We are emotionally thrown from pillar to post in ways the human mind and spirit were never built for.

We are only barely keeping pace.


Last week I started an article based on some of the stuff that our kids are doing. Bad stuff. Stuff with cars. Stuff with drugs. Stuff with weapons. Stuff with technology. Stuff ups generally. Yet we Australians have become soft with our permissive society often finding excuses for bad behaviour.

Many of those institutions that are there to nurture and protect us are not doing their work. The offenders are schools, the law and families. The worst of all are in the latter category – our parents.

Parental upbringing starts at birth and is there through the formative years of our lives. But that nurturing and training has gone missing in an era which is going to test the best of us. Our parents are stuffing up as well with their heads buried in their iPhones or their offices. “No time,” is the catch phrase of their lives. No time to see what is going on.

What do the parents of today know about what is going on in their kids lives? What controls have they put in place over the time the kids spend “online” and what they are watching? Are they bullying? Are they sexting?

Imagine the grim tidings that awaited some Brighton Grammar parents when they learned their young darlings – the future leaders of our society – had created a vile Instagram account. The Age reported that,”the mother of one of the vilified 12 year-old girls did not blame the school for the incident, but held the boys’ parents responsible.” It was at this stage of writing early last week that I got distracted and before long my reflective thoughts headed elsewhere. New themes started to wash over me.

An old headline screamed, “Kids suffer from ‘digital dementia’.” Dr. Kristy Goodwin, a childrens’ expert and author, claimed that children were at risk of shorter attention spans and impaired language skills when they enter school because of the pervasive impact of digital technology. “They’re not developing their memory muscle.” Maybe it’s parenting again and technology. Are we going to hell in a hand basket?

Then the Pope stepped in. The Pontiff himself. Here he was in Poland telling “drowsy and dull” children to get off the sofa.

By now I was in a totally negative mood. Which of course I blamed on Donald Trump and his performance at the Republican Convention. He was talking to Americans but was reaching out to the world (even that was too small a market for The Donald!). He was fear mongering in a time when everybody’s mettle is being tested. It is classic Trump. He is a bully. His only policy is building a border wall, suspending immigration (in a nation that calls itself the Land of the Free), and generally painting a disturbing portrait of a troubled America. He is a crude, sexist, misogynistic, crass liar and has played on people’s worst fears. Time will bury him but in the meantime we have to live through his time.

I was heading to the Xanax. The Democratic Convention was a timely reminder that not all was lost. The quotes from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton started turning me around. Clinton, “when there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.” Obama, “the American Dream is something no wall will ever contain,” and, “we don’t fear the future, we shape it.”

Our problems didn’t seem so bad. I started turning my thoughts around and decided to come from a more positive place.

Parenting today is a massive area that must be resolved, but humans have that ability in their own hands. Technology is containable with discipline and rules (I noticed signs a couple of weeks ago disallowing usage of iPhones on the bullet trains in Japan). We continue to cut a swath into areas where people might smoke.

I will continue to decry problems we face in this modern world but always with an eye to a brighter future.

This is the best we all can do.