• Our Words Matter

What might stop my son?

Updated: 2 days ago

Written in 2014 after a 13-year-old boy was charged with the tragic murder of a West Auckland dairy owner, Stacey Shortall contributes her thoughts on how external influences are relevant to the way in our children evolve. The piece is intended to provoke some thought about the role each of us can potentially play in the evolution of the young people around us.


What might stop my son from stabbing someone and facing a murder charge?


Will it be:

  • me, his parent, who loves, nurtures and is always there for him?

  • our family who cherishes, guides and will always look after him?

  • his friends who support, comfort and will always look after him?

  • his teachers and coaches who engage, encourage and aim always to inspire him?

  • the boys and men in our community who lead him by example and defy harmful macho stereotypes?

  • the writers of the books he reads and the songs he hears who promote understanding over anger, intolerance and hatred?

  • the producers of the TV shows and movies he watches who choose to glorify compassion over toughness and brutality?

  • the creators of the video games he plays who promote humility over violence and victory?

Will enough of us stop and think about how we are shaping my son's life? Will enough of us choose to exercise our influence for his benefit rather than his detriment?

I certainly hope so, not only for my son, but yours too.

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