I'm joining in the Weekend Rewind at the Pink Fibro today. The theme is Lessons and, you know, it's really interesting to me that this post came up. It started out, when I originally posted it in July 2008, as a look at why I don't watch the news any more (and at that time there were a couple of awful child murder/abuse cases being publicised). Recently, I have dipped in to the news again - I tend to do it on and off, I can't really take it in every single day - and the number of stories involving children was staggering.
So, I give you my contribution: A post on Lessons.
Originally posted July 3, 2008
Just one news report of a case of neglect involving unwitting children is one too many.
At the moment, there are several. I am the first to admit that I, perhaps irresponsibly, avoid watching, reading or listening to the news. It started because we have sort of fallen into the habit of not watching it after we had the LGBB, because we won't let her watch or listen to it either. It just didn't feel right to me that a little baby would even be in the same room when it was on. And now she is more aware and fully comprehends the energy exchange between people, even when they are on tv and not in front of her, I just know she doesn't need to absorb that. When younger, she obviously wouldn't have understood the words, but it still just didn't sit comfortably with me. Same goes for those screechy US shows, or where people are talking aggressively towards each other. Do you know the sort I mean? Of course you must. It describes about 98% of the programming on television (either with or without American accents).
In fact, when you actually look out for it, it's really kind of sad and alarming the amount of really horrible language and conversations that go on between characters on shows. Even on kids' programming, for heaven's sake. I had this conversation with a friend recently and she, too, pointed out the number of arrogant characters (some of them puppets) and the way they all talked to each other. Once again, I am probably coming off sounding like Pollyanna on her soap box about this. But I just have this real desire to avoid, on Lolly's behalf, this sort of "real world" (is it, really??) stuff. I don't want to think this is indicative of how people communicate, on the whole - in these snide or aggressive or ... overacting manners - and we prefer instead to try and surround her with actual, real life situations where she sees people interacting.
The lady at the café, where she's learning the art of ordering a coffee/baby 'cino from the 'Cino Lady (as Lolly has affectionately named her) and paying and waiting for her order. The guy at the hot bread shop who waves and says hello with a smile to her. The people at occasional care who give her a shout out when she comes in for the morning.
These are the people in her neighbourhood. These are the types of interactions she should know exist. I couldn't agree with Noni Hazelhurst more, in that there is just so much (tv) that kids don't need to see "yet". It has severely cut my own viewing, and I have cut out a lot of my regular programming favourites and staples. Hmmmmm, that's a good point that I may need to reassess some time: maybe that very enjoyable "time out" of mine contributes to my feeling like I never get sufficient time to wind down. I used to have the day times, when she was a little baby, to satisfy my television habit in bits and bobs. But not now. Not with a voracious toddler on my hands.
Right now, she's painting. Her face is spread in the most gleeful grin. As I type, she's just finished watching an episode of Play School and, oh joy of joys... Trotro just started. Don't get me started on Trotro, that whiney little shit.
Now, I was going to say that this television watching business has nothing to do with the beginning paragraph of my post. But... does it? Have we desensitised to such a point that perhaps too much goes on, right under our noses - even in children's programming - that it's just considered normal to treat each other a certain way? Of course it's not the case everywhere, all over. But I am wondering if it doesn't contribute in such a big way that it has slowly turned the tide so that there is less kindness and tolerance towards others and where they are "at" in their lives or existence or lessons, less reaching out, more judgement, basically a bigger pile of crud. In saying all this, I do still have to believe that this pile is an infinitely smaller pile when stacked against the pure hearted kindness and wish to do well towards others that people have. Worldwide, I do really keenly like to think the latter heavily outweighs the former....
But to my point, those of you still with me: where have we gone wrong as a society with these mothers? We've failed the children, murdered at their parents' hands. But have we failed the parents too? I feel in some ways that I have failed my part by turning a willingly blind eye to these atrocities - they are literally too much for me to face - but is that responsible of me? To turn away and avoid it? No. I don't think so, no. Once I become aware of this stuff, I feel compelled to shift and lift as much of the grief and darkness as I can - from here - so that it doesn't stay hanging around. It isn't lost on me that there are two cases at the moment in the news - there could be more, I don't know - the one day I stopped and took time out to actually sit and read the paper uninterrupted last week. It was all the wakeup call I needed.
I have to start getting back into the habit of watching out for the news.
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