Is a Regulated Society a Healthy Society
Recently I was lucky enough to travel to Europe for the first time. A cultural delight to my senses; there were beautiful ancient buildings to explore, masterpieces of art to behold, tantalizing cuisines to enjoy, folk music to tap to and gorgeous landscapes to traverse. As many of you have discovered, this part of the world is rich in history, its people allowing in the modern world, more so by osmosis than desire to change. Idealistic you might say, but European counties rely on the mighty tourism dollar and this still drives modern life. One thing that I noticed while in Europe was that, life in general seemed less regulated. Traffic in many European countries was mostly organised chaos; there seemed little adherence to road rules, many bike riders had no helmets, car parking was frequently on footpaths end to end with no space to get out. Bus drivers thought nothing of reversing down narrow hilly streets to allow cars to get through. And if you did happen to hit a car and could still drive you just drove on. People smoked in outside cafes and sometime inside. Dogs were allowed in pubs and were given refreshment like their owners. Lateness was tolerated with less emphasis on time. It was refreshing to say the least, because people just got on with whatever they needed to do, without the constant need to check whether it was allowed or not. I witnessed communities given the right to voice their opinion on the streets as well as to vote in the political process. Now, I am not naive to think that corruption was not rife in some of these countries, but this sadly is indicative of many institutions either in rich or poor countries including Australia. This has got me thinking of how children are raised in less regulated societies.
Here now in Australia parents are forced into the ‘regulation round up’ where many thinking adults cannot question the mainstream without fear of exclusion into childcare, fines or Centerlink cut off. If you question immunisation for your child you fear being labelled as a child abuser. Teaching your young adult to drive requires you to mortgage your house. Where revenue raising appears more important than driver safety. Don’t get me started on how corrupt the driver education system is. Far be it for me to be whinging, as Australian culture does not accept it, but shouldn’t common sense prevail. Are we losing the right to whinge or to voice our opinion on how our children should be raised? Societal norms should be the safety net for children and families rather the dictatorship and fines. Shouldn’t we be teaching our children how rules and laws are here to benefit the society as a whole not exclusive to certain sections of a society. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a more regulated society keeps children in check, as children just learn how to get around the rules. My husband works in IT at numerous primary schools and children think nothing of trying to hack the school computer systems.
I think children are our future and are worth giving time to and having passionate discussions, and debates about how to guide them safely into their future, where all can reach their potential. Far be it of me to sound like a politician. You may remember a famous Australian politician who promised more than he could deliver, and was strongly criticized for putting a time limit on a similar statement. Children will be children and as to them being ‘happy’ along the way, I read a fascinating article on how and why this is not practical or possible. I’ll leave it there for you to ponder on that thought. Meredith Harvey