Oct. 18th, 2009 02:37 pm
wsdante: (Default)
Last few posts are just a 'blart' to get some thoughts and notes into one place. The topic re-emerged recently with a friend and I promised to put some stuff up for them to check out if they felt like it.

This isn't by any means all the material from over a year ago now, but, like I said, I just needed to 'blart'. I may post more up at a later date.

(Whatever 'blart' means... :o)
wsdante: (Default)

2004 Childrens Act) which took effect in early January which limits this form of punishment to mild smacking, but any hitting or smacking which results in lasting bruises, cuts, scratches, or
swellings can now face up to 5 years in jail for child abuse.

From 2004 Childrens Act:

58 Reasonable punishment (1) In relation to any offence specified in subsection (2), battery of a child cannot be justified on the ground that it constituted reasonable punishment.
(2) The offences referred to in subsection (1) are—
(a) an offence under section 18 or 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 (c. 100) (wounding and causing grievous bodily harm);
(b) an offence under section 47 of that Act (assault occasioning actual bodily harm);
(c) an offence under section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (c. 12) (cruelty to persons under 16).
(3) Battery of a child causing actual bodily harm to the child cannot be justified in any civil proceedings on the ground that it constituted reasonable punishment.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (3) “actual bodily harm” has the same meaning as it has for the purposes of section 47 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861.


Published: 2005/01/15 17:23:17 GMT

New smacking law comes into force

Parents in England and Wales who smack children so hard it leaves a mark will face up to five years in jail under new laws in force from Saturday.
Mild smacking is allowed under a "reasonable chastisement" defence against common assault.

But any punishment which causes visible bruising, grazes, scratches, minor swellings or cuts can face action.

The law is flawed and there should be a total ban on smacking, according to child protection charity the NSPCC.

It said the new law will only confuse parents and leave children still at risk of abuse.

" It should be as wrong to hit a child as an adult"
Mary Marsh

NSPCC boss Mary Marsh said: "There is a risk parents may choose to hit children on parts of their body where injury is less visible, such as the head, which can cause serious harm.

"Defining acceptable ways to hit children should become a thing of the past.

"It should be just as wrong to hit a child as it is to hit an adult."

The measures were passed in the Children Act last November, when the government suffered a rebellion by 47 Labour MPs who wanted a total ban on smacking.

A similar law is already in operation in Scotland.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education and Skills said the new laws were a "common sense" decision to balance child protection with parents' autonomy.

She added: "Abuse is abuse and should be prosecuted. We are not going to tolerate criminal violence against children."

Supporters of smacking say it is an essential part of parents being able to discipline their children.

The head teacher of the Christian Fellowship School in Liverpool, Phil Williamson, said the new rules would be impossible to police.

"The law doesn't say how big the mark has to be, how long the mark has to last for.

"It also ignores totally black children who don't mark and don't go red. It's just a ridiculous law," he said.


On 15 June 2007, the Government launched a narrowly-focused consultation to review the "practical consequences" of the current law allowing parents and others to justify common assault of children as "reasonable punishment" (section 58 of the Children Act 2004).

The practical consequences of section 58 are clear: parental confusion, professional uncertainty, legal ambiguity and policy inconsistency.

However, most importantly, section 58 is unjust and fails to satisfy human rights obligations under United Nations and European agreements.

The Alliance is disappointed that these human rights and equality considerations are not centre-stage in the Government’s review, but will continue to press this principled case in the review process and all other arenas.

Sir William Utting, spokesperson for the Alliance, said: "We do not need a review of the current law to know that it is unjust and unequal. However, we welcome any opportunity to show that the UK should satisfy human rights obligations by modernising the law on assault to give children the same protection as adults."

Colette Marshall, UK Director of Save the Children, said: "Hitting children, like hitting anyone else, is unacceptable. Save the Children welcomes the opportunity for the UK government to meet its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by modernising this law."



Coping with Post-Trauma Stress
by Frank Parkinson
ISBN 0-85969-843-2

Assertiveness, Step by Step
by Dr Windy Dryden & Daniel Constantinou
ISBN 0-85969-925-0

How to be a Great Dad
by Ian Bruce
ISBN 0-572-03134-3

Difficult Conversations
by Anne Dickson
ISBN 0-7499-2675-9

Toxic Parents
Dr Susan Forward
ISBN 0-553-05700-6


Oct. 18th, 2009 02:31 pm
wsdante: (Default)

"So many people toss the word "love" around without the slightest idea of what it means or how it's supposed to feel. Love is behavior. It's the way you treat someone and nourish their emotional and spiritual well being. Loving behavior doesn't grind you down, keep you off-balance or diminish your confidence and dignity. When someone truly loves you feel accepted, cared for, valued and respected. You feel safe."

