Tuesday, 9 August 2011


As I wake up this morning to yet more images of destruction on my screen, my heart is grieved. Yes, for the people who have lost their businesses and livelihoods. Yes, for the communities who have lost their souls. Mostly though, I ache for those young men and women who have caused this horrific, rampant devastation. I know that not many will agree with me, and most will feel anger towards them.

I live with 3 small boys who often struggle with anger. Sometimes, in their anger, they throw things, break things and smash things. Sometimes, I see their eyes flash and they lose their tempers. Sometimes they take out their anger, which usually has it's roots in something totally unrelated, on other people or possessions. It is a scary moment when the anger almost takes control and gives them a strength they did not have before. We teach our boys that this is not the way to deal with anger. Anger is an emotion which needs to be recognised and then learnt how to control. One of my boys has struggled with this in particular, and I know that had we not spent years training him (with many more to come) and praying for him, he might one day have used his anger for wrong in the future.

Reading the BBC website, there was a quote from a Conservative MP, Peter Luff, who said "There is no single explanation for this anarchy but the rioters are likely to be products of failed families - bored, selfish, unloved young men." Whatever you think of politics, or of Mr Luff himself, this rings true and breaks my heart.

These young men are unloved, untrained, undervalued, under parented. They do not know their place in society. They are angry. No-one has taught them how to control their anger and direct it for good. No-one has given them confidence in themselves. They do not know the potential they have. They have not been loved for who they are, and encouraged to change for the better. Nobody has taught them respect for property or people. No-one has taught them to obey those in authority. They have not been loved and do not know how to love. They are selfish because they have had to be to survive. Nobody has shown them how to be real men, not the macho image of a man that is in the media, but men who know how to love, how to respect, how to treat women with courtesy, how to lead others, how to have courage in the face of adversity, how to fight for the right things. These young men are lacking all that they need for the foundation of their lives.

I am not in any way condoning their behaviour and of course, they need to meet the consequences head on, but to me this is a product of our times. We have elevated the status of young women, and in the process we have squashed young men down so much that we now have a generation of almost feral, angry men who are ready to fight back. How do we respond? I don't claim to have all the answers. Loving the unlovely seems the right response to me. As hard as it may be, these boys need us.

1 comment:

Jo said...

I am with you all the way. My heart breaks for those young men and women who have so little hope that they resort to this.