Sunday 24 September 2017

Kevin Myers: Undisciplined young males are vile. It's why society created such a taboo about the ghastly alliance of schools and home

It's always a sign of pathetic decrepitude, impotence and imminent senility for older people to complain about the younger generation. Young people today are no worse than they've ever been. Though I'm not too enamoured of their parents, I don't really blame them either: it's their parents who are at fault. They didn't instil in their own children an utter and abject terror of schools complaining to parents. For quite clearly, as the end of year school pranks get more and more serious -- no doubt with plane-hijackings and witch-burnings to come before the young people have exhausted their sense of humour -- in matters of school discipline, parents are clearly taking their children's side. Presumably, they're doing this because their own parents -- the grandparents -- broke the ancient contract between schools, parents and children.

This contract ran as follows. Whatever happened in school stayed in school. Whatever happened at home stayed at home. The idea of a school calling in one's parents because of some disciplinary problem was like some ghastly educational Hitler-Stalin pact. Such a humiliation is nearly the nadir of shame, which actually very few people have ever seen. I, however, have. It was irresistibly and irrevocably achieved at my school by the boy in skintight togs who, in front of hundreds of parents, including his own, got a thunderously massive erection while standing alone on the starting block for the 100 yards butterfly.

That calamity aside, the sense of shame that your parents had been called in for discussions about your conduct would, once upon a time, be enough to make you abscond and join the Khmer Rouge. And then there was the small matter of one's father. It's one thing to face the anger of a headmaster: quite another to endure an incandescent paternal wrath that could lay waste to entire cities, and before which even Chancellor Bismarck would have swooned in fear. Running nip and tuck with that in the horror stakes was the disappointment of one's mother. Two emotions: blind terror and crushing guilt. By God, them's the horses to keep a lad on the straight and narrow.

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