This ever-increasing indifference to violence is not easily fixed

What do I mean by indifference to violence. It's simple enough. Remember back to your youth when you saw the news of a terrible disaster, auto accident, or sinking of a ship. In the days of only six or so TV channels, we were pretty awe-stuck and felt badly for the victims.

Now, think of how often you hear of even worse disasters via the media. Do you feel the same? It's impossible. You become almost numb to the increasing number of events, bombings, and disputes. The human brain can't process so much negative information so it protects us by closing the connections to our emotional centers. It isn't a matter of our age, it's the over-abundance that makes nothing remarkable anymore. That's an indifference to violence.

Well, today, we no longer have only six TV channels. Our children are bombarded by news stories all of the time, from all angles. And, worst of all, they are where we were thirty or forty years ago. They are only starting out. They have already become desensitized, and it will only get worse, not better. Put a rapidly growing population, multiple faiths, wars over diminishing oil deposits and the media, all on the same planet, and your have one giant snowball that just can't stop!

The only ones responsible for the balanced development of the next generation are the parents, and the family unit. An indifference to violence exists and will worsen. Afterall, kids think they are immortal. Unfortunately, parents may not be aware of indifference in this fashion. We must ensure that our youth is mindful of, and cares about, human life. Simply because there are many more people in the world now doesn't mean that the ones we have are disposable!

When I was a young boy my family would visit our cottage in New Brunswick every fall. Already checked out on the safe use of a rifle, I was free to travel the river bed and shoot at tree branches, tin cans and the occasion bird, rarely hitting any.

Then one day I happened upon a fluffy white rabbit on the road from the cottage. I fired, not missing this time, and it writhed and bounced repeatedly. I called my father to come help and he quickly grabbed the animal by the hind legs and swung it once, hard against a tree. It looked like an awful thing to do, but the rabbit no longer suffered.

From that moment on I never hurt, or even stepped on, another living thing. I even avoided squashing insects when possible. My pending indifference to violence was nipped in the bud. The shock helped me turn back the clock on sensitivity. I am not saying that having your kids go out and shoot a helpless animal is the way to start, but perhaps there are other methods to consider.

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The remedies, or hopefuls, come in two forms, one a shock... I've often thought that a trip to a hospital cancer ward or burn unit might provide the jolt needed. Perhaps hearing real stories from paramedics or firemen would do the trick. And two, limiting day to day exposure to the news... removing violent action games to be sure, avoiding sports that glorify violence, like hockey, and dumping what they call professional wrestling on TV.

Of course, having your child deeply interested in activities like writing short stories and others will also help slow their indifference to violence.

Don't be fooled into thinking that 'time cures all'. That 'everything will be alright'. It won't! You cannot afford to let another day go by without carefully examining what your ten or twelve year old is watching, playing and making fun of. Yes, observing them make fun of something is the best way to discover who your child mimics and what they have grown insensitive to.

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