We are in the midst of schoolies and we have watched the hedonistic behaviour of young people and the unfortunate consequences. I am led to ask the question, when did this become acceptable, to send away barely legal young people on mass without parental supervision. In fact, often funded and approved by parents. When did we decide that young people who can’t keep their rooms clean, do the washing up or mow the lawn, relay on mum to do the shopping, cook their meals and drive them to sport and school are ok to be left alone in a place we recognise and accept is seedy by night, even at its best?
The question is not so much when, but who said it was ok? Who was the king that decreed this was now ‘a right of passage’ (albeit for simply doing something we all have had to do – finish school)? The answer – corporate consumerism. Schoolies is a construct of the tourism industry, to fill beds, hotels, restaurants, airlines etc. It has even spurned a new group of surrogate parents, ‘the Red Frogs’ , and a new family circle, schoolies hub. The result is, in a consumer driven society, parents are conditioned to say yes when everythng within them is screaming, no, this is not right.
At Ballina on Friday, in the local newsagency, I met 2 fathers who have been asking the same questions as me and are committed to saying no. It lifted my spirits. But parents who want to say no receive no help from the institutions within society who should be leading the way – the church, the governments, local civic leaders – they simpy allow it because they too have succumbed to corporate conumerism.
Like the frog in the slowly boiling water we have become not a part of the Kingdom of heaven, but a part of the kingdom of hell – a place where what I want rules supreme.