Christmas being a special time for family, I have decided to dedicate this week’s article to our own kids and try, if possible, not to mention anything about fishing, diving, boating or surfing. Might be difficult.
As parents, we like to think that we set some sort of an example, in the hope that our kids will follow in our footsteps, but at times it can be a risky business. As a school teacher for 30 years in my previous life, I remember many parent interviews with mum or dad pouring out their heart, because their son or daughter had ‘gone off the rails’. Of course there are a myriad of reasons why this can occur, but the mere fact the parent came to the interview at all was a positive sign and good starting point. For years it was thought that brain development was set at a fairly early age, however, more recent research indicates the brain continues to change into the early 20’s with the frontal lobes, responsible for reasoning and problem solving, developing last. This means that in those teenage years, we are more likely to be risk takers. Just think about what you were doing at that age.
So when our own kids start to display this unreasonable, poor problem solving, risk taking behaviour, we are sometimes surprised, upset, angry, frustrated and expect them to be more sensible. Sadly, there are some who suffer the most severest of consequences during this time. The road death toll, suicide rates and drug and alcohol statistics for under 25’s is a tragic reminder of this. For any parent who has lost a child, Christmas must be one of the most difficult times of all and our hearts go out to you.
Our 26 year old son, Jay, is currently a PE and Marine Studies teacher up in Perth and even though I did this very same job for many years, but he is doing it his own way. We only hope his frontal lobe formation is done and dusted by now! Our 24 year old daughter, Lisa, has spent this year studying in Chile as part of her 5 year course in Tourism and International Studies, making her mark in another part of the world. With her intending to travel throughout Chile until February and this being my busiest period for work, there was no chance for a Christmas catchup. So we encouraged Jay, with a sweetener of sharing the airfare costs, to travel over and spend Christmas and New Year with Lisa and he jumped at the opportunity. They will start with a 5 day walking trek and then hire a Wicked van and see the coastline, chasing surf ( sorry, had to mention it ). It will make for a quiet Xmas for Viv and I, but we will be with them in spirit and of course modern technology means that we can FB, video message, text, email, tweet, instagram (getting tired now thinking about it).
Backtrack 40 years and I recall, as a young teenager from the western suburbs of Sydney, spending way too much time in shady pool rooms, seedy bars and illegal gambling houses, for reasons that I will not go into here. They were definitely places I should not have been, especially at such a young age and I am extremely lucky to have ‘survived’ that period. So now I am a little wiser and try to plan on calculated risk, or to use the new world jargon, risk minimisation, because if you never take any risks, you might live till 100, but what did you miss out on?
To answer last week’s question, the Margaret River Volunteer Marine Rescue Group was formed in 1987.
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