Society missing elders means strife is rife with schoolies

AS SCHOOLIES Week comes to an end and the usual parade of media attempts to dissect the events of youth gone wild, it is worth trying to make some sense from the madness.

There is an old African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child."

Now we don't often think of ourselves as being a village these days; it harkens back to earlier days when we lived a life of community in a very different way.

We lived our lives in a way that was more tribal.

Now young people are very tribal, by instinct. With the rush of hormones, and the desire to separate from their parents and family and create their own separate identity, they are naturally looking for the group to fit into.

In our old tribal village days we would induct our children into adulthood through rites of passage, to help them understand the limits and possibilities of their own personal power.

The wise elders would take our youngsters away to teach them the ways of life, separating them from the habits of immaturity.

Today the elders are missing. Scattered and lost, they themselves have often not had the experience of separation and so are confused themselves.

This leaves our young people with the responsibility to initiate themselves.

With no other guidance but from each other, naturally then we would find the wild and crazy excesses of Schoolies Week, of gang mentalities, and beyond.

Throughout history young people are looking for acceptance and a place to belong.

In our present day they are making the statement loud and clear through their words and their actions about their need to belong, and to be significant.

So often we hear this and simply misunderstand and just brand them all as troublemakers.

I believe our kids deserve a better deal than what they are getting.

It is up to us as adults to take a stand together, to create a village out of our communities and to rediscover what it means to be part of a tribe.

Paul Stewart is a personal coach with Compassion Coaching: compassion, and also supports the inSight Men's Circle, run through Hopelink 4979 3626.

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