Friday, February 23, 2007

Smacking? There's worse...

I'm always amazed at the kinds of debates that rage over issues such as smacking. 2 points of view with so many (and arcane) underlying motivations.

My stance on the issue actually differs somewhat depending on which way I look at the issue. I am not a practitioner of smacking - especially for discipline - but I will smack (one, short, sharp) in situations of danger where Rhys is unresponsive. I'm not trying to rescue him, I am simulating the shock response he would have had had I not intervened - substituting a controlled "danger" for danger that might actually do harm. I'm trying to protect him from immediate consequences without him missing out on the lesson that consequences teaches. I think of it a little like the kind person that helps the butterfly escape its cocoon and in doing so deprives it of the critical development opportunity it needed in doing that task itself. Butterflies that don't get out on their own, can't fly. I know its not a perfect analogy but you get my point.

But fundamentally and personally I am anti-smacking for disciplinary reasons. I think consequences of wrongdoing can be brought home in other ways.

However, I support the right of parents to work this out as much as I support the resourcing of alternatives eg timeout etc.

All this to say: Sue Bradford's straw baby "smacking is assault" claim doesn't hold water. Assault is wilful (or perhaps reckless) harm. Smacking may or may not be assault by that definition.

Where I become offended is when the rhetoric exceeds the issues. The Sue Bradford approach links NZ's record on child abuse to smacking. It's a view that's not sustainable, nor is it supported by the Unicef reports or recent years. The Unicef report DOES pinpoint drinking, which is why of course we lowered the drinking age. It DOES pinpoint drug taking which is why we are one of the softest countries out there on drugs and ignore party drugs. It does pinpoint poverty which is why John Key gets mocked for political profit when he raises the issue of hungry children in our schools (and I am not a National supporter OK?)

One thing not often mentioned, that I think is the cause of massive rates of child abuse, is NZ's lax legislation on abortion. We have pretty liberal laws in this area and appallingly liberal practice. Officially you can get an abortion in NZ:

> to save the life of the woman
> to preserve the physical health of the woman
> to preserve the
mental health of the woman
foetal impairment
> in cases of
rape or incest

Practically its much easier.

The Abortion Supervisory Committee collects statistics on the numbers of terminations performed each year, and for what reason under the terms of the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977. There were 17,530 abortions performed in New Zealand in 2005, compared with 18,210 in 2004 and 18,510 in 2003. As the annual statistics for the Abortion Supervisory Committee have repeatedly noted, mental health grounds are the predominant grounds for most certified abortions in New Zealand. In any year, 98–99 percent of all abortions are performed because of serious danger to the mental health of the woman. I find it hard to believe that so many women are in such serious danger that it justifies killing a child.

That's 50,000 plus children killed in 3 years. This compare to the Family First's reported cases were a parent has got off an smacking assault charge by reference to the "reasonable force" defence: 16 cases.

Makes you wonder whether the maypole dancers are missing the point (again).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Aussie Bashing

Does it get any better? A blackwash against the Aussies! For those that want to point to an undergunned Aussie team - they managed 2 scores in excess of 300 and both times we chased them down. Its batsmen they've rested (Ponting, Gilchrist, Clarke), not bowlers - OK so Brett Lee was out invalided out before a ball was bowled and today McGrath didn't play but Bond and Vettori were also rested today and Mills is gone with an injury.

The reality is: the Aussie attack is not the same without Shane Warne and with an aging Glen McGrath playing inconsistently. They'll come again, don't worry about that - but for now, its 3-0...go home...

Some kudos for Bracewell: he picked Taylor and Fulton consistently and they are flourishing. He brought McMillan back from the death - he just played his best one day innings for NZ. And give him credit, he hasn't always seen eye to eye with Lou Vincent, but he knew when to bring him back once Astle retired. With its team rested and fit for the world cup, I give NZ an outside chance.

My tip? Sri Lanka.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Muse

So I decided I needed an identity for my scriptwriting work and maybe even extending it to other copywriting and consulting:
In Greek mythology the muses were the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science. The idea of a muse as a "source of inspiration" flows from this. So MUSE will take the raw materials of an organisation, product, website, video idea etc and provide the "inspiration" - mostly the wordsmithing I'm guessing, but maybe also the consulting edge. It may go nowhere, but it would be a preferred way of doing the bi-vocational thing than taking another job.

(Thanks to Rhett for the font...)

From Nightmare to Dream

It's been a tough week. I decided to check in with my old boss last week, with an eye to a possible future that has me back in bi-vocational land. Within 90 seconds I'd been offered a 2 week (full time) contract. I decided to take it and drop the church work back to half time. They were desperate and so it seemed like the right thing to do. The plan is that it will mean there is more money in the church bank account as a result when I really need to be a one-job man ie when the baby arrives June/July. Anyways, I enjoyed the teaching and the people, but its been one of those express train weeks which I remember with so much fondness from the early days of cessioncommunity (not). Lots of late nights catching up on emails and the things that won't wait.

It was capped off by a strategic planning day which I'd agreed to do for Auckland Habitat affiliate, before the job rearrangement. Can I say with passion, it was the last thing I wanted to do! I was knackered, missing my family and frankly feeling like I would be thoroughly out of depth working with a board of accountants, lawyers and other professionals, plus the office staff and building team supervisors. A truly disparate group and really too large.

But it went well. It was very taxing. But it still went well. So well, that the board chairman offered me another consulting role with another organisation (and he should have known better if I really did a crap job). It got me thinking afterwards about how I once held the dream of doing consulting for organisations - when I started the MBA it was one of those things I hoped would take me out of law. It kinda got lost in the whole "call to becoming a pastor" and I was OK with that. But for a long time, it was my dream and something that spurred me on during my MBA studies.

So while the week itself was a nightmare of sorts, there was something of a restoration of a dream that was a bit unexpected.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Branding the Church

Sunday night we began our DNA series - part of orienting the cessioncommunity around our Vision, Mission and Values as we kick off this new year.

It was fun - at one stage we used a clip from "The Corporation" to introduce the idea of the church as a brand. Interesting.

Anyways, we've been trying to do some branding through the local print media - just seeing how we go with it. Trying to do something very different to the standard advertising recitation of the consumer options...

Its been fun...who knows: it may even be effective!