DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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15 October 2012

We are better than this

When I was 17 or 18 and started going into the city to have fun with my friends, I clearly remember my mother lying awake waiting for me to come home. She would say: I can smell smoke, have you been smoking?  No mum. I was in a room where people were smoking. Where have you been? King's Cross/Darlinghurst/the city/a party. Then she would tell me every time: They will cut your throat for nothing there. They charge you sixpence everywhere else. It was her attempt to gently warn me of the dangers lurking in the Sydney of my youth. You all know my age. I'll be 65 next April so I'm talking about the mid to late 1960s. Sydney was different then. I felt safe wandering around at night and coming home late on the train; most women did. I would never do it now. I progressed through my childhood and teenage years without knowing anyone who was a victim of violent crime. There were no break-ins where we lived and we didn't hear of any gangs except "crime gangs", sometimes we read in the newspaper about a murder.


I'm not going to white-wash those times, I don't have my head in the sand, there were violent crimes happening then. Two I remember were the Graham Thorne kidnapping and murder and the girls who were killed at Wanda beach. I remember them to this day because it was unusual for children to be killed then. Men would kill each other, men sometimes killed their wives, but kids? No, they were, for the most part, out of the scope of random and senseless killings.

Just this past weekend, two boys on the Gold Coast were robbed of their skateboards and one had his throat slashed. Close to my home, two alpacas were bludgeoned to death with an iron bar. Just recently a young woman walking home from a club in Melbourne was abducted, raped and murdered. I could go on and cite more cases of violence and a quick look in your local newspaper might reveal a similar situation where you live.

I guess you're wondering why on earth I'm writing about this. 

I believe we are all partly to blame for the violent times we live in now. I know I shoulder some of the blame, not because I took part in it, but because I didn't stand up before now and say something. I think we all should do that.  We, as a society, have stood by while more people were murdered, more children abused, more women raped. I have complained about it to friends and family but I have never said anything to my local member of parliament and I've never written about my concerns publicly.

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. ~ Edmund Burke

Civility, respect and responsibility need to be a big part of what we teach our children, and more importantly, what we model for them. Grace seems to have disappeared from our lives and we need her to return.  We're desensitising our children by allowing them to "entertain" themselves with violent computer games. I think we have desensitised ourselves into believing, for the sake of convenience, they do no real harm. I have no doubt that the daily happenings we are surrounded by - TV news and the continuous reports of violent crimes, computer games, the bullying and hatred on Facebook and Twitter, are making us believe that crimes of violence, and computer games that reflect them, are inevitable and it's just how things are now. And yes, it is how things are now but it has descended to this in my lifetime. I hope we can get back to a more civilised society before I die because I don't want my family to live like this and I don't want yours to either.

We are better than this.

I remember writing about how Hanno and I bought chooks for our boys when they were young - chooks were their first pets. We used the chickens to teach our sons gentleness, responsibility, respect and trust. Those chickens helped them incorporate common sense into their daily lives and build self-confidence. I thought then that girls did not have to be taught how to be gentle; I thought it was part of a girl's nature. Sadly, I don't believe that now. I look at some girls and women around me and they're as tough and brutal as some of the men.

This is a problem that effects all of us; it's not just about children, violence, abuse or cruelty. We have to stop living as if it doesn't matter that this is now "normal". Like almost everything, it has to start with us. We are the only ones we can change, we have to step up and be better roles models - all the time, not just when it suits us. But we also have to talk to our politicians and the media, and blog about it, to get the message across that this is a major problem. We have to talk to our friends and neighbours about it and give it a much higher profile. We have to show that we want change and that we've stopped ignoring the problem and accepting it as part of how we live now.

What are your thoughts on this?



96 comments:

  1. Funny you should write about this today Rhonda. It was only yesterday evening when I was talking to my older children about the same thing. How my Mum would allow me at the age of 15 to travel to the city in the evening, on a train, to see the original Jessus CHrist Superstar musical with my younger sister and a few friends! Thereis no way now that I would allow my daughter to travel to the city on the train even in the middle of the day.
    I often tell our children how violent the shows on tv are now compared to years gone by and I can't believe some of the things that are allowed to be screened during what is classified as family viewing times which is why we don't allow our children to watch much tv. Yes, we do need to take responsibility and accept the fact that we have allowed this to occur and yes we should be doing something about it.

    Another thing that we have allowed to happen, which I take an active stand against, is younger girls clothing that is sold in the bigger chains of shops. Trying to find something modest for our girls to wear is becoming increasingly difficult.

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  2. It's a good post, Rhonda. We're encountering much the same problems here, - senseless acts of violence, a lot of it drugs and alcohol-fuelled.

    I wonder if it's down to people becoming less connected with each other. We socialise less than our grandparents generation did because we have things like the tv, computer games, dvds, the internet etc. And often when people do go out it's to get drunk with their peers.

    The Amish programme you mentioned in one of your recent posts was shown here in the UK, and I think it showed that a sense of community really benefits people. It is this that we're missing. I hope we can re-discover it.

    Rgds, Anna
    Sussex England

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    1. While it's easy to believe the Amish live an ideal life, I think they have their own problems. However, I think that generally they appear to be much more content with their lives than we generally are and I admire their work ethic. I think work helps makes us what we are. And yes, a sense of belonging to a family and/or a community is extremely beneficial.

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    2. Of course the Amish have their problems; they are people. But that does not make them any the less a model for community involvement and responsibility. Any group has its problems, some handle them better than others.

      Not long ago I was driving and was nearly hit by someone speeding along and who pulled out directly in front of me. Of course, she had her middle finger ready to show me who was boss. I had to laugh. This meant that she knew she was guilty. But really, how sad to have to defend a completely senseless act that could have hurt people. I guess she is not so smart after all.

      This is the world we live in. I did not know until now it had spread all the way to Australia.

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  3. Rhonda, you hit the nail on the head there. We have become conditioned to accept these things within our communities and society at large. We must try harder to un-condition what we`ve become so used to. It`s not normal and it`s not acceptable to shrugg it all off. You are right. We must voice our disbelief and distain in violence around us. And we must be the change we want to see happening, ourselves. I`m about to become a grandmother(March 2013)and I certainly hope that my son will make a good job of educating his child about tolerence, compasion, love and due care, just as I have taught him when he was growing up. If I should see that he or his wife fall short in that department I will do my best to let them both know that I`m here to help. I will not want to see my grandchild grow up being pushed infront of the computer, left to his/her own devises to do as he/she pleases just to give the parents a brake. As a grandparent I will have still responsibilities over my son and also to show the same concern for my grandchild. I will be there to help educate, occupy the child with sensible activities to nurture the soul and the mind. Society has adopted a sense of carefree or couldn`t care less attitude, and its high time that we all help change this!!

