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Principal's Blog

2010 TERM 2


Burdening Children with Fears


I feel uneasy each time adults talk doom and gloom with children. I do not think that this is something that should be laid on them.


My thoughts and writings on education have for many years revolved around hope. I quite often feel that children are raised in an environment of too much fear and negativity. Two generations ago it was the Cold War and Nuclear Annihilation. A generation ago all human and animal life was going to be eliminated through cancer caused by our excessive exposure to solar radiation (the Ozone Layer Threat). Then we had AIDS, Ebola and other pandemics: SARS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu; these were interrupted briefly by Y2K and the Armageddon it would bring: global electricity shutdowns, planes falling from the sky, nuclear plants going into self-destruction. Then there was global meltdown, driven recently by greedy bankers, which has now been replaced by CO2. If we are looking for themes of doom, well, there will always be a spooky tale to tell. No, this does not make it the case that Nuclear Annihilation and the other threats of the last fifty years were not real threats, but that human effort, ingenuity and care overcame them. It is also possibly the case that these threats were over-stated by a fear-mongering media and political agitators.


I feel that it is wrong to burden children with these (real and imagined) fears. They are not their responsibility, and it is a burden that they cannot resolve. Retrospectively, they are generally an anti-climax.


Our hysterical or bad-news-loving world will undoubtedly raise new (and re-runs of old) alarming issues with our children and young adults, issues that they will at times bring to us. My feeling is that our response as parents should be to project the emotional position that things will be alright. This would have been the right response to all of our past fears concerning global disaster – so there is a good chance that this time we will work it out again. Don’t you agree?


Until the next explosion of fear!



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