Buttercross, November 7, 2014

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Many of us older folk, who were parents in earlier days, are no doubt concerned at what is happening to some youngsters these days.

Time was when most parents took great care, and pride, in the way their children were brought up. It was considered that every passing phase was cherished and nurtured, not necessarily in material things, but just love and attention. These were times not to be repeated and it was important to make the most of them.

The result of all this, in most cases, was the development of a youngster, approaching teenage years, as a well rounded and confident young person with a sense of worth and who could push on into the world to be the best they could be.

So where are we now in some homes? Well, not in a good place. When some youngsters starting play school, and even primary school, are not toilet trained, need to attend a school breakfast club in order to get a decent start to the day, or need a teacher to supervise adequate teeth cleaning, things are badly wrong.

“Self help” training is expected in some cases at an unreasonably early age and is bound to either fail or be inadequate and not a confidence builder. The upshot of this is that dedicated school teachers and support staff are being given jobs that some parents are failing to carry out.

This was never thus not that long ago, in times when both parents also worked a full day and money was also short, reasons that are given for such failings today. Some schools appear to be under ever increasing pressure over the standard of learning and it is small wonder.

It was not that long ago that it was unheard of to take a child out of school in term time to go on holiday. The time given to learning was sacrosanct and was not to be interfered with easily.

I remember, many moons ago, when my father approached the head of our school to get permission for me to miss Saturday morning classes, (yes, they did exist), to see Norwich City play Liverpool in the FA Cup. It was a surprise that permission was given, as a “one off” as a nod in the direction of my own dedication on the school’s sports field. Norwich lost the game 3-1.

But my efforts thereafter, with all my school work, were redoubled. I felt appreciated. Today’s youngsters are rushed and become young adults far too early without being fully developed mentally.

We are seeing evidence of what effect this has on society even now in certain areas and it is worrying. Our authorities are challenged regularly by some young people and it is expensive for all of us.

Undoubtedly parents are mostly responsible and have to be guided along a more beneficial route, a route better for all of us. How that can be achieved is a major problem, but, until it is, we continue as we are or matters might get even worse.