We don’t like kids in Ireland. Oh, individually we do. We love a cute baby, or a wee moppet, or pictures of kids on a strand in summer. We love our own kids. But as a society we don’t. All we have to do is look at the way we deal with them over decades and we can’t but accept that we don’t like kids.
We don’t want them in restaurants, or in the pub. We don’t want them in some hotels or in shops in their nasty buggies – what, cant they walk?
We throw up massive barriers to adoption ensuring that kids stay institutionalised rather than having a chance at a family.
We don’t want, as a society, to allow the creation of a economic structure that allows parents the choice to either stay at home full time or to entrust them to the care of a decent system of child care.
We don’t invest in schools instead allowing literal generations of children to be educated in rotting prefabs. We don’t even provide a system of national education, instead fobbing it off to religious groups over decades.
We don’t have a decent nationwide system of sports facilities, again relying on voluntary sports organizations some of which have only recently emerged blinking from tunnels of sporting and actual sectarianism. We don’t have playgrounds, and seem incapable of planning for children going to school despite there being 5-6 years warning from birth to school.
We don’t like it when unmarried mothers have more of them and have at least moved on from snatching these kids and imprisoning the mams, instead happy now in the enlightened eras to allow them to stay together in dire poverty . We couldn’t be bothered to invest over decades in ameliorating the deepest poverty, instead happy to fling the resultant broken kids into the savage maw of lunatic religious or latterly into a creaking state system of prison. Actually, we kinda hope that they would just overdose already and save us some money.
We don’t like the idea that we might have to mind them, instead wanting to use schools as surrogate homes and wonder why the hell the teachers get all that time off when they could be minding teaching our kids. We don’t want kids to have a say in how things are run, even big kids, so we ensure that we run referenda and elections when they can’t make it.
We don’t want their voices heard so we don’t bother appointing voices of kids (as opposed to some of the excellent voices for kids) to the Seanad, instead appointing people that would make Caligula’s Horse seem like Talleyrand.
We don’t want them to play, ensuring that absent playgrounds the roads and estates are determinedly child-surly to put it at its best. We didn’t plan when we had the money and we cant be bothered now to plan for integrated housing estates that have the amenities for families instead treating them as combination battery housing/investment portfolios
We dont want kids seeing their parents, instead creating and fostering economic structures and social mores that encourage ultra commuting and the necessity for both parents to work. Meanwhile a soi disant socialist minister is busy dismantling the child support networks such as they are.
We don’t want them to grow up healthy, not bothering to put in place proper nutritional programs. We are happy to have sweet and tuck shops in schools and to allow schools to be ringed by chippers and kebab joints – sure didn’t we have no dinner just a jam sangwidge between 9 of us and we had to make the jam ourselves etc etc etc..
We don’t want them to be healthy as that would involve a decent national children’s hospital which has served as a most useful political football over decades. Anyhow we don’t want them to survive as we can’t be bothered to invest in the normal quota of high end medical staff in the hospitals we have. God, or the market (there seems to be a conflation of these in some peoples minds) will provide. We don’t want them to stay sane, as that would require investment into childhood psychiatric and psychological services (anyhow the evidence is that the fine ‘minds’ of Dáil Éireann are not at all convinced that mental health is a real issue …).
We don’t want them to be cluttering up the streets when they can’t get a job, and we sure don’t want to bother with all that expense and trouble of intervening in youth unemployment blackspots. Sure didn’t we have to emigrate and there was no Ryanair then, no we had to SWIM to Holyhead…
I could go on but I need to go to work. The Primetime report last night on creche abuse was horrific. It was enough to make me as a parent cry and to feel murderous rage that someone would do these things to smallies. But then, when I woke up this AM, I realised … this is part of what we are. We don’t, as a nation, like kids.
Also posted on Brian’s blog, here.