How far we’ve come

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

We kids had our school days dur­ing the hor­rors of World War II. Many fa­thers were over­seas in the forces. Mothers were of­ten on war work, and so grand­par­ents and older peo­ple took over. Younger male teach­ers (of which there were more back then) were also in the forces.

Our school prin­ci­pal was past re­tire­ment age, and wasn’t pre­pared to take any non­sense from pupils, par­ents, Ed­u­ca­tion Dept or any­one. In spite of his age he could bowl the rest of the staff out play­ing cricket, and was a strict but ex­cel­lent coach. We dared not get smart, but we liked the old boy.

Our class teacher was older, and with a rugby in­jury which made him un­fit for mil­i­tary ser­vice. He was a super teacher, able to pa­tiently ex­plain maths and the dif­fi­cult skill sub­jects, and would quote po­ems, Shake­speare, to suit the oc­ca­sion. All pupils in his class of 45 — plus Ma¯ ori did have a good grasp of English.

A big class of 11 and 12 year olds, a mixed-up bunch. I guess we were spoiled kids.

Af­ter-school ten­nis on our lawn with the net made out of an old floun­der net. We mowed the grass with push mow­ers, and Grand­fa­ther had some­how pro­duced some white lines that were near enough. To cool off we had a beau­ti­ful river pool handy. That crys­tal clear pool is still there but pol­luted these days, and un­used.

We all had push bikes, some made from parts, but in sum­mer we could all bike to the beach or to the sail­ing club to rig up our lit­tle home-built P class yachts to race or sail to an is­land for a pic­nic. (Mine cost 12 pounds ($24), with a loan from a great aunt and from Gran, plus mow­ing lawns and chop­ping fire­wood for­ever.

There was food rationing, but from the gar­den and the sea plus wise use of ra­tion tick­ets for food and cloth­ing (you are pretty old if you re­mem­ber them) we had a healthy diet. Old un­cles and grand­fa­thers ex­er­cised with the Home Guard and kept their 303s clean.

There was real fear of a Ja­panese in­va­sion, but we kids were able to have se­cu­rity, care and aroha. Sea Scouts and Girl Guides, a choice of sports, and plenty of adult help. We were, in spite of child­hood wor­ries about fam­ily mem­bers at war, too happy and se­cure to get into trou­ble.

Most said grace be­fore meals, and Chris­tian prin­ci­ples were respected. A girl asked our teacher if he be­lieved in God and got a sim­ple “Yes.” We sort of guessed he did. So­ci­ety is now start­ing to have to cope with (sorry edi­tor) crap TV mad psy­cho­log­i­cal the­o­ries, smacks with a wet, bus ticket pun­ish­ment for drug push­ers and bul­lies who need psy­cho­log­i­cal help. And for good­ness’ sake don’t read the straight an­swers to our so­cial prob­lems as laid out by Christ, be­cause they work.

We have these mount­ing crime and vi­o­lence fig­ures in our beau­ti­ful is­lands. Time for the old Kiwi prac­ti­cal com­mon sense and Chris­tian val­ues to speak up. HAMIORA

Kerik­eri

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