Tuesday 9 December 2014

I think there may be something wrong

with us. There has been a rather more than slight contretemps in England recently because a mother was breastfeeding her infant in a certain up-market hotel. Other mothers, quite rightly, protested outside by breastfeeding their infants.
As I remarked elsewhere, I would much prefer a contented infant than one who is screaming from hunger. Of the two, the former is much less intrusive. 
Breastfeeding is natural.
And then there have been demands that children no longer, even under the supervision of a parent, be allowed to sit on Santa's lap -  because it "sends the wrong message". I gave up believing in Santa before I went to school...if I ever really believed in him. I also know that, for many children of my generation, a visit to "the Magic Cave"  where you could "visit Santa" and get a cardboard and net stocking filled with rubbishy "toys", was the highlight of the pre-Christmas holiday period. I was never interested in telling anyone what I wanted for Christmas. I knew I was never going to get it and I certainly wasn't going to get it from a stranger dressed in a rather-too-warm red costume.
Other children still like it. It's a bit of harmless fun for many children, their parents and grandparents. But the protection police are out on this one too. Santa is potentially dangerous and so is the message even if an adult you know is there.
The problem, as I see it, is that putting a halt to these things does not teach children to discriminate. If they get told that it is not all right for Mummy to breastfeed their baby brother or sister in public then they are never going to learn what is appropriate with respect to natural functions.
Similarly if they are not permitted to sit on Santa's lap but are allowed to stand next to him - all while Mummy or Daddy is watching - isn't the message about "strangers" confusing?
Oh and then there are the messages they get about things like paying tax (only something the rich should have to do) and getting benefits (it's our right because we pay taxes) and all politicians are corrupt (unless they happen to be on the team you voted for) but you still have to respect them (unless they are not on team you voted for) because this is the way we are governed.
Children are getting mixed messages all the time.  
Isn't it time we told children that breastfeeding is natural and the way in which babies have been fed ever since there were babies? Isn't it time we told them that, yes you need to be aware of "stranger danger" but when Mummy and Daddy are standing and watching in a public place it is appropriate to talk to a stranger and perhaps sit on his/her lap if you want to do it? Just ask Mummy and Daddy first?
Isn't it time to tell them we all need to contribute and take some responsibility for ourselves and that politicians are people the "adults" voted in to take the decisions which affect everyone?
I see the Mr Miliband wants to give 16 and 17 year old children the right to vote in the UK.  My personal view is that they are not nearly old enough.
I would actually delay the right to vote until people are about 25 or 30. By then they might have managed to learn to read the mixed messages.


Helen Devries said...

Given modern education by then they may have learned to read...

catdownunder said...

That's an interesting thought Helen!

Philip C James said...

At 17, You'd allow them to drive - direct a high velocity multi-tonne death-dealing machine - but not to vote at 17? Just sayin'...

catdownunder said...

I am totally opposed to 17yr olds having a licence Philip. That is something that, seriously, should wait. There are sound physical and psychological reasons to suggest that nobody should be granted a full licence until they are about 26yrs of age - particularly males. It's not going to happen of course.