Thursday 19 March 2009

Tolerance & Personal Responsibility: Forgotten Life Skills

The Incandescent Sphenisciform flagged up a Telegraph article on Tuesday, detailing the top 20 daft holiday complaints. Very amusing they are too.

Until, that is, one thinks about the motivation behind them. Of the 20 gripes, it seemed to me that about a dozen of them related to intolerance, selfishness or both. Two specifically called for something to be banned.

"Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women."

"It's lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time - this should be banned."

It seems an all-too-ready refrain in the modern age, that if there is something we don't like, it should be instantly banned. It matters not one iota if others enjoy it, selfishness must prevail. Consideration of others is not paramount anymore. Looking after number one appears to be the sole priority.

We've seen this being exhibited (or exploited) by Labour for quite a time now. Kneejerk policies based on selfish and intolerant motives are de rigeur. The acceptance that others may wish to live life outside of the proscribed 'norm' has all but vanished.

So much so that everyone is jumping up and down trying to stop others doing something they don't personally like. If the government can advocate hatred, why not the general public?

Once the rules of this new standardisation have been laid down, we are left with the bolshy dictating, and the more considerate pulling up trees not to offend.

"The brochure stated: 'No hairdressers at the accommodation'. We're trainee hairdressers - will we be OK staying here?"

So what's the answer? How do we stop this headlong sprint towards marginalisation of all that we personally disagree with?

Surely, it has to be effective parenting. There is nothing wrong with bringing kids up to look after their and their families' interests first and foremost, but there has to be an acceptance that others should be entitled to live life as they see fit too. It's a compromise, it's what life is all about.

Obviously, some of the knuckle-draggers who manage to reproduce in their own image will have none of this awareness of others in their limited genetic make-up, so there is a role for educators to chip in.

I thought that was the point of the subject of PHSE & Citizenship that appeared on my kids' school reports recently. Being a newish subject, it's not something I studied myself but it is easy to see that it can have a role if employed correctly.

So what is taught in PHSE? Teachernet gives us the lowdown.

Citizenship at Key Stages 1 and 2;
Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco;
Emotional Health and Wellbeing;
Nutrition and Physical Activity;
Personal Finance;
Sex and Relationship Education.

Look around the site yourself. It is heavy on health & safety; risk assessment; drug, alcohol and tobacco education; emotional health; 'correct' food; financial capability; safety again; and loads of sex ed (maybe like this from Mrs Dale)

There is a search facility, so I tried it. It returned one match for 'lesbian', two for 'racism', three for 'cancer', and four for 'gay'. There were 14 for 'environment'.

However, a search for the words 'selfish', 'selfishness', and 'tolerance', came up blank.

It goes without saying that 'personal responsibility' didn't figure either. After all, if something does go wrong, it's always someone else's fault, so prepare for more holiday complaints along these lines from generations to come.

"We bought 'Ray-Ban' sunglasses for five euros (£3.50) from a street trader, only to find out they were fake."

"No-one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled."

"My fiancé and I booked a twin-bedded room but we were placed in a double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked."

"It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel."

"We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels."

It would be nice if the national curriculum would teach important life skills such as tolerance and personal responsibility. We can only hope they might get round to it one day instead of just focussing on the PC.


banned said...

We took a coach tour and when we got out for lunch this bird shat on my head. Later, when we were paddling at the seaside, some boys ran past and shouted " You fat bastard " at me. I have never been so humiliated in all my life ( twice ! ) so you owe me comepensation.

Anonymous said...

I went on a bus tour in the Alps. You didn't point out in the brochure that the roads would be winding and I suffer from travel sickness. I demand compensation for the purchase of sick bags and dry cleaning bills.

On a serious note, I have noticed that people in their late teens and early twenties absolutely resent being challenged/not getting their own way. Their displays of sullen petulance mirror that shown by young Labour MPs when challenged (anyone else noticed this?) I can only surmise that it stems from the culture of 'everyone wins prizes' together with lack of discipline during the formative years!

There's so much wrong in this country, nowadays, I think that we're past the point of no return. I'm now wishing for an early death and intend to break all rules to avoid living to a ripe old age.


Sue said...

Seriously, it is all about "your rights".. perhaps lack of religion has something to do with it.

Religion teaches the opposite, honour thy mother and father, do not murder, do not steal, do not lie, do not commit hanky panky, do not give your neighbours wife the come on etc...

The teachings needn't be religious but based on the same values and we may get somewhere!

Unknown said...

I'm with Jay on this one. These days, every time anyone goes on about me shortening my life with smoking, I actually think 'thank fuck for that'

Let's not be hypocritical about intolerance. If you think about it, we are all intolerant ourselves. Our intolerance is aimed at those who try to interfere in every aspect of our lives. We are also intolerant of those selfish people who think only of themselves rather than anyone around them. Perhaps we are being selfish in wanting freedom to choose our own lives as others seem to be happy being sheep and strive for more rules so that they don't have to think for themselves (thinking will be banned soon anyway). Therefore we are ruining their lives by wanting choice back.

Or perhaps I should start the ban early and stop thinking so much and just have another drink (and cig and maybe a little of my UK tax free belgian chocolate)