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  4. A big topic for today and a worldwide problem. The Bible says we are living in an evil age where man does not value life amongst other things. The problem lies at the heart of mankind IMHO. South Africa has such a problem with issues like this that it reminds me to spend more time in prayer for our leaders and community and families. PS I too agree that violence in any form be it movies or games or books need to not be a part of our lives and we live by those convictions. Wendy

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  5. I agree Rhonda, there is a such an inbalance in our society now. I feel like I have to always be vigilent with my kids and what they are exposed to, just to keep there innocence for as long as possible. The language and adult concepts that are just thrown in our faces these days from all sorts of media still shocks me! I feel like I am the odd one out though when your hear or see what all the other children at school are allowed to see, hear and do. It makes me sad, how have we come so far the wrong way? You almost feel like you are fighting the world all the time (without wanting to sound dramatic) but I intend to keep up the fight. I know you can't shelter your kids too much and I do not intend to do that we talk openly about issues all the time and want them to be able to look after themselves, it just seems to me that we are robbing our youth of there innocence to early and exposing them to so much! The only way to produce a better more wholesome society is to start at home. The values and morals we instill in our kids will make all the difference.

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  6. Rhonda I couldn't agree more. I lived in Adelaide when I was younger and unfortunately I was one of the small minority of young women who were attacked but that's not why I'm writing. My husband and I were only talking about this very subject yesterday. I said to him 'The youth of today frighten the heck out of me with what they are capable of'. He has a similar theory too that computer games and (anti) social media along with busy parents are helping to lead our youth astray. We are no angels either of us just concerned citizens and concerned grandparents but we know right from wrong and we know the consequences of our actions. The youth of today don't seem to know what consequences are? There is no restart button once they have 'king hit' a Facebook friend or a lifelong friend or been texting and taken their eyes of the road while driving. Should the unthinkable happen they do not understand the far reaching consequences of their actions. Shielding them from consequences from an early age is shielding them from important life lessons and prevents them learning from these valuable lessons so they can make informed choices for themselves. Yes we as concerned citizens should speak up and not remain silent. Why does one feel so helpless about this issue? This behaviour is NOT normal.

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  7. You are so right, Rhonda. In this as in all things, "Be the change you want to see in the world". Model the behavior you want others to emulate. Point out and decry insensitive behavior. Shun media that extols violence and crudeness. Stand up to bullies. Encourage those who are kind and decent. Applaud those who help lift up the downtrodden. It may not change the world at large, but it will plant a seed that can, with time, flourish.

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  8. I share your distress and desire for us to do better.

    When I read the actual crime rate statistics for Canada, it appears that things vary over time, rising and falling in small waves. No huge changes, but definitely many more crimes are reported (and we hear about them in so much more detail-which may have its own negative effects).

    But here's something really positive going on that I think may produce healthier (less violent) future generations: the freedom to speak up and report crimes.

    When I was a kid, if something awful happened (violence or abuse), you told no one. Think of all the hurt, pain, and shame that so many people have bottled up inside for all these years. And all of the repeat offenders who never got caught.

    Now, thankfully, the era of shame is fading and it's acceptable to speak up, address old hurts, and reclaim one's dignity. Look at the masses of old sexual abuse cases finally being addressed today. I think it's a huge step forward for individuals to finally feel safe enough to speak up and perhaps find some healing in doing so.

    Knowing so many friends who were harmed in "the good old days", I don't believe our best behaviour is behind us. I think vast numbers of offences went unreported instead and the truth was hidden a lot more.

    Today, I'm hopeful that future generations will balance good manners with eyes wide open, learning to be civil but not letting crooks and snakes get away with their bad deeds.

    And perhaps fewer people carrying guilt and shame will allow for healthier relationships and lives.

    Or so I hope. xo


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  9. It's a difficult and horrible thing Rhonda. I do believe the media also has to take a lot of the blame in 'desentising' us. I refuse to myself, or let my kids watch violent movies/shows for this very reason - they take one of the most horrid things in life and make entertainment out of it and that is to me absolutely disgusting. And even the news has become mere infotainment, not real news. You see a huge difference when you switch to something like ABC news where they do not sensationalise events and just give you the facts. I believe it's up to us all to boycott any violent shows and speak up to the media as what we watch on TV has such a huge impact on us all. That's my two cents. Kind Regards, Miki

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  10. It's not a subject I've read on your blog before, but you are so right. We had riots in this country last year and there were lots of young people rioting because they felt they had no jobs or hope of anything other than living on benifits. This caused lots of discussion in the Uk.

    I could not feel sorry for these people as I had been brought up to respect other peoples properties and possessions and that two wrongs do not make a right.

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    1. I also don't feel sorry for anyone who does not have respect for other peoples property and possessions. My grandmother always said "look at yourself before blaming anyone else". I think that is so true, we should take reponsibly for our own doings.

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  11. Rhonda,

    I live in the US. A post card is 42-cents. I go every month and buy 93. That is enough for me to send the President and my two representatives a note Every Single Day about issues that concern me. They are not long notes, just a few sentences as reminders of the issues that I am concerned with right now.

    In our country, my of our representatives actually weigh their mail for or against an issue. This is why it is important to actually write and not just email.

    I believe that the other thing we can do is just refuse to allow events to go unnoticed. We have "take back the night" events in our area where people go out at twilight for community events. And, we get to know our neighbors for this is the number one way to stop crime ---- have each other's back.

    Thanks for bringing this issue up! This, too, is part of "simple living!"

    Martha

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    1. I applaud you for doing this! Being involved in our local communities is indeed so very important to this society. ~Elaine

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    2. What a wonderful thing you're doing, Martha. I hope this will be on one of your postcards to the president.

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    3. It really is a part of simple living isn't it? I hadn't though of it that way until you brought it up, Martha! Perhaps if more of us followed your example, and put to use the rights we have in a free society, we might see some more positive action. And what excellent role modeling for the children as well.

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  12. I completely agree with you. There have always been violent societies if you study hustory but I know America wasn't as violent against women and children when I was young and there was no such thing as gangs. But we did have slavery which was extremely violent and ugly so there has always been evil and there always will be but we are called to be salt and light to a dark and decaying world. To me that means loving and serving those that are put into my path and speaking out about the garbage going on around me that is harming others.

