Peace begins at home

The story on the news was about teen violence and the rise in the number of girl-on-girl fights, bullying, violence with weapons, and on and on. Apparently there has been a significant increase in the number of young female offenders in the past few years. Is this is a sign we are becoming a more gender- balanced society when the female jails are as full as the males?

At first I was taken aback and was wondering what happened. When did all this change and what led to it? As a kid I certainly saw my share of fights between my brothers, boys at school, and later years when I worked in pubs there were scraps. One-on-one, not one person being pummelled or kicked by two or three, or more — there was a code I suppose. Always made me uncomfortable and I wanted it to stop. Even watching my sons “go at it,” as the saying goes, made me uneasy. Probably because of a fear of escalation of horrible hurts, of ineffective ways to settle an argument. And in some cases they were pretty stupid reasons for the fight being initiated.

The girls being interviewed on Global spoke of the violence like it was now just part of the culture. Hmm, maybe we need the themes of the ‘60s to come back. Love not war. Give peace a chance.

It is a bit Jekyll and Hyde with accepting that kind of behaviour on your school ground and then wanting peace in Afghanistan. Let’s start at home.

My armchair theory is that I think we have become indifferent to violence because we see so much of it on television, in films, in our media, everywhere. When we hear of a person being killed, are we outraged or do we turn away? The person’s hopes and dreams gone, wiped away.

There are those working with children asking parents to turn off the TV, computers, games and limit the screen time. I think this is good for everybody and I say this as someone who likes to watch TV, as it can be great entertainment, but at what cost when there is no active participation, just information coming in, and whirling away in our brain? The repetitive violent images are having an effect.

The level of violence and bullying with our teens is not just a school problem, it is a community problem, a society problem. We need to react when we see violence, and death, and bullying and not just accept it. Silence is acceptance.  It starts at home, and we work together.  Paying attention, discussing options, peaceful resolution.

On another note, the federal election campaign has started and what makes me cringe here is the negative advertising, much like we have been seeing from the Conservatives for months.

I watched the Junos the other night and there was so much Canadian pride in the room that I expected to hear our national anthem in an acceptance speech. Could the politicians put some of that energy about what makes Canada great into their advertising? Quit the name-calling, bullying and tell us what you can do.

Is Shane Koyczan available, please?