Response-Ability

An excerpt from a recent story in the Australian about a World War 2 veteran who had just died began:

Alex McPherson’s father was killed when Alex was seven and his grief stricken mother immediately made him head of the household. That gave him a sense of responsibility that never left him Harriet Veith The Australian 21/3/09

This sense of responsibility is missing in so many young people now- why? Responsibility = response-ability = the ability to respond to particular situations.

Are we shielding our young people from the realities and responsiblities of life to the degree that some of them are now making irresponsible, stupid, immoral and dangerous, even criminal choices.

Fallout from the footballer’s scandal is finally being felt- 7 years down the track. Brain development in young men and the impact of testosterone and cortisol needs to be considered carefully. We now have a situation where there is both a societal and a physiological lack of an ability to respond in appropriate ways by young men who are ‘high’ on various hormones. Where years ago these would be mitigated to a large degree by physical work and families to care for, they are now enabled instead by money, time, and a ‘me too’ culture. Most young men in particular would choose to be out of school and working during their teenage years. Why do we insist on increasing the ‘time they do’ at school instead of recognising this.

Solving this issue of unacceptable behaviour and lack of discernment will take a whole of society response. Education systems have to play their part.