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  13. You are so correct! This is a strong call to action. I think that as our society withdraws to technology, we lose sight of the importance of getting involved to make a change.

    My experience with the youth of today mimics your point exactly. I am a public school teacher with 105 twelve-thriteen year olds every day. When behavior becomes a problem, there are two essential questions we must ask our children. First, who do you live with? Most of the time, they are living with someone other than a parent due to the breakdown of their family unit. The second do you play a lot of video games? The answer is catagorically yes. The violent behavior they see on these games comes to us in the classroom. The students are also spending countless hours late into the night playing and coming to school with less than two or three hours of sleep.

    Not all students fall into this category. We have glimmers of hope in many of our children who will one day be the decision makers in our country, but my heart breaks for those who have no guidance in their lives other than video games. I can't wait to hear your reader responses as I will looking for ideas and suggestions on changing the future with the influence I do have in the classroom.

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  14. Wow this is a powerful post.The timing of this post is at a time when I am sad and disappointed in this world. A girl in British Columbia had killed herself after being bullied after her mistake with social media a mistake that lives on even though she no longer does.
    With news of her death and all the media surrounding the video she had posted on you tube, a video that had me bawling my eyes out sitting at my table there was an out pouring of sadness and anti bullying was again highlighted.
    Today I listened as her family pleaded for the hate mail against there daughter be stopped in social media where it had all started and continues today. Her memory now is being bullied by bullies.Death cannot even stop the small minded horrible people from attacking her and letting her family grieve.
    I wonder what our world is coming too. We need to sit up and take notice NOW.There is no excuse for all this hate in th world. B

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  15. Oh Rhonda, I do agree. I have that quote ringing in my head quite often!

    I wonder what type of world my children and grandchildren will grow up in as well and I'm very concerned about it. On the flip side, I feel quite optimistic at times that enough people will say Enough and begin a change. In my opinion we not only have to write and talk to our politicians, the media and anyone who will listen, we have to dictate the actual changes we wish to see occur.

    If we simply said we won't tolerate it any longer then the result may be more police, more restrictions, longer gaol sentences, harsher fines - and nothing done about the root causes, the "symptoms of the disease", so to speak.

    I think we people are more powerful and influential than we realise however it needs to be directed thoughtfully.

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  16. I detest the hatred and violence portrayed on tv, in music and video games. Trash tv is the worst, I believe, even some of the "reality" shows. People being so unkind to one another - this is a form of violence, in my opinion. I don't watch it or listen to it. I'm teaching my grandchildren the same values that I taught and modeled for my children. It saddens me that the world has become such a harsh place. I suppose that the only way to make it better is to start with ourselves, individually and in our communities. I live outside a large city in the US, and there is crime even in our little suburb. Stealing, shootings, home invasions. Thank you for your post, Rhonda, although it's difficult to even think about.

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  17. Totally agree with your Rhonda. I believe the problem starts at Primary School. Teachers really are powerless to impart any disciplinary action towards children these days. We underestimate how clever these little kids are and they learn very quickly that consequences are rarely dealt with at school. This, I believe, ingrains a lack of respect for authoritarians such as Police Officers, Community Elders and in some circumstances, just adults in general.

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    1. Sorry, it starts at HOME! Parents are the childs first educators, and far too many of them are having babies, putting them in day care and working, so they are too time poor and cash strapped to do their job which is educating and guiding their children. Teachers have been emasculated by public opinion which has taken away any means of discipline or control. Most families are NOT better off if both parents are working, but people no longer want to make choices, they want it all, now, and hang the cost. Rieann in W.A.

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    2. Yes, I agree with you Rieann!!!

      R
      (someone who has chosen to have less to give our kids more)

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    3. Agree!! while definitely not an excuse for poor behaviour i feel that many children are being institutionalised at a much younger age, starting daycare at 6mths, from daycare moving straight into kindy/prep programs, then school and after school care. i wonder that for some perhaps they become desensitised to authority, the morning shift staff, afternoon staff, late staff, relief staff, babysitters, grandparents, teachers, music teachers, sport coaches, etc. i think the authority of parents risks being lost in the crowd (if that makes sense?).

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  18. I totally agree. Thanks again for a thought provoking blog. Amanda

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  19. I love that quote and used it often when I was teaching. Un/fortunately there has been no increase in violent crime in Australia, in fact there has been a decrease, however the media has taken to sensationalising these events and making us fearful. We also have greater access to information through the internet etc so are exposed to these stories more often. We are far more likely to be assaulted by a member of our family or someone we know than by a stranger. Parents feel like they are making their child safer by preaching about stranger danger when strangers pose such a tiny tiny risk. We really need to be teaching our children how to act when someone they know makes them feel uncomfortable (e.g. I don't like it when Auntie Sarah cuddles me or Mr Smith makes me sit in his lap). You're right, we all have a responsibility to effect positive change, however we need to acknowledge the real risks and be careful not to raise our children in a culture of fear.

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    1. Dasher, while the statistics for murders have remained the same for many years, in the stats available now (to 2010) assaults have jumped quite a lot. I think they will have jumped again when the figures for the past two years are released. I agree that domestic assault is a big problem that has been misunderstood and mismanaged in the past. It is indeed within the home the dangers manifest. Hopefully we can help bring about change by talking about these problems and a rational way.

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    2. You're so right- open discussion is very powerful. From my reading of the stats the most likely people to be assaulted are young adult males (18-25) and interestingly they are also the least fearful of assault! I wasn't aware there was an actual rise in the number of assaults, I must have been focusing on murders!

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  20. I believe it is the role of women to pull our society out of these times. Women still have the homemaking role in society (even if you are a career woman) we are responsible for raising our children, caring for the health of our children by feeding them chemical processed food,let our kids watch the violence on tv, games, dvd's and the internet..
    It is easy to complain without doing something about it - lets be a new band of women that can make a difference by making sure that our children and our grandchildren make the changes - by changing the way things have been done in the last 20 years - start by - eating healthy unprocessed food - turn off the box - get them outside in the sun to play in a tree - encourage other mothers to take the plunge to a more simple down to earth life....... It will change - we have to fix it - that requires effort and a change of the way we think and the way we do things
    We can make the changes - lets start : )

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  21. What a wonderful post you are so right! As a society we are so desensitised that we hardly bat an eyelid. And it starts so early. The line between good and bad has been blurred. My 2 year old was recently pushed off a trampoline by another 2 year old. The little girl waited till she was climbing off then purposely shoved her. We we're at a group we have been attending for over 2 years. Now I don't expect the child to realise what she did was wrong, but I do expect the Childs mum who watched it happen to reprimand her child at the
    very least. Not wait until my child calms down
    enough to "dob" and then huff as she picks her daughter up for a cuddle. Then allow.her to get out of saying sorry because saying sorry makes her cry.... apparently we don't even teach our toddlers right from wrong because it might upset them......

