The Other Kids – You Know, the Good Ones

A few posts of mine recently have been about kids going wrong. “It’s not what kids do” is one of those, where I point out how some kids these days just don’t seem to get it. They are also, apparently, being treated leniently by the courts. (See my post “Crime and Punishment”).

So today I thought I’d blog about the other kids.You know, the good ones, just to show I have no hard feelings and that I do acknowledge there are good young people out there doing extraordinary things. I may be a grumpy old man, but I do try to see both sides of the coin.

So, here are some amazing people under 18:

1) Malala Yousafzai.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/20/taliban-victim-malala-yousafzai-school 

Malala Yousafzai

This is the Pakistani girl shot on the head by the Taliban for daring to suggest that girls should be educated. Apparently she has been advocating for equality since she was 11 and has already won  won Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. She was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and is the youngest nominee in history. What happened to her was horrific, but she has achieved an enormous amount in her short time so far.

2) Daisy Morris. Daisy, an English girl, discovered a dinosaur when she was 5 years old. How cool is that?

images

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-21850080

What kid would not want to discover a new species of dinosaur? I’d like to discover one even now. The creature is now named after her. Vectidraco daisymorrisae. It means “Daisy Morris’s Isle of Wight Dragon”. It even has a cool name. She stumbled over some blackened fossilised bones on the beach when walking with her family. She’s always been interested in dinosaurs, apparently. Well, all that dedication has paid off.

3) Zack Kopplin.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/03/02/young-atheist-and-science-advocate-zack-kopplin-interviewed-by-bill-moyers/

 

Ok, he’s 19 now. But he started when he was 14 as an advocate for education law reform in the USA. He is against the teaching of creationism in Louisiana science classes. Apparently, some teachers wanted to kick evidenced-based science out of the classroom altogether. No more evolution, just what the Bible tells us is so. Zack has been successful in thwarting these attempts. He is also an advocate for “good science”. And, of course, for the teaching of science in general. Oh, and he’s actually studying history.

These three “kids” have done some extraordinary things. I seem to have been biased towards the science/education side of things, but those are my interests.

It’s encouraging to see young people achieving amazing things. Sometimes, like Malala Yousafzai, they almost lose their lives doing it. But it doesn’t stop them.

So, if my previous posts about teenagers have been a bit negative, I hope these three wonderful people make up for it. There are a lot more out there. Let’s encourage them.

Improving the Penis

Now I have your attention…

A couple of days ago, 60 Minutes here in Australia ran a report on the case for and against circumcision of male babies.

egypt2

As expected, there was a lot of debate on both sides. Barrister Paul Mason declared that it was child abuse. In fact, he called it child sexual abuse. http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/extraminutes/8620217/fore-and-against-the-case-against-circumcision

As a barrister, however, he would be aware than a baby is deemed to be not legally able to make its own decisions in regard to health and that responsibility falls to its parents. So, it isn’t sexual abuse as the parents are legally able to decide if their son is to be have this particular medical procedure. End of argument.

The report also contained an interview with a male adult who had been circumcised as a baby and, now he was an adult, felt he had always been missing something that had been taken from him. In some mysterious way he felt its loss.

What? He has no memory of what it was like to have a foreskin. How can he say he feels its loss if he only had the thing for a few days or weeks after he was born and now he’s all grown up? Maybe he just needs a girlfriend.

On the other hand, Professor Brian Morris argues that every boy should be circumcised. http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/webchats/289966/chat-brian-morris-on-his-opinion-of-circumcision There are sound medical reasons for it. It’s just plain cleaner. I believe that at one time soldiers were encouraged to have circumcisions because lying around in foxholes in the mud for weeks on end was not a good way to keep Mr Rogers clean. Even if you aren’t fighting a war, it saves a lot of mucking about in the shower. And it’s better for sex, too. The man expereinces much more sensitivity in the tip. He’s happy; she’s happy. Everyone wins.

I’m circumcised. I’m happy to be that way. I have no traumatic memory of the surgery, which anti-circumcision people seem to feel is carried like one of Scientology’s engrams throughout the man’s life. No, that one passed me by, sorry. Can’t say I feel any problem at all with missing a couple of square centimetres of skin I wasn’t using anyway. I’ve had my appendix out too, and my tonsils and adenoids. Can’t say I feel violated there, either.

Parents have not just the right, but the duty to make the best decisions for their children. Paul Mason had nothing to say about the medical side of circumcision, since he isn’t a doctor. It’s the doctors who are best able to advise on this matter. Inventing excuses of sexual abuse isn’t going to help anyone reach a rational decision.

Ultimately, it’s up to the parents. And of course, we are only talking about male circumcision hre. Female circumcision is a crime and an abomination. It’s a completely different thing that has major repurcussions for the girl. But for boys, I’d reach for the knife. Just don’t slip!