(Dr Susan Forward Ph.D)
wsdante: (Default)
I wish I could see the stars as poets do,
But I see indifferent chemical reactions.
My father claims he created me,
Yet, in the same breath, denies it.
wsdante: (Default)

There was once a hard working carpenter who had four sons. The eldest was bright and clever and wished to expand his horizons through Further Education. This pleased the carpenter very much and, as his beloved first son prepared to leave, he came to his son and said, "You make me so proud. Take this prime timber and the best tools from my shed and build yourself a cart that you can travel faster and in greater safety as you make your way in the world."

And so, well equipped and supplied, the eldest son travelled far and learned many Facts, eventually making a Fairly Good Life for Himself in Foreign Parts Thank you Very Much.

The second son was more introspective and often baffled and frustrated the carpenter by Questioning Established Thinking. Occasionally, the poor carpenter was forced to beat him just to stop him being so uncertain about things. Eventually, this son decided that he wished to continue his apprenticeship with a neighbouring carpenter whose Philosophies Matched His Own. Although disappointed, the carpenter finally realised that there was no dissuading him and sent him on his way saying, "You'll probably not need this, but here is some passable lumber from the store shed that you can take with you and please take what tools you need from what your older brother left behind to get you started."

And so, the second son made his way to the neighbouring village and, after some setbacks, did passably well for himself (despite some minor health issues).

The third son was more Challenging than even the second son. Although very bright, he expressed very little interest in carpentry, especially considering the third-rate quality of the timber left in the store shed. His restless spirit yearned to experience the Good and Bad in the World Outside. Discouraged and Disappointed, the carpenter was impelled to beat him regularly to Keep Him On The Right Path. But this, strangely, seemed only to encourage the third son's Negative Behaviour.

Unfortunately, the saddened carpenter didn't know what else he could do.

When the time came for the third son to make his way into the world, all he found was a Message nailed to the tool shed door. It read: "Son, you are almost as intelligent as your oldest brother and know more of the Good and Bad in the World Outside than my second son (...mostly, I fear, through Direct Experience). I've tried to beat you back onto the Right Path, but you have still Disappointed Us All. I really don't know where You Went Wrong. However, Let It Not Be Said that I didn't give my offspring the same opportunities. Take these tools and make your way in the world."

The third son took up the blunt saw and the loose-headed hammer he had been bequeathed and, with a resigned shrug and a brief hopeful backward glance, he wandered off.

Fortunately, by the time the fourth son came to age, the carpenter (having now fewer expenses) had restocked his timber and tools. The carpenter had also grown more mellow as time had passed. Once in a while his Conscience would try to get his attention about something or other, (but his Pride soon sorted that nonsense out).

Nevertheless, the youngest son came to know a gentler, more thoughtful and generous father than certain of his siblings had. Indeed, the carpenter did his best to ensure that his remaining son did not want for Love and Support. Suffice to say, he never strayed far from home for long.

So, time passed. The eldest son, continued to do well for himself and would, every so often, grace his Family Home with the honour of a quick visit. The carpenter would clasp his clever and noble son to his breast and they would discuss serious matters together in a manly and knowledgeable fashion until the early hours.

The Second son conducted a quiet and humdrum existence in the neighbouring village and tried not to involve himself too much. He spent his time immersed in his own particular brand of carpentry so that the outside world couldn't intrude too much.

The third son didn't have such a great time of things. With the inadequate tools at his disposal, he made rather a hash of things. A number of times, he returned to his father and bemoaned the sorry tool kit he had been given. His father would frown and, tutting at the lack of gratitude from his son (It's not like his other sons caused him so much inconvenience), would hand over another blunt saw blade and some string to hold the hammer together.

The third son began to feel that perhaps he had had a rather poor deal overall, but felt reluctant to say anything to his family. His siblings obviously had been brought up by the same man and they were Doing Fine For Themselves weren't they?. Hadn't his father always helped him when his tools broke? He felt Guilty for being so Ungrateful and Saddened that he was such a Burden to Them All.

He resolved to be less of a Burden and tried his best to fashion his own tools. With a little advice here and some trial and error there, he began to do a little better.

However, around his father and brothers, he felt like he had let them all down for having made such a hash of things.

"Oh look," his brothers would say to each other, "Here he comes again probably expecting father to fix his tools for him. So typical. You don't see us bothering father with things like that."

But the third son would sometimes overhear and feel worse than ever - even though he tried hard to rely on his own hard won tool kit now. He realised that the family would always view him as the complaining one who never took responsibility for his tools.

