Posted by: njs44 | December 9, 2009

Flying High

A phrase leapt out at me when I read Chris Arnot’s article in today’s Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/dec/09/nacro-flying-youth-project about young offenders being helped by having gliding lessons. Eric Ward, the man behind the scheme said “A lot of these kids aren’t stupid. They’ve simply had no parameters in which to operate.” We need parameters, or boundaries, to help us achieve things. The phrase conjures up images of parents guiding their children rather than pushing them. So often I hear of parents who either ignore their children completely, and allow them to run wild, or are the opposite, those who rigidly regiment every moment of their day. ‘Parameters’ sound better than having strict rules and as a parent I never managed to impose any rules on my children most of the time they were growing up. My daughters tell me that I got it right, but I am at a loss to know what I did right that other parents do wrong. Perhaps the cards are stacked against some because of poverty, or their own poor experiences of parenting. Whatever the reason, these kids having gliding lessons are at last getting an experience of success, of achievement, of exceeding expectations, instead of becoming the self-fulfilling prophecy of disaffected youth.

I expected there are some who think that young offenders should be punished, not given gliding lessons. My own view is they may have already been punished by being given inadequate role models, no sense of self-worth, no pride in achievements so far in their young lives. Surely every child needs to do something that they can feel proud about. And if opportunities to do so have never come their way before it is easy to see why they turn to crime. Perhaps they feel a sense of achievement from having carried out and got away with some act of vandalism, or theft or whatever takes their fancy. Maybe they feel they belong to a fraternity, the criminal fraternity, when they never felt they belonged anywhere else. There are always reason why people do the things they do.

Whatever, I am glad that the gliding lessons are helping some and wish success to the project in the future.

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