Monday, June 29, 2009

Apportioning blame

Currently, the British Lions are on a rugby tour of South Africa. On Saturday, they lost rather controversially in the dying moments of the match. Of course, I am pleased with my team's win. I would have thought that was a given. I completely understand that Lions fans are not happy about the loss. To my surprise, however, some of that anger has been directed at me. Now I quite obviously had nothing to do with any aspect of the game. I didn't even get to watch the live broadcast, but had to rely on a recording dropped off by a friend. Nevertheless, it seems I am called upon to shoulder some of the responsibility for what is seen as an injustice, simply by virtue of my nationality.

This got me to thinking about the things for which we are called upon to carry the blame and the extent to which this is reasonable.

For example, for close on a decade, it has been possible to send the parents of a truant UK school child to prison.

I have always found it inconsistent that this is the case in a country which makes provision for a girl to undergo an abortion without her parents' knowledge.

How is it that we are called upon to know whether or not our children are at school, but be ignorant of whether or not they are sexually active, pregant and taking this enormous step? I would imagine that an abortion is traumatic enough, without having to go through it without (at least) your Mom's moral support.

Now it seems we can be fined or even be sent to prison if our children become unruly at school. Not only must we see to it that they go to school. We must see to it that they behave when they get there.

Note: On a personal level, my husband and I have worked and continue to work very hard at teaching our sons to be productive, considerate members of society. We have even (thus far, anyway) had some measure of success. But it's the principle that bothers me.

In the light of the extent to which an increasing number of parents feel that they are 'not allowed to' do this or that in respect of their children, this seems to me to be another imbalance.

I can't help feeling that there needs to be a bit more joined up thinking, here. Either parents are to be expected to shoulder responsibility in respect of their children - in which case, they should be empowered to do so - or, if the state wishes to dictate to parents how to discipline, feed and even set their children down to sleep, then it can't hold them responsible when the wheels come off.


Garry Platt said...

Karyn – of all the blogs I read your is the one that I consistently find interesting and engaging. And recently you’ve been pushing all my buttons with your deist and now abortion comments.

I want you to know that I really enjoy what you have to say about these things – whilst not agreeing with a single syllable of it. How cool is that?

Karyn Romeis said...

@Garry That's pretty much the point of the blogosphere, I think.

I'm not sure what part of my 'abortion comments' you disagree with. That it's traumatic or that there is no inconsistency associated with being in the dark about your daughter's abortion but still being expected to know whether or not she's in school?

Garry Platt said...

I’m amazingly reluctant to engage on the abortion issue and the comparison with school attendance issues. I’m almost thinking discussion via blogging has its limits in terms of what it might explore and for me (not necessarily for you) I would prefer another medium to engage constructively on this issue.

Karyn Romeis said...

@Garry Fair enough. Who knows, perhaps we will one day be in the same physical space at the same time and we can chat over a beer (only - make mine a cider!)

Garry Platt said...

Cool - I want to try that new pear cider they're advertising.

Karyn Romeis said...

It's quite sweet, compared to apple. I had strawberry cider over the weekend, if you can imagine such a thing. It was far less sweet than I imagined it would be. It leapt into the trolley while my husband was shopping... random things that bear the label "Made in Sweden" have a way of doing that. Probably in much the same way as "Made in South Africa" stuff follows me home, I guess!

Garry Platt said...

I'm regular (13th year now) to the Edinburgh Fringe and one of my favourite venues was the Garage – it had quite a few South African acts and they had temporary food and alcohol license. The food served was South African and Japanese Sushi - what a combo, only during the Fringe.

Karyn Romeis said...

The closest thing to sushi that I have ever been able to eat with any pleasure is Swedish pickled herrings. Mmmm.