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I was born in the late fifties. In those days it was safe to leave your doors unlocked,
leave your bike unattended, play out in the street and talk and accept lifts from
It was also a time of RESPECT especially towards parents and anyone older.
If we were told to come in at a certain time, we did so. If we were playing ball
and it accidentally went into someone's garden, we went to the door, apologised and
politely requested its return. If the owner refused we may have felt upset but accepted
it. After all, the ball shouldn't have been on their property in the first place.
If the owner wasn't in we would NEVER dream of just going into someone's garden without
However, it may well have meant the end of the game for in those days people had
just one ball. There was none of this "Oh never mind, we'll just get another". If
your ball got lost , that was it.
Whether it be cricket, football, rounders or tennis
- the ball had to be found. We searched in the dykes, the long grass and the corn
fields ever wary and conscious that we were sometimes trespassing and hoping we'd
be out before the farmer came.
Today, however, the story is much different. We live
in a throw away society and values appear to have changed. Infact, whole life styles
have changed and not always for the better.
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My friend has lived in the same house for almost thirty years. It is a nice two bedroomed
semi in a cul-de-sac on a pleasant fairly affluent estate. The area is not run down
and close to her property within view is a large park area ideal for children to
However, they don't.
Instead the children living in the cul-de-sac, together
with their friends who live elsewhere, play in the road. They run in and out of the
numerous cars parked outside and across the open plan gardens of the fourteen houses
This is the problem.
My friend who is very kind, friendly and loves children
understandably got a bit fed up having children (some of whom she didn't even know)
continually go into her garden, trample her plants and knock over her ornaments without
even asking to retrieve their balls.
She asked them politely to play in the field
round the back. When they didn't and the situation continued she had a neighbourly
word with their parents. However, instead of beng met with understanding she was
accused of being a miserable spoil sport and now feels a prisoner in her own home.
Since her request my friend's car has been scratched, the mirror broken twice and
it's been used as a goal for football practice. The father of one set of neighbouring
children had even been playing tennis with his offspring when some of these incidents
occurred so you would think he would have offered some sort of apology. After all
that's what responsible adults do - right? Wrong.
When my friend suggested they all go down to the park area where there was plenty
of room to play he simply suggested in no uncertain terms that "SHE" was being awkward
and a miserable old woman who spoilt everyone's fun.
Now, she gets called names whenever
she leaves her house and no longer feels able to sit out in her front garden where
she has spent many happy hours over the years.
So what are we doing to our kids to
make them so disrespectful?
I read somewhere the average father spends about 10 minutes per day talking to his
children. At first I didn't believe it but then I realised the long hours some people
spend at work and travelling might mean they left home before their children got
up and returned when they were in bed.
Mothers too have often been forced to go out
to work. Latch key kids, day care centres and drop off sites are the norm. Rarely
do you see children playing. Instead they spend time alone in their rooms with their
color televisions, videos and DVD's. They text and e-mail endlessly on their mobile
phones and computers and yet cannot hold a meaningful conversation face to face.
In our fast pace society there's no time to enjoy simple pleasures and quality family
life has gone out of the window.
Long gone are the days when families sat down together
to eat freshly cooked nutritious meals containing seasonal fruits and vegetables
and watched the same programme on a shared televison. They read, played games together
and actually communicated.
Admittedly advances in technology have made life much easier but not necessarily
happier. Theoretically machinery should have given us more freedom and yet everyone
rushes around unable to spare the time to simply relax. They search instead for money
to buy "things" and products to make us look younger. It seems growing old gracefully
is a thing of the past and we all seek eternal youth.
Possessions appear more important
than people and relationships and life pass most by without us ever appreciating
the best things in life are free.
Stress and mental health issues are a big part
of modern society.
Toxic chemicals are now found everywhere. We cannot escape them
and even though we know they are a danger to our health, more and more are produced.
According to the Environment Working Group most of the toxins which are detrimental
to our health are found in our food supply.
Meals are now eaten on the run, often
prepacked and microwaved. Fast food is the norm. Our appetite for quick fixes far
outweighs our desire for nutritionally complete food.
These days unless you eat organic
produce the only ingredients you can guarantee to get in your food will be a mixture
of fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, preservatives, colourings, flavourings,
growth hormones, anti-biotics and toxic chemicals from the packaging. They build
up an unnatural cocktail inside us, unquestionably dangerous, potentially deadly.
Is it any wonder we worry for our long term health.
Serious illnesses such as cancer
and heart disease are on the increase. Depression and suicide are rife. Crime and
violence triggered by alcohol and drug abuse is common place and people are afraid
to go out alone in many areas especially when darkness falls.
Many children suffer
challenging behaviour most of which can be attributed to their diet. How many do
you know who have a change in personality after they've eaten highly coloured, sweetened
or flavoured food and drink?
Sweets and sugary drinks are often sufficient to trigger
hyperactivity so what do we do? Instead of removing them from the diet we drug our
children to calm them down.
What has happened to us?
We can't turn back the clock and undo the progress already made. We wouldn't want
to but we can choose to reduce the toxic load which the food and personal care industries
have planted on us, often without our knowledge.
Did you realise the personal and
skin care industry can use up to 10,500 highly unregulated synthetic chemicals in
their products, none of which have ever been tested for long term health effects
either individually or in combination? Do you even care?
If you don't, you should,
if not for yourself then for your children. After all, something is happening to
them and it appears they need all the help they can get!