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    1. Her excuse was that saying sorry makes her cry?? Too bad, that mum is going to have quite a problem child on her hand and the signs are already there.
      I am sorry your little one was pushed and hope she is okay.

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    2. Thanks MissFifi. My daughter is fine thankfully she is a monkey so she falls well! I agree, problem child princess of the group I'm afraid.

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  23. I had a lot of discussions with my children's high school teachers ( like the deputy prinicipal) about what my (6) children should do/achieve in their lives, they, the educators all wanted them to go to uni (only 1 did, and she is a high school teacher. I wanted them to be responsible for their actions, responsible for their families, responsible for their finances, and caring and not damaging another person or property. I believe that we have succeeded with this the five eldest all having growing families, they all meet all their commitments and they help their extended families and friends. I also see that they are imparting this onto their children, and we also continue with this with our granchildren.
    I believe that if children are given a good example to follow at home, with extended family and friends, and school we are definiately on the right track. TV and video games need to monitored and I don't believe that youngsters necessarily need to be on facebook and also have unconditional use of mobile phones, without supervision.
    When my children were growing up we were fortunate to have a group of friends, that would also make sure that all children were supervised and behaving themselves when they were in their company, whether at home visits or playing sport etc.
    We were very involved with our children, both with their schooling and with their sport,when our children were watching tv, we were careful with what they watched, esp the news, explaining to them that a lot of it was sensationaliesd, and that it was better to watch several news broadcasts, and see the difference in the reporting. They watched loads of docos, particulary on the natural environment etc, and plenty of sport. However, they were mainly outside playing and when old enough playing team sports.
    In our area, we see that the number of children in 1 parent families, households with drug issues and domestic violence issues has increased. There are quite a few unemployed people in this area, however there are still jobs available, but it seems a lot of people don't want to work. We quite a few 3rd 4th generation families like this and it is very sad to see the impact on the children, esp in the area of schooling and behaviour. Recently, we have had several people charged with offensive behaviour/language outside a local primary school!!!!!
    I have to agree with what Rhonda is saying and with most of the replies, but I think that the best things we can do is lead by example, both at home and in our communities, and also by contacing our local members and Preimers, Prime Ministers etc. All letters written to and received by our government members are legally required to be answered.

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    1. Chookasmum, I agree entirely, Reading your comment made me feel like I had written the words. Thank you

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  24. I believe tv is not only spoiling childrens character but also distancing families, parents watch tv or use their phones, instead of interacting with their kids and then when the children are older they prefer to spend their time with tv or computers.
    Kids grow up with a strange sense of what is real,the things they see on tv are there to entertain and be shocking, so you keep watching, which is good for advertising, it is NOT the real world,everyone does not behave like that.

    Technology is wonderful and here to stay,but don't let it stop your family from Living life.

    Something for us all to think about.
    "If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem"

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    1. I agree, excellent comment.
      I wish to God reality TV would go away here in the States, but it seems the more screwed up you are or the more cash you have, people want to watch you. It is sad what is glorified in the media. From sex tapes, to violence to immodesty. At least if a program showed a healthy sexual relationship, it would be a good thing. But no, that would be decent. Instead we have to see relationships of any kind shown as petty with infighting, and unhealthy, devastating, hurtful effects. While I love a good dark show like "Breaking Bad", about a an with cancer who becomes a meth cook to help support his family when he dies and ends up really enjoying being in the drug business, I have the sense to understand the complexity of the show as well as remember it is a tv show. Not reality. I think the lack of family units, education and the push from the world around us demanding us to be famous and wealthy or you are worthless can drive anyone to the brink of something they never thought they could do. It needs to stop. Why can't what any of us has already be good enough and satisfying enough? More is not always better and violence is not always the answer. Sorry for the ramble, but your post really touched a nerve. I appreciate that so many in the community here agree that "We are better than this".

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    2. I agree, I think society is conforming to having children and putting them in care, having the tv and computer as baby sitters as we are 'so busy' or otherwise I can't get anything done, you know what that is part of being a parent. As a society we want everything and we want it now, I don't think we are prepared to give up some of our wants so we can tend to our children's needs. I think children are not getting the time and education from parents they need, I don't think anyone else can do the job as effectively. I think these children that are cared for by other means are growing up with a false sense of reality, with high emotional and stimulus needs, creating anxiety and other mental health concerns, I might sound dark but it does scare me, I worry for our safety, I worry for my baby and my two year old and wonder how they will fit in with what I see as a majority

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    3. To some degree I agree about television but again it's about parent control. I am one of those people who needs the background noise and movement of the TV. I now have a 2 year old who I have unfortunately passed it into, but I make sure I monitor what is on at all times, just because it is a cartoon doesn't cut it in this , it needs to be reasonably educational, non violent abusive proper language in it.

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  25. Sadly, I don't think our politicians are going to be able to do much about the lack of morality and sense of right and wrong. This is family responsibility and apart from a return to Judeo-Christian ethics (if not Christian commitment), I'm not sure families have the resources to deal with this. Once the horse got out of the barn (families) the havoc in society is so wide-spread that I'm not sure how to regain it on a large- scale basis....That's MY opinion. And I think you are right to address it.

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  26. As a mother, I am saddened to the heart when I read of children being taken, bodies not found, children killed for what...? Children...the thing that as a society we are meant to hold the closest to us, to protect...just lately I have been reading alot of things going on, and I just cant understand why the people responsible for them, when found out are not pressured some way to admit the place where they have taken these peoples bodies...it confuses me and frustrates me and makes me think that the world we live in legally, something has gone very wrong...very wrong.............where are the rights of the victims here....it seems that a crime is able to be done for limited penalty and there the problem lies I feel.....if there were harsher penalties for crimes then I am sure that it would decrease.....it scares me, that if anything ever happened to my family then we would have no rights and no justice.....that is something that I see happening over the years and people are just living with it as if that is how it will have to be....my heart goes out to all the parents and family of loved ones, especially those little children that the police are willing to say " their bodies will never be found"...

