Saturday, 16 August 2014

Nanny State #resilience #responsibility #ownership

Today, I spent the day doing a first-aid course. It was the usual of bandaging, CPR etc with a few new extras such as anaphylaxis and asthma treatment. The one feature of the course that really struck a chord with me today was the arse covering with what you could, or could not do, for fear of litigation. I am not advocating we take things into our own hands and pretend we are doctors, but how you can be sued, for simply trying to help someone, when they may very well perish without intervention, is beyond me! Why can't we be gracious enough to acknowledge the efforts of others and take some responsibility for ourselves.

This got me to thinking about how today, nobody wants to take responsibility for their own actions. It is always someone else's fault! Everyone wants the government to take responsibility for all sorts of things, from regulation of fast food through to all sorts of petty junk that governments have no business being involved in. I cannot believe in this country how readily people give up their rights and freedoms to some government regulatory body simply because they are too lazy, or lack the conviction, to take responsibility for themselves. We are giving away our freedom at an alarming rate and nobody seems to care. Nor do they realize, that every freedom we give up, requires a fee for an application, or a fine, for non-compliance! They simply provide government with another revenue stream, as fees and fines are simply another tax that we have to pay.

Today, we wrap our kids in cotton wool. We do not allow them to do anything that is not organized to the n'th degree. We have made them into fearful, anxious, little beings that have no idea that life is tough. God help them when they get to the tough bit because they have never known failure (We now call that dreaded 'fail' word - success deferred!!!!)  Success deferred???? What the hell does that mean? We do not allow them the freedom to be kids. To use their imagination, to run free and most of all just be! Through the freedoms of childhood come the scrapes and broken bones. But from these kids learn problem solving skills and resilience. They learn to improvise, compromise and most of all to look out for, and after, themselves.

My childhood, in a small country town, was one of long days of play where trees became pirate ships, the chook house, a hairdressing salon!  We left home to play just after breakfast and roared home just before dinner. We never went inside anyone's house to play, we were not allowed to ask for food and if we were thirsty, we had a drink out of the garden hose. We played through long hot summer days, of Cowboys and Indians, had billy cart races down long hills and made hopscotches in the gravel of the road. We went home with sheets of gravel rash, which we knew, would earn us a clip over the ear for overloading the billy cart. We learned to hook up backyard telephones, build cubbies out of galvanized iron and on occasions were known to cut down guinea grass with a Japanese sword that my father had souvenired from the Pacific in the Second World War! Did any of us die? Absolutely not! We learned life skills that have stood us in good stead for our entire lives.

We rode our bikes with the wind in our hair, we hung out of trees, flew around on hurdy gurdy's until we could not see straight, let alone stand up. We swam in creeks, played in long grass and we survived!! We looked out for each other. We learned to problem solve - even if it was only to get out of a hiding for lighting a fire in a paint tin and getting burnt. We learned to take responsibility for ourselves and not to blame others for our shortcomings.

I know we live in a very different world today where technology rules (Hey, I am blogging here!) but the rules for kids today should be the same. They should be made take ownership of their behaviour. Mum and Dad should not bail them out of every situation of their own making. This is how we learn from our mistakes, because anyone who has not made a mistake has not lived. This is how we end up with responsible adults. 

We need to tell government to get out of our lives, that we are able to take responsibility for our decisions and, as such, not expect the government to pick up the slack. It will be liberating in more ways than one! We will not have anywhere near the number of fees or fines and, once again children will know the freedom of unrestrained play - the wind in their hair, the dirt under their nails, the skin off their knees and most importantly, the sleep of the innocent.

When, we bring about this change, we will once again see a greater sense of community and have the freedom to get involved without the fear of being sued simply for trying to do the right thing. The Nanny State will have no place in our lives and metaphorically speaking everyone will feel the joy of the wind in their hair!

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