Monday, 7 July 2008

Why Knives?

The source of this problem amongst young people, and its solution is reached, I believe, by following a series of simple steps of logic.

Why do youngsters carry knives? It’s part of their gang culture, it makes them feel good.

Why is this? Aggressive gang culture has always been part of growing up – Romeo and Juliet. Young people find identity as they move from children to adults. Eventually one hopes they grow into free thinking adults with their own different personalities. Few of us get there.

Feeling good comes from activities that boost self-esteem..

The opportunities for children that don’t identify with ‘the system’ to gain this, come from the regard given them by their mates.

Schools and Families provide the culture, for many, of dissatisfaction with the system.

In Schools rather than encourage the fascinating voyage of discovery of how the world ticks, children are taught what they need to know. The teacher is at the helm when it could be the pupil. We all gain far more self-esteem if we make a discovery than if we are told. The emotional impact is vastly different.

Some Families harbour much anger and little contact with society as a whole - resentment abounds - it's always someone else's fault. The feeling of disadvantage is prominent – unaffordable housing, a rule bound and often corrupt society that ignores the views of the less articulate. A high level of depression and wish to escape through drugs - coffee, cigarettes, alcohol .. .. .. heroin

In Schools, education is at present back-to-front. The learner could be in charge of choosing the direction of the education voyage. We start life asking “Why?” but this is discouraged in most of teaching.

“Be quiet, and listen” , is the order of the day.

"You have SATS to pass" - Standard Assessment Tests at 10, 14 and at 16 -the dreaded 5 A-Cs at GCSE

With this environment those that remain curious and don’t choose to listen but want their own answers fail to get recognition by the exam system and fail to gain self-esteem. They abscond from 'the system' and truant where they find self-esteem on the street corner.

Here they seek it through status in peer groups. High status comes from being ‘hard’. To be hard – carry a knife.

Problem solution – Change the education system. A.S.Neill had the answer and founded Summerhill. The result is free thinking adults with self-esteem from finding out for themselves.

Emotionally damaged youths carry knives. Sadly, SATS encourage a back to front philosophy. Sadly,governments of the Thatcher and Blair era, try to regulate by passing laws rather than come alongside society and changing attitudes by mutual respect. Sadly, emotionally damaged kids become inadequate parents who avoid responsibility for the children they get as a result of their self-centred behaviour founded on poor self esteem.

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