Once or twice he got up the courage to voice his feelings but they didn't seem to want to understand. Once or twice he stormed off intending never to return but soon found out just how inadequate his cobbled-together tool kit was. He would return, shame-faced to the shaking heads and the sighs of his family. And so, in a subdued fashion, he would try to fit in again.

It is the way of things, that it takes only one small, and seemingly everyday thing, to cause catastrophic effects (this is especially true of camels for some reason). The third son had mistakenly exercised his right to something which ended up upsetting one of his brothers. For the purposes of this tale, it actually doesn't matter what it was. The carpenter berated the third son for hurting his brother's feelings and told the third son that he was tactless and insensitive.

The third son became angry and finally determined to raise his Concerns with his father and made it known that that was what he would do.

Well, almost immediately, the greatest furore erupted. His audacity astounded them all and the family turned on the third son berating him for his insensitivity, his malice, his ingratitude, his troublemaking and, well, just about anything else they thought might fit.


The third son was deeply saddened by the response - but hardly surprised. Nevertheless, he said what he had to say to his father. He had hoped for so many years that things would improve by themselves one day. He realised his folly.

It would be nice to finish this tale by saying that everyone realised the error of their ways and they all had a group hug and lived happily ever after but, well, that sort of the thing only happens in the more saccharin-laden animated movies, doesn't it. The truth is, people don't want their well-rationalised world to be challenged by inconvenient truths, especially when they are spouted by envious minorities, do they, children?

In reality, the third son realised fairly quickly the way the wind was blowing, sadly gave up on any further vain hope and left for good to do the best he could with his cobbled together tool-kit. This time he didn't look back. As time passed, he made good enough tools of his own and finally cast aside the old inferior ones.

The rest of the family, sighing, tutting and shaking their heads at the third son's folly, went back to their normal lives with minimum fuss. Occasionally, when the topic arose, one of them would mutter, "Ah, well, He's the one who walked away from his family, wasn't he? It's not like it's the first time he's gone off in a strop is it?. He'll be back with his tail between his legs, you'll see. Ungrateful bugger.

The old carpenter would nod silently as he watched the embers dying in the grate.


The End


wsdante: (Default)


Preparations for days like these are challenging, especially given the numbness that descends in the surreal atmosphere of the days immediately following the death of a loved one.
It is a blessing, I suppose, that there is such a daunting list of things to be done.
Well, we got here relatively smoothly, and the fact that it went so smoothly is, I think, a credit to dad's example to his family.
His sons, faced with an intimidating task, focussed instead on what was practical and important: saying our personal farewells to dad, arranging todays ceremonies and ensuring that mum was, and will continue to be, supported.


Unfortunately for me, the email obituary we composed between us now contains a number of the phrases I had originally planned to use today. Surely, though, in a life as rich and unceasingly industrious as dad's, there is a bottomless well of subject matter.


But, how do you write a eulogy? It's not as if, fates willing, we get to practice very regularly.

What do you mention? What do you omit?

How long do you monopolise the podium for..............................?


Given that eulogies are, by their nature, subjective, do all the sterling qualities or amusing anecdotes we cite have to be strictly accurate and verifiable? Indeed, does the government have a committee for 'Eulogical' Veracity yet?

...sorry, just checking for cameras...


Indeed, how appropriate are amusing anecdotes and jokes?


I recall, for instance, being, as any child would be, in awe of my dad's consummate skills as a handyman. I picture him even now, manfully rubbing down a second floor window frame, his ladder, in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work act of... 1874, was firmly planted on the somewhat damp and slightly algae covered flagstones of our backyard in New Longton. To this ten year old child, he was the very Michaelangelo of the Mortar; the Picasso of Putty, the Cezanne of Sanding Down.
I eventually pulled myself away and stepped indoors.
Shortly after, we were startled by the sound of aluminium clattering against unyielding york stone accompanied by a muted curse.
We rushed out to find that dad's modest Sistine Chapel had ungratefully rejected his scaffolding.
We found him sitting, for the most part, on the now horizontal, and neatly folded, ladder.

He had, we learned soon after, broken his leg in the fall, but with a strangely puzzled frown reminiscent of the best Clint Eastwood movies, he spat out the now empty filter of his Senator cigar, and growled “Anyone seen me glasses?”
He was one tough cookie, our dad.


The departure of ones we cared for will always give us pause for recollection and reflection not just on their lives but on how our own lives were affected by having crossed theirs.

I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that for many of us here today, having this man's presence in our lives has, in one way or another, made us better people in our own.
He was, to me, a man with his own unwavering code of duty, courage, faith and personal values.

Dad, you never were much of a one for lie-ins but, along with the rewards your beliefs promise you, I wish you peace now and a well-deserved rest.


wsdante: (ME)

Really buggered up in the sleep pattern department.