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  27. Thank you for writing this post.
    Many shows on television will teach you how to commit a crime. You can learn this behaviour with pictures, words, and music. It is a pleasurable experience. There are not many shows about how to be a good person or how to behave ethically.
    In our schools there is a program called TRIBES that teaches children that they are special and can do whatever they like. I am an education professional and I have seen this happen over the past ten years. The less secure students definitely fall into the worst habits under this program.
    The young violent offenders have not only watched TV and video games but have also been taught to be irresponsible by our society.
    Parents and family members really do have to step up to the plate and do something for the young children before our lives gets a lot worse. One person alone can not make enough of a difference, but as a group we can.

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  28. For me, it all seemed to change with the murder of that beautiful little school girl up near you, Rhonda. The media coverage that was given was just appalling and I recall being absolutely horrified. To my mind, that was the start of desensitizing us to violence. The media continues to give unnecessary detail in reporting violent crimes and when violent films are offered up as entertainment, it is not surprising that violence becomes OK.

    I also think that we are not teaching our kids self-respect and if there is no self-respect, there will never be respect for others. I have involvement with disadvantaged kids and some of their stories would curl your hair. The ones I work with are trying, against all odds, to make their life better.

    I am also involved in an eisteddfod and we find it difficult to get publicity for it in our local paper, but there is always room on the front page to show vandalism, or robbery or other crimes. Never enough room to show an extremely talented youngster who works hard and has amazing self-discipline. Grrrrr.....don't get me started!

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  29. Good post! I am seeing more animal abuse. I say we need to stand up for those that can not speak too. I want tougher punishment for those offender.
    I also think parents need to teach children how to be gentle and respectful to animals when the children are young. I see to many people getting pets only to give them away later saying they don't have time for them. I find when they respect animals when they were little they respect people better as adults.

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  30. I highly recommend The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle to anyone interested in why we're so violent. It is quite provocative to say the least. Will Tuttle is utterly brilliant!

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  31. My children disliked me with intensity when I limited access to computer for gaming etc. They also were not allowed to watch certain shows and video games were another no no. The girls dislike the cleaning chores associated with their kitten but everything has a down side and loving something is a commitment not a fancy.

    Unfortunately my eldest has problems and has shown violent behaviour. Proudly I gave him a party for turning 21 last week. We went to a very nice restaurant and had a lovely meal with his important people. He grinned and stood tall as a young man on the brink. He has ridden through some tough tough times and now has an apprenticeship and is developing into a gentleman. Parenting him and my youngest has been much more difficult than I every expected. Not everyone is blessed with a dream child and it is our job as parents to guide them.

    I honestly believe we need to toughen a little. The children can and do dreadful things and there are only minor consequences. So too with some of the crimes committed by those who are older. I do not advocate death penalties but a violent crime should be punished and sometimes society needs to set an example. For instance I have had a protection order. It was ignored repeatedly. My ex knew when to avoid court etc. I have suffered more than he. We need to band together and say this is not acceptable and mean it.

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  32. It has bewildered me for years as to why any channel on any given night of the week has one (if not more) police murder shows on it. Who watches this stuff? I believe these shows desensitise viewers to violence and crime AND fuels the unstable lunatics out there. And news reports can be just as guilty of showing inappropriate material just to get a rise out of people, I'm not against the news reporting on unsavory world events, we need to know what's going on, but often times the imagery is simply not necessary, especially as there are often young children in the room when the news is on...I have often turned it off as a result of some images.

    I too worry about social future, there is a whole generation of kids out there who percieve swearing as normal and acceptable behaviour, they have no respect or regard for others around them. What's the next step?? Break and enter...normal...bashings...normal...murder...

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  33. I totally agree with you Rhonda. And may I add that we need to take a good look at what foods are being fed to our children as I am sure that has an effect as well and certainly eating from the industrial agrilture can only add to the problem. We have also shut our eyes and ears to the suffering of animals.

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  34. I made the comment recently to a friend that most Australian TV series and films these days are filled with bad language and endless violence, and they pump them out the pipeline, one after another. Is this what we really find entertaining? I'm not surprised that poor manners, disrespect and senseless violence is reciprocated into real life when that is what seems to be in demand.
    ~S.

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  35. We are seeing an increase in domestic violence and animal abuse here in the U.S. I truly believe it is because people's hearts have turned from God. Religion has been removed from our schools and children are no longer reading primers that have faith based stories and teachings. No one is teaching them that anything is wrong. Every man does what is right in his own eyes. My father's generation grew up with the McGuffy readers which were faith based, but did not teach any particular doctrine. Children were taught at school right from wrong, even if their families were not religious. I think we are reaping what we have sowed. Leaving everyone to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. The internet hasn't helped either--perverts can find any kind of filth to fill their depraved minds.

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    1. Exactly, regardless if you are religious or not, what has happened to manners and being taught right from wrong? It is like some people had kids, but do not want the difficult job of having to actually raise them into decent human beings. I also think too many reality shows glorifying horrific behavior and ignorance is too plentiful here in the US, I can't speak for elsewhere, and it needs to stop now.

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  36. I substitute in our local schools. I see this behavior a lot. But I do believe one person can make a difference. In study hall I DO NOT accept vulgar language. It is always corrected. If they take my Lords name in vain , I say "He is listening, what did you want to say to Him" Those have stopped completely. When last years graduating seniors got ready to leave for college 4 young men came to my house and gave me hugs and thanks for everything. Which I thought was remarkable for a sub.
    But I held everyone to high standards in that room . I told students that I had not put up with nonsense from my own two ,and I wouldn't put up with it from them!
    At first I was tested , but when the kids found I was fair and firm with everyone- no favorites- it was all good and I was respected. Thank you for this post because I do believe we are better than this!

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Oh, that there were more like you in our schools!

      Great post Rhonda, and may we all do our utmost to provide a good example in our local community.

      Lyn in Northern New South Wales.

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  37. About a week ago, not too far from my home, a young girl was abducted on her way to school. Her dismembered body was just found in a nearby open space park. It's completely horrific that someone could do this to anyone, most of all a child. I've often wondered if times really are worse now, or if these tragedies just get reported more than they used to? Many people of the older generation, though, seem to think the world really is a more dangerous place these days, and I also feel that's true. I'm not completely convinced that violent video games, for example, directly lead to violent behavior, but I do believe it fosters someone who is predisposed to violence. And I do believe, "garbage in=garbage out."

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    1. I was similarly horrified by the Jessica Ridgeway murder - couldn't sleep last night for thinking about it. At the same time, I think you're on to something when you say that crimes are being more widely publicized these days. According to Wikipedia, the violent crime rate in 2009 (last year that they had statistics for) was roughly equivalent to the rate in 1968 - although it did go up and come back down between.

