Yesterday’s values for tomorrow’s children

View From the Paddock


What's needed for young people to make the most of tomorrow is a large dose of yesterday's traditions, according to View From the Paddock columnist, Keith Douglas.

Cloncurry real estate agent and auctioneer, Keith Douglas.

Cloncurry real estate agent and auctioneer, Keith Douglas.

I feel for the youth of this country today. I grew up in a time when we rode goats and horses, fished on the river, and watermelons grew wild. We chased pigs and played cricket on the street with two rubbish bins.

For many of us, school holidays were spent going out to a cattle property or going on road trips with truck-driving dads or operating a machine of some description. We learned to cook a feed, wash dishes, and various other skills that would serve us in life. We were always learning!

Now I feel a combination of unemployment benefits, politically correct ideals and a fear of taking any risks have made it hard for many young people to gain skills.

This is coupled with the continued brainwashing of what their rights are. Yes, sometimes we worked for low pay, but the knowledge we gained helped us down life's road.

Many young people today have never learnt to work, and far from condemning them, my heart goes out to them. I give thanks that I grew up in the time that I did. 

The rural industry probably offers the best learning platform for any young person. Teaching young people ‘life knowledge’ is as valuable as money or gold.

Help them to realise that a job is about contributing to your employer’s ability to create wealth, and for your input you will be rewarded with a thing called ‘wages’.

Eventually a person can, if they so desire, get to the point where they could work for themselves, using the knowledge gained.

We cherished work – getting a job was a privilege not a right. And we made every effort to be the one that got the job.

Today, I see a lack of enthusiasm, causing so many young people to miss out on great opportunities. I always say “horses, kids and dogs are much the same”.

The way they are treated has a lot to do with their outcomes. A combination of  love, fun, discipline, responsibility and enthusiasm go a long way.

We have a great country with lots of natural resources and great opportunities, but our youth are the most important thing for the future of this great land. It’s time to get back to the old ways that worked. 

 – Keith Douglas, Cloncurry auctioneer and real estate agent


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