There are some ‘big questions’ in life that just have to be answered. We’re not talking about things like, ‘Where do babies come from?’, although there is a TV ad getting around at the moment that covers that one off quite well much to the horror of the child who asked the question from the back seat of their new car! Personally, I thought for a dad he did quite well……! I am married to a nurse, so my kids stopped asking questions like that immediately after they received the first very lengthy and detailed answer!

So are we talking about things like, ‘Why did Amelda Marcos need so many shoes’? Or, ‘Why are Angry Birds so angry’? I kid you not, in a survey conducted by the Ribbsy Institute for Strategic Knowledge a couple of years ago, those two questions were in the top ten ‘burning issues’ that people wanted answers to….(Look for the anagram!)

No, I’m talking BIG questions. Like, why do young people use the word like so much? “Well, we were just, like, not doing anything really. Like, it was only, like, two of us anyway so why is it, like, such a big deal”? They sound like an episode of Goggle Box on continuous loop half the time. Who taught them to talk like that? Like, it’s really annoying!

There are days when I can’t work out whether I’m just showing my age, or whether grammar and spelling have moved on without me. It’s, like, when did we start spelling the word programme when used in an appropriate context, and replace it with program in all cases? Like, I wasn’t consulted! And when did using contractions in written correspondence become a no-no? My spell-checker hates them. It keeps on putting red lines under words I use as if it’s right and I’m wrong. And I use those two contractions just to annoy it!

Truth is, the world has become completely obsessed with the trivial and completely absorbed in the insignificant. Small things are now big issues, and the big things people need to come to grips with are hardly given any thought. By way of illustration, there was a time when churches were built in the most prominent place in town. Often in the town centre, or high on a hill where they could be seen for miles. The church bell was often used as a way of communicating warning and need to the community, as well as a call to corporate worship. Churches were the social glue that held communities together. You used to give directions to people using the local church as a reference point. Nowadays, the Golden Arches are the reference point in pretty much every town. Everyone knows where McDonald’s is located, and if you don’t, it’s usually the easiest place to find in town.

I had this ‘light bulb’ moment recently. I can choose to ignore the reality of the world kids live in today, or I can try to understand it and walk with them through it. It’s not easy when appalling videos are put up on social media that adults, little less kids can’t get their head around. But it is the reality they face. The world appears to be completely polarised. It is full of ridiculous arguments over trivial nonsense or obsessed with horrendous images and videos that shock and disgust. There seems to be little in the middle any more. And thanks to smart-phones, social media and instant access to the worldwide sludge, none of our kids are immune from its impact.

Don’t think I’m giving up. I am happy to swim against the tide when it comes to keeping our kids safe. And safety means more than just physical safety. It includes being emotionally, mentally and spiritually safe. It means not just helping them survive but helping them learn how to thrive in the new world they face. That will on occasion make me unpopular with the ‘progressives’… So be it. It will be those same ‘progressives’ who think it’s censorship to stop kids watching the latest appalling video getting around on social media that authorities are warning us about. And if it puts me at odds with a few parents and kids, so be it. At the end of the day, I’ll fight for the right of every child in our school to stay a child, and not be dragged to adulthood before their time.

Wow… I feel so much better now that I have got that off my chest!! It’s like, really liberating, like…..

I’ve always said, “Choose your fights wisely”. So I have. No child at Heritage should see that latest video here at school, because their phones should be in their YONDR pouches. I have made that clear. So parents, can you please support me in this. Don’t ask your kids to put their phones in their YONDR pouch when they get to school, TELL them to do it… Please. It is a way of preventing bullying. It is a way of keeping kids safe. It is a way of helping them focus on their work. And its, like, really important……

Geoff Brisby