Submitted the latest version of the 'e-obituary' tonight (Dad in graduation gown from, I don't know, ten years ago perhaps). Hopefully the last version since the wording has now changed to a degree that I can't claim any 'ownership' of it. This doesn't bother me particularly, to be honest. Obituaries written by people close to the deceased can never be strictly objective.

Managed to talk to #1 about the increasing number of hymns I was expected to contribute to at the requiem. I pointed out that my original impression was that I should select one of the two he sent me and learn the guitar for that. Over the last week, this seemed to grow. At the eventual mention of 'Amazing Grace' I truly felt discomfort. I told him I was getting twitchy because:

a) My agoraphobia was going to be going off big-time in the church, especially as I was at least committed to hanging in there until the hymns were over and had no subtle way of escaping if I began to freak out.

b) As the family member most known for being non-Christian, I really wasn't going to be comfortable singing uber-Christian lyrics at people even if I could act like they meant anything.

c) My M.E. would drop me like a sack of the proverbial if I had to perform three or four hymns at the requiem and then do a speech at the crematorium. Given the choice, I know which commitment I would want to pace myself for.


He was very understanding and accommodating anyway, so I needn't have worried. Turns out I'll strum along to two songs and there is no 'requirement' for me to sing.


I think I've finished my Eulogy now. I'm giving it a couple of days before reading it back, just to make sure. It's not too bad if I say so myself. I heard today that I am going to be the first up of the three speeches so at least the chances are that mine won't be the one they remember.

I guess I'm just impatient to get the rituals out of the way. Two weeks is a long time to brood before saying a final farewell. I can't imagine how it must feel for Mum.

Other news: Nat and Saul have finally moved to the new, and apparently much smaller flat but the bonus is they're not having to share anymore. Candia went to help them sort the old flat out and move their stuff a couple of days ago and didn't get home till 3 am, bless her. I simply wasn't in any state to be useful to anyone that day, so I stayed home and refereed the kids. I'll be taking Daisy over there tomorrow for a look at it. It's quite near the beach, I'm told.


Fading again now, so snoozy time for me.

wsdante: (Default)

Fairly 'urgent' call from Bro #1 last Friday had me seeking car hire and organising my absence with Candia then heading up north to see dad on the Sunday.

I got there about 15.30hrs to be greeted by Bro #1 who suggested I 'brace myself'. Not to put too fine a point on it, dad was visibly - and audibly - in his last hours. I held his limp hand for a while and tried to see recognisable features in the gaunt face before me.  It was difficult, but I managed. I then kissed his brow and went to join the others.

I had hugs with mum and got up to speed with the list of things that needed doing/organising for mum then said farewell to #1 (who needed to catch his flight back to Deutschland). As I had just done nearly 6hrs driving, I went for a snooze while Bro #2 attended mum and dad.
Almost immediately - actually 45mins later - #2 woke me with the news that dad had only just passed away.

I went in to dad and sat for some time waiting to feel something. Beneath the numbness, there was something like relief. Relief that this once tough, vibrant, powerful presence in my life no longer had to endure the frustration at the increasing impotence brought about by the condition that slowly claimed him cell by cell.   

As I write this, there have still been no tears to speak of. I know I could make myself cry if I wanted to, but I think I want to be sure that I know what I'm crying for before I let them come.  

#4 was informed but didn't want to come over, preferring, I guess, to remember dad alive. 

The rest of the day consisted of phone calls and doctors and the rest. The regular nurses came over and laid dad out nicely - he even seemed to have a slight, but peaceful smile on his face when they had finished.

Mum was worried that people would think her wierd because she wanted to spend one more night by his side. #2 and I assured her that there was nothing wrong with that at all. The two of them had had barely a handful of nights apart in the 49 years they had been married. If it helped mum adjust, we would support it. Even the nurses agreed.

I picked up a chinese takeaway that evening and mum ate well. After #2 left, I saw mum to bed and went and crashed in the spare room.  
I slept v badly. At about 5.30, I gave up and made a start on the spreadsheet #4 had set up to list contact numbers of friends and relatives to be informed.
Mum slept in till 9am. I had to wake her up with a cuppa. I suppose it was the first night in quite a while that she hadn't ben woken to tend to dad.

I got back home on Wednesday. The remaining days up north were spent making myself useful with all the practical and necessary stuff. 
There are differences in religious standpoints between #4 and #3 which have 'problem' potential, but so far, preparations for the service and cremation on 6th March are going ok, I think. 

I have a 'slot' during the cremation service to say a few words and I think this might challenge my wordsmithing skill. I had a rough draft a few days ago but I poached off it to do the first draft of the obituary.

It might be good to start afresh anyway.

We'll see, I suppose.      



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