Icing on the Cake – Young and Foolish

Comments (0) Susie Dunn

Christmas celebrates the story of the arrival of a baby born in a cowshed in what is now known as the West Bank of the Palestinian Territories.

This baby grew up to a future with a lasting, world-wide effect. Celebrations within our region are just beginning in this special season of the Australian year.

Adults (generally) care passionately about their children, wanting them to live the best life they can. But – and I’m guilty of this – we often think that we always know best, and we fail to listen.  So we miss things. Young people embody our hope for the future. Dean Martin sang Young and Foolish – but the song does end I wish that I was young and foolish again.

I thought I’d ask the ARC’s Youth Council (ages 12 to 24) how they felt. Should we be providing drop-in centres? Is there really nothing to do here? Is it all a problem? Cara Barnes is the ARC’s Youth Services Co-Ordinator, with Laura and Citi sharing the Chair, and because of the HSC, the meeting of eight was smaller than usual. I met them by first names and thought they were sensible, sensitive and with a sense of fun, and on this sampling, incoming generations will work it out. Just like the rest of us. Since then, I’ve asked around. Not all people are the same and many problems call for shared solutions and understanding. Generational change appears politically evident in an increasing number of “western” countries. Let’s sit and listen more. They will inherit the world we leave them, and judge us.

Apparently young city people are becoming increasingly open to the idea of moving to the country. Let’s target this market, working to show them a lifestyle they can relate to, boosting our population.

UNE’s Oorala recently celebrated thirty years of existence serving Aboriginal students, and this year there are over 800 of them. Lynette Riley was the first Director and previous Vice-Chancellor; Ingrid Moses drove the construction of the purpose-built headquarters, another of the university’s great assets. Days of celebrations had something for everybody, including visits from Isaiah Firebrace, beautifully voiced Winner of The X Factor 2016, and Clayton Donovan, acclaimed Indigenous chef.

It’s also good to see the return of Aboriginal representation on the ARC, with the arrival of new Councillor Brad Widders. Aboriginal people are taking their rightful place in the nation’s life and showing just how much Walking Together enriches us all. Listen.

The Swire Group is “a multinational, multi-disciplined commercial group” for which I happen to have great admiration. It’s interesting to note in their latest magazine that “For businesses everywhere, sustainable practice and environmental protection are no longer an option but an essential part of doing business in the modern world”. I wish those words were engraved over the entrances to our Parliament Houses!

On so many fronts there are new advances.  A friend here has just finished his new house. I thought I was on the ball with double glazing, soundchek, solar panels etc. but he has new “bonded” glass windows and doors (cheaper, better looking and potentially more effective), new heated flooring solutions and all sorts of environmental, renewable tricks! He’s definitely on the ball!

I don’t know how many readers are tired of certain words – innovation, change fatigue, disruption, politics, elections … I think I’ll just talk about magpies apparently winning the battle over the predator currawongs in town. I love magpies and their serenading and haven’t had problems, recognising that at breeding time the males have a protective instinct best respected by avoiding them.

As a passionate supporter of UNE, and despite general feelings of seasonal goodwill, I am nonetheless furious that their current ads give the distinct impression that only online study is the way to go. An on-campus education offers special opportunities that can influence students for life. University education is more than passing exams. Perhaps next year we can see that message spread. Meanwhile, with Christmas markets and general goodwill, let’s give thanks for what we have and hope for – and above all, be kind to each other.

Susie Dunn

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