Hats off to Betty: A lesson best learnt at home

PUBLISHED: 11:49 17 August 2006 | UPDATED: 11:59 04 May 2010

I WAS upset and angry that vandals had torn up the beautiful Ely in Bloom garden just after it had been finished. But the problem is that the culprits are probably unloved with no-one praising them. They may come from a dysfunctional family where they are

I WAS upset and angry that vandals had torn up the beautiful Ely in Bloom garden just after it had been finished.

But the problem is that the culprits are probably unloved with no-one praising them.

They may come from a dysfunctional family where they are not given a sense of what is right and wrong.

There was a headline recently in one of the newspapers that said teachers should teach right and wrong.

But you can't teach it along with everything else on the curriculum. In some ways it is 'caught' by living in a moral household.

I can remember my mother smacking me on the hand after telling me time and time again not to pick the flowers in the garden.

I remember the tears flowing into my eyes. She didn't hurt me but I thought she didn't love me anymore.

But she gave me a hug and explained to me that she had smacked my hand because I hadn't done what I was told after several times of asking.

It is a case of laying the seed bed and the children will absorb the right way.

I was going into a shop recently and a three-year-old had his foot against the automatic door. I asked him to remove it and as he passed me he hit me on the leg. I explained to him that it was wrong and he wouldn't look at me. I put my arms round his shoulders, hugged him and told him not to do anything again which hurts people.

His mum was there and she thanked me.

Children gradually know what is right and what is wrong. But it can't be conjured up as an extra school lesson. It's either there or it's not.

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