These days people have no moral shame in breaking the law

Readers' letters | Published:

Dear name and address supplied, I’ve just read your letter regarding teaching children the basic human morals at school via the subject of religion.

Whilst I agree with your principles and your obvious concern for the ills of modern-day living, I have to disagree that it has anything to do with religion – it’s all about parenting, discipline, learning that if you do something ‘deliberately’ wrong that there are consequences and they will fit the crime.

I was taught these basic principles by my parents, my grandparents and the teachers at school. I was taught to be kind and thoughtful for others, I was disciplined by all parties previously mentioned and this provided me with continuity.

We had a local police officer that lived in a police house in our street and he would discipline us with a clip on the ear and a threat to tell my parents if he caught me getting out of line, mainly scrumping apples hanging over the vicar’s wall. I didn’t have religion pushed at me although I do concede that it was taught at school and it was one religion only – Christian. I am now an atheist, but acknowledge your right to believe what you believe.

Basically, society, as a whole, has allowed the bar to be lowered so much that it’s hard even to trip over it. There is no moral shame in breaking the law. When criminals get caught they don’t expect harsh punishment, and never having had any can’t take it anyway.

That’s why when they get sent to prison they riot to get their own way because they’re not used to discipline any more. When I was growing up society used to police itself to a degree. If an adult, male or female, told you to clear off from playing football in the street that’s what you did – without any threats or foul language from you or your friends. Having served as a police officer and dealt with lots of unruly kids, here’s a quick moral tale, ironically linked to the Bible.

I once attended a house where the child had cut up all his dad’s clothing with scissors. I was told that he did this because he hadn’t got the bike he wanted for Christmas – the child was 14 years old. I said ‘When I was a lad I’d have had a good hiding if ever I’d done such a thing’ the reply from the mother was ‘Oh, we’ve never raised a voice, let alone a hand to him’, my reply was ‘Well maybe that’s his problem?’

And so I come to the old saying ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. I’ll add, before all you do-gooders jump on the bandwagon and criticise me, I’m not advocating abuse of any kind, just legal chastisement, and a good explanation to the child as to why they’re getting punished.

Mr S Williams, Wellington


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