Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

FRESH START: Tragic mistakes have been made in the church but it's time to heal, says reader Susan Anderson.

FRESH START: Tragic mistakes have been made in the church but it's time to heal, says reader Susan Anderson.

I ATTENDED a Sunday service at Christ Church Cathedral after reading Ian Kirkwood's column in Saturday's Herald (“Saving the young from dark deeds in high places”, Herald 26/11) 

During The Greeting of Peace, I shook hands with a young man (whom I later served at the community lunch), a lady in a matching hat and frock ensemble, two teenagers who had clearly just come from the beach, an elderly couple whose weekly highlight is this service and a lovely down-to-earth woman who travels from Stockton to be part of the congregation.

I must have missed the “lacquered hair, pressed suits and air kisses". I suppose “the social whirl” must have been the three hours myself and another parishioner spent elbow deep in washing up water at the following community lunch.

The evidence presented to the royal commission was horrendous.

Nobody will deny this, including the present-day Christ Church worshippers.

However, on this the first Sunday of Advent, perhaps it is time for the healing process to truly begin. Tragic mistakes have been made but hopefully hugely important lessons have been learnt.

In the words of today's prayer;

O God , help us believe in new beginnings,

And in our beginning again,

No matter how often we have failed before.

Amen 

Susan Anderson, Newcastle

Defiance and violence

HERE is a problem. Nanny says she’s nearly ready to leave. Grandson sits patiently. Time goes by. Grandson starts to fidget. He picks a fight with his sister. Pandemonium ensues. 

Here is a solution. Nanny says she’s nearly ready to leave.  Pop tells Grandson: “When Nanny says she’s nearly ready to leave, she means she’s only got 100 more things to do, none of which are of any interest to a little boy”. Grandson laughs and sits patiently.

Here is a problem. Infants school teacher tells the class: “The children who come to school with clean hands and finger nails on Monday will get extra stickers”. The teacher never checks the children on the day, she says; she always checks them the day after. Children grow frustrated and become sullen.

Here is a solution. Work out the trick and turn up the day after with sparkling hands. But, how many children are smart enough to see through the manipulation of a teacher? 

After solving the teacher problem, one little boy was moved to pee on the teacher’s carpet. Here began his life of resistance. His motto: “Do not trust any authority without first questioning that authority”. He got many stickers and threw them all away.

This questioning approach, where a child questions an adult, is often seen as disrespectful and aggressive. Aggression in children, especially males, is seen as bad behaviour. 

What society wants is a compliant child. When a compliant child has had enough, they become a defiant child. Compliance then is little more than the other side of defiance. If the class is quiet, who cares? The resisting child cares. In this silence there is despair, lies, deceit and fear.

So, what to do with aggressive boys? We must do something with aggressive boys because they grow up into violent men and then they beat their wives and sometimes they murder their wives.

We must make them compliant. Compliant with what? The treachery of authority figures?

Let’s get police coming around telling them to stop yelling at their mother and slamming the door on their sister because, as the advertisement on TV points out, the monster inhabits the soul of the male child like testosterone.

When I was the little boy who peed on my teacher’s carpet, they used to send naughty little boys, not much older than me, off to reform school. The local reform school, in my country region, featured as a haven for paedophiles in the current commission of inquiry. For my peeing resistance, I might well have been abused.

When we drove passed the reform school, I trembled for the wretched boys behind its walls and I trembled for myself that I was a child in a world where such horror was sanctioned by the state. Such were my thoughts as an everyday Australian child.

Keith Russell, Mayfield West

Stokes standing up

IT takes courage to stand up to Canberra but that's exactly what NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes is doing.

He's standing up for thousands of first-home buyers hurt by negative gearing.

He knows people with seven or eight negatively geared houses cash-in on tax breaks from Canberra.

They make it impossible for first-home buyers because they snap up so many properties.

The federal government encourages this and, in my opinion, ignores the plight of first-home buyers.

Mr Stokes says his government is doing everything to increase supply of new housing in NSW.

I believe he's telling the truth because he's accepting the barrage of criticism from Canberra.

It's time we saw a minister like Rob Stokes with the guts to stand up for voters in NSW.

John Butler, Windella Downs

Seeing forest for trees

LES Hutchinson, your article on deforestation (Letters, 25/11) was very informative and seemed to be full of lots facts and figures.

Unfortunately, most of them don't apply to Australia in my opinion.

I wonder if you have actually driven around this country and, more importantly, researched the stringent rules that now apply to forestry and agriculture in Australia.

I have travelled the length of the east coast of Australia and don't see any signs of this raping of the land as you allege, only lots of trees and fertile land as far as the eye can see.

Open-cut mines usually exists on open plains and are also required to rehabilitate on closure.

I think you'll find a lot of your information may relate to Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil and mostly third-world countries.

With respect to you wanting to move to Canada to escape this terrible country we are going to become, think again.

From what I could see on a recent trip through British Columbia, their logging industry is going along quite well by the number of trucks that went past me, and so is their agriculture industry.

Tony Mansfield, Lambton

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