      I tend to believe that both the media and the politicians play on the fears of the public for their own benefit. It makes me soooo sad that kids are virtual prisoners in their homes these days because parents are too scared to let them out of their sight. As a "latch-key kid" I enjoyed freedoms that are almost unheard of these days. I know we're not creatures of logic, but I think it's probably safe to say that obesity & inactivity are bigger threats to our children than crime.

      I'm not saying that we should be complacent about violence, and I must admit that I shudder when I see ads for those "shoot 'em up, kill 'em up" video games - I'm just not sure what the answer is. I do find it very interesting that the violent crime rate in the US is highest in the southern states. My personal belief is that societies where people are very emotionally repressed tend to breed violence. I have no evidence for that, it's just how it seems to me.

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    2. I was a latch key kid too and think it is sad that no one can feel that safe today.
      While I do believe that video games & crime shows are not always at the root of violence, I will say that I think some of reality shows are. At least on Law & Order, someone usually get caught. On some reality shows, appalling behavior is rewarded with more air time, magazine covers, fragrance deals, book deals, etc. This is the world we have allowed to flourish and it is offensive and scary.
      As for repressed emotions, man did you hit that nail on the head for some cases I am sure!

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    3. Well... I can't comment intelligently on the "reality" shows because I've never watched one. I just can't wrap my brain around why someone would want to waste their time on such drivel. If this is "reality" then I think we're in serious trouble! :-)

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  38. Interesting post and comments. I know this isn't what you were saying Rhonda, though some of the comments have alluded to it. I think a very powerful thing to do is to respect the younger generation, not just paint them with the brush of all being immoral or violent. I remember at high school, one teacher really seemed to have it in for me. He watched me constantly, always pulling up any thing I did wrong. He never encouraged me when I did the right thing. And you know what? No matter how hard I tried I still managed to do the wrong thing. I gave up in the end because there was no encouragement, no reward for doing the right thing. If you look for the bad in people, you will see it. And encourage it. If you give them positive feedback or even very direct requests, I think you will be amazed at their response. For example, I was travelling on the train with my baby in a stroller. I asked a couple of fierce looking young men if they would mind helping me off the train. Instantly their macho stance disappeared and they helped me willingly.

    I know this doesn't address the violence but I do also feel that if we don't show younger people respect they are unlikely to respect us.

    Eliza

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  39. I should clarify when I say I did the "wrong" thing, that was talking in class or being late. Not being rude, smoking or anything.
    Eliza

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  40. What a thought provoking post! All the things you mentioned contribute to the worsening society in which we live. Could this be a part of the puzzle too? I read an article this evening that wondered aloud if we aren't seeing a return to the days of malnourishment and pellagra that were prevalent in the American South 80 years ago, and the brooding, irrational violence that accompanied it. I'm not sure what to make of it. Could a diet of fast food and over-processed snack "food" plus diet soda really be so devoid of nutrients as to cause something like that, and exacerbate the problem?
    Lorna

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    1. This is a very interesting idea.
      JillN, Laidley

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    2. That is a very interesting thought. I live in the American south, too. It is not only the poor who are malnourished these days. A niece whose husband is an attorney and can afford good food feeds her family a lot of junk and processed foods and her children are medicated and out of control. Use of the microwave to cook food could also be a culprit since it kills the nutrients and enzymes in food.

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  41. So true! My mother also talks of Sydney being a far safer place back in the 70's. We moved from an area (and it was an average type of family suburb) where it wasn't uncommon to look out the window and see a car alight or being stolen. The country is better, but we've seen crime rates rise here in the past year or so. The violence is scary. I firmly believe it has everything to do with parenting, and allowing kids to watch violent games and shows has to be harmful and desensitizing. Thank you for tackling the difficult issues Rhonda.

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  42. Hello Rhonda,
    I also agree with you that we as a society are to blame for the way children are these days,after all children are a reflection of their parents aren't they? I totally agree that much to often most but not all children are exposed to violence such as the trashy, violent video games that they are allowed to play while the parents are either too busy or couldn't be bothered with to make time to spend with their children.But in saying all of this,violence is ALSO being promoted to our children by the very people we're made to have faith in and leave our children with everyday of the week and that is our teachers! You're proberly wondering why I would write such a thing? Well let me tell you, last Thursday my daughter who is almost 11yrs old and in the 5th grade was recommended and encouraged to buy a book from book club called Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins,now I have always encouraged my daughter to read, long before she started school and over the years I have bought her many books suitable for her age group,but when I did a wikipedia serch for this book Hunger Games I was totaly appalled by the violence of this book. Not only does it promote violence but also murder,alcholism,and worse of all suicide.I was so angry with my daughters teacher how could she recommend a book like that to an 11year old. When my daughter went back to school the next day she told her teacher that she wouldn't be buying the book due to the fact that I was quite upset by what I had discovered about it, and the teacher's reply was "Oh what a shame and I'm sorry if I upset your Mum,I only wanted you to read something a little deeper as you are such a good reader".I couldn't believe that a taecher would say that and if things like this are happening in primary school I dread to think what they will be teaching in high school!
    Things are so different now since I was at school!

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    1. Woah! The book doesn't "promote" those things! It illustrates how destructive they are through the experiences of a strong independent woman. It's actually a very good book and aimed at young adult readers / teen fiction. If you felt it was inappropriate for your child that is your call but you are way out of line in accusing your daughter's teacher of promoting violence! There's way more violence in the Bible and of course other books aimed at that age group e.g. Lord of the Rings etc. I'd give the teacher a break and be thankful she took such an interest in your daughters reading and encouraged her to push her abilities whilst steering her clear of sexist tripe like Twilight. This attitude is one of the reasons I left teaching!

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    2. You raise an interesting point Anonymous. Violence in education materials. To be honest, I wouldn't much like a world where violence, sexualism and other provocative topics were censored. But I do think there is a time and place, and people need to go appreciate these topics with a certain degree of maturity.

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    3. Don't stress Anonymous, it does not promote violence. Like other banned books before it, it actually makes the reader think and learn about choices and the lead character is a strong female. Perhaps you should speak to a librarian about the book or read reviews on young adult novel websites. After gleaning this info, if you still feel your daughter is too young to read it at this time at least you will have made an informed decision.

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    4. Perspective.........how people process, store, and retrieve information and how this information is used to reason and solve problems. If you are concerned about this book - read it with your daughter and explain the events in your perspective, so there is no misunderstandings.

