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(The Epoch Times)—“Youth crime is out of control” is the refrain heard on many lips around Australia and the Western world. Another common phrase is “The youth are our future.”
Put those two phrases together and we are left contemplating, indeed fearing for, the future well-being of our society. The statistics on youth crime regularly adorn newspapers and lead electronic media bulletins. Youth crime is a scourge.
So how did we get here? What can we do about it?
Like with any ingrained social problem, there is no quick fix. Something that took a generation or two may well take a similar time to repair. It takes a lot less time to crash a car than it does to repair it. So it is with society.
1. Start With the Family
The social data is relatively clear. A good home life with a mother and a father who are married in a loving long-term relationship is an important influencer on a child’s positive social behaviour.
Broken homes with a lack of an authority figure tend to produce the opposite. Explore the background of a youth offender there will nearly always be the scars of trauma.
As with all things social data, the statistics deal in generalities and there are exceptions, indeed many exceptions. Nevertheless, a stable home life with mum and dad is the best start in life a young person can be given. Pro-family policies help to keep families together and reduce cost of living pressures. And the real choice of having a parent stay at home, especially in the formative years, is urgently needed.
2. Bring Back Education on Traditional Values
To back up the home influence, we need a school system that teaches genuine respect for others and parents. Too often we hear how the education system, which should be complementing the parental role, is undermining it. Rather than emphasising the nuclear family it is denigrated for not being “diverse.”
While parents hope and strive to get their children job-ready, we have a schooling system teaching every “right” imaginable forgetting that “responsibility” comes before “rights” and not only in the dictionary—a book which one suspects the children have not been told about.
While students are encouraged to defy authorities by leaving classes to demonstrate all manner of things, including supporting the terrorist group Hamas rather than learning basic skills, we witness an abhorrent indoctrination of our young.
A reformed education system focusing on virtues, values, service, and equipping our young with real-life skills would be another essential policy change.
3. A Better Media
The media and entertainment houses have a social responsibility to present role models for young people to whom they can look up.
Social chaos and lack of morals, combined with denigrating parents and vital social institutions, serve to unsettle children and their direction in life.
The idea that a life is best served by asking, “What is expected of me” rather than “What is in it for me” is now totally absent. A responsible media analysing its duty for partnering to develop a healthy social consciousness is yet another step.
4. Don’t Fear the Preacher
We all need hope and purpose in life. Hope is largely provided through the religious/spiritual institutions. Individual faith today is ridiculed and besmirched by the education system and the media, even though it is often the religious-based organisations that provide support and offer an alternate pathway.
Closely linked to religious belief, which provides hope, is the need for purpose. Without it, the young will fall into a life of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.
5. Power to Law Enforcement
To help counter this trend, law enforcement agencies must be fully empowered to protect the community rather than the perpetrator.
With the vast majority of young perpetrators being released on immediate bail and portrayed as victims (of society), their interaction with the legal system is hardly a deterrent.
To make matters worse we have a justice system more interested in the immediate happiness of the perpetrator than in providing a punishment to drive home the seriousness, and consequences on others, of their unacceptable behaviour.
6. It’s About Personal Responsibility
Rehabilitation has to be the societal goal for those who have offended. However, the desire to rehabilitate is only activated by the recognition that the individual has a problem.
Reinforcing that the issues faced are not really the perpetrator’s fault, and they don’t really possess the agency and capacity to reform, hardly encourages self-reflection.
The future of our society and the well-being of our young requires a wholesale acceptance that the current methodologies are not working.
We need focused pro-family policies, a recognition that agency and responsibility are required of us all, irrespective of our background, together with the strong acceptance that there will be felt consequences for those disregarding their fellow’s rights to safety and protection of property.
The individual well-being of our young demands such changes as does the well-being of society as a whole and our collective future.
Let’s get started.
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