Rowan Williams: It’s adults, not young people, who are a public menace

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The sight of young people gathering on streets and in shopping centres is one of the things that can create alarm or suspicion in adults, who think such groups are going to be abusive or extreme in their behaviour. But today's report from the Good Childhood inquiry ought to challenge many popular misconceptions about young people and our shared public space.

Set up by the Children's Society in 2006, the inquiry has so far reported on children's attitudes to friends, family and learning. What may come as a surprise in today's findings is that many young people themselves feel that they are not safe or welcome in public places, sometimes because of aggressive gangs colonising these places, but also sometimes because of unfriendly adults. Hanging around in groups is often a way for many youngsters to feel secure, rather than a way of menacing anyone else. And the discouragement of games in public places intensifies the problem.

The inquiry's earlier reports had few surprises - children value their friends, want stable, loving families with a proper parental presence and expect schools to be supportive and free from bullying.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury

12 Comments
Posted February 28, 2008 at 6:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Ouroboros wrote:

It is said that Cato the Elder ended every speech in the Roman Senate with, “and furthermore, I think that Carthage must be destroyed,” as a way of indicating his frustration with fellow Senators who did not perceive the Carthaginian threat.

I am still trying to find some similarly pithy phrase to post each time that Archbishop Williams blathers on about some secular issue that is properly left to the realm of politicians, while neglecting, in the extreme, to either preserve or proclaim the Faith and Order of the Catholic Church.

February 28, 8:53 pm | [comment link]
2. Sir Highmoor wrote:

Perhaps, we should let the kids run the Anglican Communion. Could they do worse?

February 28, 8:58 pm | [comment link]
3. Greg Griffith wrote:

Delenda est +Cantuar?

February 28, 8:58 pm | [comment link]
4. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

Hmmm…let’s see:

Wilding:  http://cjrarchives.org/issues/2003/1/rapist-hancock.asp

Sport Killing:  http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/19/homeless.attacks/index.html

No, there’s nothing to be alarmed about.  Move along.

February 28, 9:34 pm | [comment link]
5. Dr. William Tighe wrote:

“Ceterum censeo, Carthaginem esse delendam” is how Cato the Elder for many years ended every speech in the Roman Senate, no matter what its subject—and I, like him, would like to end my every discourse on the same note, substituting “sacerdotulas esse delendas” for Cato’s last three words.

February 28, 9:49 pm | [comment link]
6. Chris Hathaway wrote:

I wonder if Rowan liked the recent youth marketed adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma; “Clueless”.

February 28, 11:40 pm | [comment link]
7. larswife wrote:

Wow. This was the first time I’ve read something of ++Rowan’s that I actually understood what he was saying on first read.  Why can’t he be this clear when he talks of all things Anglican instead of when he’s only speaking to the secular world?  Are we sure he actually wrote it?

February 29, 12:44 am | [comment link]
8. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Of course adults are frightening, just look what alleged adults have done in the ECUSA/TEC/GCC/Whaz-Up-ites ecclesial grouping and to the Anglican Communion…

Not to mention procreating the youth into a less-than-perfect world NOT under Nazi or Communist domination with internet, iphones, and schools and expectations!

Naughty adults.  Naughty.  Naughty. 

Of course, there’s always CLOCKWORK ORANGE on the beneficence of youth, with its prophetic text messaging….........

February 29, 1:22 am | [comment link]
9. the holly wrote:

IMHO people in the student ministry world have been talking about this for years, recognizing for a multitude of reasons that our culture is becoming both increasingly frightened of young people and jealous of their youthfulness. in some places, the number of students who can come into a store is limited. (yes, i understand why but as [url=http://rocktheworld.org/]whis hays[/] has said a number of times, in this country we wouldn’t stand if stores were limiting based on gender or ethnicity.)  there is real discrimination. some would say with reason, but the reality is that there are still more adults who perpetrate crimes than youth. and, as christian smith et al pointed out in _soul searching_, many times young people are merely mimicking the behaviors (lying, cheating, alcohol/drug use, relational brokenness) that they see the adults do at home. so, instead of mocking the idea that there might be an issue - what can we do to be helpful to young people and change some of the stereotypes that are unhelpful?

February 29, 6:24 am | [comment link]
10. Cathy_Lou wrote:

I dunno.  When the groups of teenagers skipped school and smoked pot in the woods next door to me or tried to set my fence on fire, I somehow didn’t think I was the problem.  Or when I called police about the gang starting to meet in my neighborhood.  grin After that I certainly did look upon groups of unknown teens loitering in my neighborhood with suspicion.  It was very stressful and I’m glad to live elsewhere now.  And that stress was part of why we moved.

February 29, 11:11 am | [comment link]
11. Wilfred wrote:

#5 Dr Tighe -  When Cato concluded one his speeches on some other subject, with the call for the destruction of Carthage, did a Roman elf pop up and say something like, “Commento delenda est.  Non-topicus!” ?

February 29, 12:09 pm | [comment link]
12. Larry Morse wrote:

The ABC is merely uttering a common platitude, and like most platitudes. it has its proper measure of truth. The present young are moving strongly away from the corruptions so characteristic of their Baby Boomer parents, but they are no less liberal, only in different ways. That is, they are as unconnected with the past as their parents were and have as little use for it. The difference is that their world is created electronically; this is what they take their values from, this is what is real. They cannot grasp a world that was not run electronically; it is inconceivable to them. This electronic ontology has created a belief that they do not exist if someone is not watching them. And they are vastly more secular, more deeply in love with scientism and all it promises.
Moreover, their education has been functional and they have grown up, if I may use that phrase, without that “well-furnished” mind that is a sine qua non of a humanely educated man. They do have, however, a mind full of trivia, far more than preceding generations.

  More important, they are unable to be alone with themselves; they have developed a hive mentality that elementary school bred into them, the sense that they only exist in a group. Finally and closely related, they believe in self esteem, also bred into them in public school; they think themselves invaluable for no reason more compelling than that they exist. Everyone is equally valuable because everyone exists.  To believe otherwise is to damage self esteem, the worst of the crimes, and they connect this mind set with the vague category called “civil rights.”  (It is on this basis that they have become passionate advocates for homosexuality) LM

February 29, 7:29 pm | [comment link]
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