‘Upheaval’ by Toni Scott

Published September 30, 2011 by Gail Norris in Articles, Parish Magazine

Fraudulent expense claims, phone tapping, riots, civil unrest, demonstrations – and August is supposed to be the “Silly Season” when nothing much happens!

It seems that, however much the organisers intend to demonstrate peacefully, too often a group of people join in (Rent-a-Mob?) with the intention of making trouble. In fact, on the radio recently I heard someone saying that, as a teenager, she and her friends went on CND marches “because they were fun.” She admitted that they none of them had the slightest interest in nuclear disarmament. It turns out that at the riots in August three-quarters of the adults arrested already had a criminal record.

So what is the solution? We pride ourselves on freedom of speech and it is perfectly legal to demonstrate, but this should be in an orderly fashion. In August, it was frightening to see children as young as eleven or twelve breaking shop windows and thieving. So much of the damage resulted in normal, hard-working people losing both their livelihoods and their homes. What does this say about our society in the future?

As a child I was taught, as were most of my generation, to “…in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt.7:12). This applies however angry you may be and even if you think they deserve it.

Nobody likes the cuts in public spending, but we have to try to see the broader picture. Without these cuts, we could soon be in the same situation as Greece, the Republic of Ireland or Spain who have either had, or been threatened with enormous cuts imposed by the IMF as a condition of financial help.

Much has been said about disaffected young people but this is nothing new. We were warned of it some thirty years ago when family breakdown was becoming rife. Too many children were being brought up without a man in their lives. In most cases, their mothers manage very well and produce well-balanced and well-behaved adults. One divorcée I knew told me when she remarried that her new husband was a considerably better father to her two children than their natural father had been. Sadly, this isn’t always the case and new partners can be anything but good role models. They may resent being expected to care for some other man’s offspring. This can result in the children being abused physically or verbally, feeling unwanted and worthless and needing to express their anger against the society that has allowed this to happen.

When AID (artificial insemination by donor) became available to childless couples, the men who donated sperm didn’t want to be sued for maintenance by the children they had fathered, so their names were kept secret. I can see the dilemma. Personally, I believe that everyone has a right to know their parentage and something of their genetic background and I understand that there is a move to make it possible to get this information – presumably once the child has grown up.

Children need (and have a right) to be brought up in a secure, loving environment where they are accepted as a gift and sacred trust from God. Years pass quickly and we suddenly find that our cuddly babies have grown up and are able to take responsibility for their own lives and decisions. Parenting is working yourself out of a job.                                                    

Toni Scott