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Saturday, 3 April 2010

Where are we going?

One of the other (U.K.) news items today concerned the growing influence of students in Secondary Schools in England. Right away, I have to correct something - those who attend a College or University (tertiary education) are students. For those attending either Primary or Secondary School, the appropriate term is 'pupil(s)'.

The allegations that have apparently been made at the annual Conference of one of the major Teachers' Unions in England is that pupils are not only involved in feedback - something which I support, and which I encouraged while I was in the teaching profession - but that they are being involved in such activities as reporting on teachers, and in interviewing applicants for positions in their schools! Apparently, one teacher was appointed because pupils liked her red shoes; while another was rejected because a pupil thought that he looked like Humpty Dumpty!

For me, this simply supports my personal contention that we should not be granting voting rights to sixteen-year-olds, as some would advocate. These children (and, in reality, that is what they still are) are simply not mature enough, and do not (understandably!) have sufficient experience of life, to be involved in such important decisions - ones that affect the lives of other people.

For far too long, British society at large (I am not able to speak for other nations) has whittled away at the relative innocence of children; has tried to turn them into miniature adults when they are barely out of nappies (diapers); and has handed over more and more of parental responsibility to the state, in the form of pre-nursery places. It is, surely, little wonder that we have produced a generation which has so many who have little/no respect for authority of any kind;are totally hedonistic in outlook; and expect everything to be handed to them on the proverbial plate!

There is still a lot to be said for the injunction of Paul, as he wrote to the early disciple of Jesus, living in Ephesus: "
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. "Honour your father and mother." This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: If you honour your father and mother, "you will live a long life, full of blessing." And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord" (Eph.6:1-4).

It's when we fail to take note of the Maker's Handbook, that things go wrong!

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