Two weeks ago, in this very space, I read with interest Fran Bailey's comments about family values, a community's concern for its young and a new program she had discovered called 'How to drug proof your kids'. I've been reflecting for some months now on a way forward through the messy mazy which is leaving our young hopeless enough to live reckless lives and in too many cases to die as a result.
Granted, our society has not degraded to the level of Africa. In that country one in four will die of Aids. before long, they will lose a whole generation with disastrous consequences for their entire society. Infanticide is rife in China. Girl babies are abandoned for as little as a small birthmark on their bottoms. Orphanages are overflowing and one in three of these babies die before they reach twelve months.
With best intentions many work hard to protect and improve our community standards. Our papers and televisions are full of Drugs! Drugs! Drugs! Injecting rooms and the like. But what about the drug alcohol? When 'our' young turn to the excesses of alcohol, I wonder if we should stop to ask who showed them the way? Who modelled this lifestyle? I'm not a prude. I get my hands dirty and mix it with all levels of society. But staring me in the face is blatant incongruency.
We introduce our wonderful young kids into an under nine footy team to play a good sport and to grow up as fit young members of our society. What do they see around the boundaries on their first day? Parents, supporters and past players grasping that eternal can! A few weeks ago my son, who captains a suburban footy team, faced a fine if he didn't turn up to a club organised 'Alcohol Olympics'. Earlier this month another suburban club had a bye, so they organised a spa to drink in, starting at 10.00am - their normal match time!
We all sit up in shock when our young die in horrific car accidents as a result of alcohol and we ask: Why? How could it happen to these boys? I wonder why? Well, I'm challenged as I hope you are to work hard to reinstate home and family values and to raise the ethical standards in our community. Maybe you're doing your bit - keep it up! After all, this is the lucky country - isn't it?