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  43. I agree Rhonda and its so disturbing the crimes that are committed. This society has so much evil to contend with and a lot of it is on the tv I think. So many tv shows glorify murder/crime and how it was committed, and I'm sure many people watch it and ponder on it and act on it. I think the media has a lot to answer for, what is allowable on tv to be watched is in my mind, quite despicable.

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  44. Hi Rhonda,
    I agree with you, violent video games and extreme violent movies can really motivated and influenced people towards violent acts and crimes. sad but true, pirated blue rated film too contributed to the increment of sexual related crimes as in our country, Malaysia where one can find this easily sold in the night markets.

    Grace is what we need and God's intervention..

    Regards,
    Priz

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  45. Question, Rhonda: The chickens that you used to teach your "sons gentleness, responsibility, respect and trust", did you also use them as a lesson in the slaughtering of animals for sustenance? I do hope not, as I think that implies the same double standard we see in the supporting arguments of violent computer games and the like. It's a confusing message. One version of a phenomenon is okay, but the other version is not.

    This post is most timely and very important.

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    1. Paul, we used the chickens for lessons in how to handle eggs from nest to basket to house. We also taught responsibility in providing clean water every day and in monitoring the feed hopper. We talked with them about our respect for the birds for giving us fresh eggs and the trust they had in us to provide a safe home and food for them.

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    2. Ah, glad to hear it.

      It really upsets me when folks bring their children up with certain animals only to slaughter them at the end, and call it some sort of "life lesson". After the child has named the animal and learned to love it.

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  46. our children were raised to listen to advice, have respect for themselves, their home & possessions, their family etc. in fact for all & everything, to think how someone else may be feeling, be responsible for & accept the consequences of their actions. They were disciplined when necessary & praised when indicated, I thought that as parents it was our responsibility to them. Our children are adults now, one with a family of her own, & i could not be more proud of them, BUT their upbringing was our responsibility as parents, not the teachers, deb m

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  47. Hi
    I don't normally write on blogs although I do read them most days over my cup of tea. I just wanted to say that it is not all bad. Yesterday I accompanied my son to London to collect a certificate. My son is sixteen years old and was one of 9000 other sixteen year olds here in the uk who took part in "the challenge" . The challenge involved those children to give up three weeks of their summer holidays and four weekends afterwards . They spent that time helping others and learning lots in the process. They spent time helping out in a care centre for the elderly, visiting a mental health charity, publicly speaking to councillors to get them to give money for various projects in their community, raising money themselves for charity, putting on an event for their local community and promoting various events for the local community. I was very proud of him. The children that took part in this have become really good friends and have used social media to keep in touch and meet up. My son has really opened up his eyes to the problems of this world and is trying to do something about it. Many of the children that went to collect their certificates also signed up for future community work in their area. Only 9000 children managed to take part this year but the organisers are hoping to increase that next year. If more projects like this were encouraged I am surethatthe world would be a better place. Often young people just need a bit of guidance and encouragement, I am sur that the majority of them have their heart in the right place. Us adults should show these children how to help others less fortunate and lead by example, unfortunately many do not. We should be blaming ourselves not the young people.

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    1. I am glad to read your comment. It is nice to read the GOOD things about young people all we hear is the bad things. Congratulations to your son and your family for teaching them what is important when they were young not try to start when they are in their teens.
      I see many young people these days where I am (Canada)and I am sure we are in good hands going into our senior years. I think it starts at home. If the roots are nurtured and cherished the tree will flourish and spread its branches to shade and comfort the world. I believe this, we just have to get more parents teaching the children thinking of giving back to society and not how to get all you can we would be fine. I think it is greed and thinking only of oneself that is the problem.
      Children do as they see not as they are told. Actions speak louder than words. More parents should remember that.
      Thank you to your son and others like him who are giving back unselfishly.I am pretty sure the good will win in the long run at least I hope. B

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  48. wow what a post, so much can be debated with this/these topics & yeh we do as a society have a real big problem out there.

    thanx again rhonda for a great post

    selina from kilkivan qld

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  49. Dear Rhonda,

    How very true. I do not have children but have a niece who seems to care about nothing and hurting people is just what you do. My nephew on the other hand avoids violence at all costs. I have seen generosity and love for fellow human beings being replaced with greed and the I must have no matter what the cost. Living simply and giving and loving stands as a beacon to a world which thinks that violence, hate and revenge are the norm. Antoinette

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  50. It is no different here in the US. After a local woman was raped and murdered while out running in a good area of town our sheriff asked all the women in our county to get a concealed weapons permit and carry a gun. I have not done so yet but the number of applications for permits to carry a gun went from about 30 per month to over 300. My 24 year old son has been really encouraging me to do this. Violent crimes seem to be dropping in our county because the citizen is being backed by the law to protect themselves.

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    1. You bet it is no different in the U.S. In fact, I think it is worse.

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  51. What a wonderful, thought provoking post. I grew up in a gentler time, too, when it was safe for a little girl to wander about the city and come home in one piece. Not now, not today. I'm going to reference this post in my blog and write along the same lines... thank you for prodding us all.

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  52. I have to say that I disagree about the connection between exposure to violent films/games/books and increasing violence levels.

    Fiction will never match the atrocities of our own human history. Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, walking around the huts and the barbed wire and the guard towers, or watching some of the footage filmed after the liberation of this and other camps, is a far more invasive and disturbing experience than reading a novel or playing a video game. But without acknowledging what happened, without acknowledging human ability to commit such horrendous crimes on one another, we would not be able to discuss how to prevent such a thing from happening again, how to identify warning signs, how to help victims recover as far as they can. This we have not done enough, because it has happened since and no doubt will again.

    I would argue that rather than stopping the exposure of young people to violence, we need to be given the tools to develop a considered, adult response to violence.

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  53. we teach our children that causing misery and committing murder is ok on one level and then wonder why we end up with an uncivilised society. Take a look inside any factory farm and any slaughter house and you'll see what our society is based on. We get the society that we deserve, if we accept that it's ok to treat other sentient beings with such contempt - abusing their basic right to life - just because we're more powerful than them or because we've created a system of laws which says we have the right to do this because they're different from us then I'm afraid we'll get exactly what we've got - a society where the strong or opportunist prey on those who are less strong.

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  54. I have thought the very same thing. I think we as citizens should write and show our abhorence of shows with so much violence and violent sex and not watch or support these programs. Some people must think these shows and games are "progress". How are they progress?? I totally agree with you Rhonda and it is past time for citizens to band together and speak out and do something about it!

