Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bringing up kids Down Under

During a phone conversation with my aunt who lives in Sydney, she reaffirmed her conviction that Australia, in the eyes of the vast majority of local mothers, is "the best place in the world to bring up kids". Obviously, this is a crazy claim. Even if you were to seek an answer to that dumb question by interviewing hordes of local mothers (?), what could they possibly be expected to know about any other places throughout the planet for bringing up kids beyond the precincts of their own suburb (for example, in the upper-class northern sector of Sydney) where they happened to bring up their own kids?

At one stage, I started to have serious doubts about our bringing up Emmanuelle and François in the heart of Paris, which I tended to compare unfavorably with my childhood environment in South Grafton. Needless to say, I was soon happy to discover that their growing up in the high-powered setting of the great French capital made them more wise and worldly, I believe, than if they had been raised on a farm in South Grafton… where they would have nevertheless learned how to help Christine and me in milking the cows. [Having made that last remark, I realize that my children might well have learned that art—without my knowing it—from their mother's friends in rural Brittany. Maybe, therefore, all was not lost.]

It's true that, out in Australia, there are certain interesting environments in which kids have a chance of becoming wise and worldly. Like the Dunheved Campus of Chifley College, for example. Maybe the following video will be censored sooner or later, but you can always find copies on YouTube by using keywords such as "Casey the punisher" (the fat boy).

Overnight, Casey Haynes has become a hero throughout the world, almost on a par (from a moralistic viewpoint) with Julian Assange. The scrawny weasel who did the bullying (whose body makes an astonishing sound when it hits the concrete) has been the object of rehabilitation endeavors through kind interviews, but it's hard to make him look like anything better than a future sleazy crime boss in Sydney.

But don't get me wrong. I have no opinion on the question of whether Australia might or might not be the best place in the world for bringing up a juvenile asshole such as this obnoxious little bully. Besides, is it correct to suppose that he has, in fact, been "brought up"? As for Casey: The whole wide world admires you!

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