F*** the world

 In Educational Leadership

‘F*** THE WORLD. I’M THE MOST IMPORTANT’. That was the printed message on a hoodie worn by a sloth of a teenager – aged about 15 – who was slouching in a Centrelink office. He was either the Grand Master of the ‘Me Me Me’ movement, or a devout follower.

A highly regarded gentleman, with a CV most would only dream of, stood leaning against his walking frame, reading the message. He called the teenager over and told him that what was written on the hoodie was most inappropriate.

‘You wouldn’t speak to your mother like that, would you?’ he asked.

‘She talks to me like that’, the teenager replied.

The gentleman had a quiet but firm word to the teenager and then watched as he walked away and stood against the wall to prevent anyone else reading his hoodie. Apparently, he had learned a lesson.

This gentleman, like many of his age and wisdom, are labelled pale, male and stale. There’s nothing they haven’t been attacked about. Simply because they’re female, women angrily demand the right to replace these men, yet bully them into silence for fear of being accused of harassment. Teachers promote climate change strikes and blame them for destroying the planet and failing to act. Teenagers mock our history and attack them for Australia’s existence as a western nation, and for their failure to give them everything for nothing.

Men like this gentleman are few and far between. You could say they’re from the ‘old school’. They understand responsibility, community, dignity, sacrifice and compassion. They’ve endured a life we cannot begin to imagine, even if they’ve come out well off on the other side.

The sloth in Centrelink will never be the same again. He was given a lifeline and an education on ‘real world’ matters – not by an angry uneducated women, or an uneducated irresponsible teacher, or a selfish uneducated teenager, but by a stranger who cared. This is education the system does not provide.

Next time you see an elder male, introduce yourself, ask him about his life – in particular his childhood and his family. Take the time to listen. Chances are you’ll also get a lifeline. These men aren’t pale and they’re certainly not stale; they’re the last of God’s Police and they won’t be with us forever.

Even more importantly, think about the sloth and where he will be 60 years from now. Let’s hope his life turns around after his Centrelink lesson. We can only hope he’ll become the leader of a new group of teens – motivated, responsible, and determined to give back, set an example, and be beacons of light for freedom and prosperity. We need a new generation of God’s Police.

May the legacy of our great elders live on and may our youth embrace the greatest role models that ever lived, before it’s too late.

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