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  55. A very thought provoking post, Rhonda. I loved the part about buying the boys chickens to care for and I think things like this are part of the key. Teaching a child to care for and love something builds a foundation that will be with them always and with animals , the love they get back is unconditional. Many of the parents who live in city apartments that come to the farm stay are amazed that all their children want to do is sit in the guinea pig area for hours and hold and stroke the guinea pigs and talk to them. Children are programmed to love from the moment they are born and it is up to us as parents to give them opportunities to express this through interactions with animals, and our own positive interactions with each other.
    We do not allow violent computer games in our home and we do not allow violent movies in our home. Our children are now 12 and 14 and have not suffered from having never seen one. They are loving , caring individuals and I am so very very proud of who they are and who they will be.
    I am so grateful that many people I know raise their children just like this and that even though society has its downsides .... the upside will always, always prevail.

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  56. I grew up in a city, not a large city but a city none-the-less. I was a teen during the mid and late 70s. I felt safe any where I went. I walked or bused every where I went,even later at night after football games without a worry. In my early 20s I moved to a small town about 15 miles south and loved it so much I stayed. Recently, I had reason to go into the city where I grew up, I too blogged about. The areas I had felt safe even into the early 90s were now run down, over run with crime, bars on windows which no where had that before. People didn't come outside, kids weren't even out. It was a gloriously beautiful day, but not a soul in sight unless they were in a car.

    I too blame myself. I left and didn't look back. So did most of the people I grew up with and went to school with.

    I didn't do any thing about it when I began to hear about the trouble starting and then getting out of hand. There are no easy answers, and in some of those neighborhoods it would take someone with a lot of guts to go in there and show the people living there that there is another way, a way it used to be and to try and find that spark in them to want to take their city back.

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  57. You are so right, Rhonda. I try to do what I can, but often worry its not enough because I mostly just try to live as an example. Its hard to know what is the right thing to do. Living as a good example is all good, but I wish I knew how to reach more people than those I interact with. I don't want to be seen a pushy or trying to tell others how to live, but its hard when the world is going this way. Perhaps you're right about just talking about it more with friends, family, politicians, whomever.

    And to the newspapers. I wish they reported on all the good in this world, too, and not just all the crime and violence. I think it is helping perpetuate the cycle in a variety of ways.

    Good, thought provoking post Rhonda.

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  58. Yes I agree with you Rhonda that we as a society need to speak up about the horrors going on around us. I was heartened recently by the showing of love at the loss of Jill Maher in Melbourne. The rally that followed with over 10,000 people showed we want to take back the streets and that violence is not welcome. But then a friend of mine says she is sick of all the attention Jill got and what about all the other victims, they didn't get much of a mention. I felt sad at that comment. If you get a chance have a look at Ruby Wax on mental illness on you tube. I think she hits the nail on the head about all this and makes you laugh too.

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  59. I agree, we should definitely be doing more to fight against these violent times. Perhaps this is a bit controversial, but I believe the breakdown of society started with the breakdown of the family. Everyone has their own needs and circumstances, but generally speaking, I believe the mother should be home to raise her children, homeschool if possible, and do more to stand up for their faith. The disintegration of the traditional nuclear family and the lack of moral and religious education is what got us into trouble. Too many parents let the public school system teach their children the important values, and that is just wrong. Public school is there for people who need it- it shouldn't be considered the norm and it shouldn't be held responsible for bringing up our children because we're too busy with our own selfish obligations.

    I'll get down off my soapbox now. :)

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  60. This subject scares me, as I can read in here it does many others. Yes our world has changed. Not for the better. I lived in Sydney too in my teens and late childhood and I was allowed to wander the parks and beaches and the city alone and with my friends. Yeah sure things happened but not like today. Alcohol attitudes have changed too and I set blame with that also.
    Just wondering though. Has there ever been a comparison of crimes committed to 40 yrs? ago and today in relation to population sats?

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  61. I do agree, we DO all share some responsibility as we live in the society that we (along with others before us) have made. It is no good blaming the children as it is us - the parents and grandparents that created the existing values etc that we expect children to live along side. Children are the same as they ever were, it is adults who have changed. What you put in, is what comes out. You do have to teach empathy, kindness and tolerance to our children. Some are more that way inclined than others but you can get all children thinking about such things. All children do NOT know right from wrong. Many children do not live in a world where they are treated well,so they have no good example to follow nor an understanding of why they should be kind and well behaved people. School does little to help as many teachers come down to a level of the lowest common denominator instead of teaching children to aim high in all respects - not just academically.

    In the UK at the moment we have the case of Jimmy Savile who has died while leaving a huge scale of sex crimes behind him. We now know that his criminality was no secret, yet no one acted in a way that might have stopped him. In is no good apportioning blame, would any of us have blown the whistle? We like to think we would but we would probably be wrong. We all live in the same world after all - one which is indifferent to suffering. As as often been said, evil triumphs when good people stand by and do nothing.

    I agree 100% with the chicken thing and teaching your boys to care.People are so vague about such things yet are the first to complain about bullying behaviour. We need to teach our children about all of these things. It is true there is nothing inherently special about girls but rather that their 'gentleness' was a part of their socialisation in the past. I wouldn't want to go back to the vast inequality of women's lives but I don't see why our behaviour has to become literally beastly in order to make other gains in society.

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  62. I do agree. I don't let my eight year old son play violent video games or watch movies like Transformers for this reason. I do think seeing a lot of violence at an early age has an impact. It seems no one around me agrees, and they all take their five year old boys to the latest PG-13 action movies and allow shooting video games, but I feel very strongly about this. I also have a zero tolerance policy towards my kids being nasty to each other. They get strong punishment immediately.

    My son is not perfect, but he is a sensitive person and has never hit or been violent with his four year old sister. Most siblings I know hit each other a lot so I think my approach is working.

    Jen

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  63. Pretty scary stuff.

    I do remember when I was younger that we needed to be on the look out for bad men, the description given for a bad man was unshaven and they usually carried a bag (full of apparitis for criminal activity, of course). I know this came from the media, television or radio not sure which.

    We had a lot more freedom than our kids have, we'd be away from home for hours (often doing things we were forbidden to do, such as playing in the bush where there were motorbike trails, we always hid when we heard one coming our way). We always walked home from school, caught trains to go shopping and at 17 I traveled an hour each day to work at North Sydney.

    A couple of years ago I mentioned to my Father that I had been into the city and decided to walk to Elizabeth Bay House. He panicked, telling me that it was much too dangerous to be walking strange streets and suburbs, I'm in my 40's.





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