take Responsibility Movement”. This child, this job, this decision, this mistake, this idea…someone take responsibility for each and every one of them, right throughout the country. Every child in the country under the age of 14 should have a sober, drug-free, resourceful, caring adult responsible for it, for feeding it, clothing it, reading to it, hugging it, keeping it safe. If that adult fails, he or she pays, big time, financially, physically and in the eyes of everyone in the community.

Then maybe we will face the future with confidence and hope and stop looking back to a time when we lived at a safer, slower pace.

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