Friday, March 7, 1997

Don't forget the kids

What has become clear in recent months is that far too many of Yellowknife's children are being left home alone for no good reason.

Last month police and social workers responded to several incidents where children were either left alone to fend for themselves, or home with an adult who was in no shape to aid any of them in times of distress.

And that is nothing short of shameful.

Sure, Yellowknife is not a mega-city where parents must guard their children from sexual predators. But neither is it a tiny hamlet where the community -- in many cases -- can be relied on to help raise

the children.

Relying on taxpayer-financed institutions such as the RCMP and the Department of Social Services to pick up the slack when parents neglect the care of their kids is not community care. It is irresponsible.

If we are not prepared to renew such traditions as "looking after the neighbor's kids" then we must ensure parents make proper arrangements for the care of their children when heading out for the night, or even for a few minutes.

The only way to guarantee such measures are taken is to punish severely those who don't follow the rules.

Those punishments must include taking children into custody, extensive rehabilitation, counselling and education.

Or we can turn a blind eye to the situation and pretend it just isn't there. Can society's collective conscience bear the baggage that comes with injured, scarred and dead children?

If it can, then stay the present course. If it can't, then let's do something about it.

This approach may hurt feelings in the short term, but better some sore pride now than the procession behind a tiny pine box in the future, which could catch up with us at any time. ( 3/7/97 )

Listening skills

Last week the Rotary Club organized a youth conference in Yellowknife so that the city's teenagers could get together to discuss the issues that most concern them.

One worry that surfaced was the fear that no one would listen to their proposals. That responsibility falls to adults.

If teenagers are willing to sit down and spend some time putting together ideas for dealing with the problems such as unplanned pregnancies, the very least adults can do is listen. The problems teens face are serious. Any effort they make to resolve them should be taken seriously. ( 3/7/97 )


John Coumont is a man with a vision. Yellowknife's next washer-dryer tycoon is opening a laundromat that will be wired to the virtual world.

While you are doing your laundry you will be able to pass the time surfing the Net on coin-operated terminals. Now, that's a good idea.

No longer will Net addicts be recognizable by their unkempt clothes. No longer will you have to worry about taking a good book along. And finally, someone may be able to find the answer to the problem of that one missing sock. ( 3/7/97 )