Search Results: Barry Gittins

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Songs for children on the path to maturity

    • Barry Gittins
    • 04 December 2017
    1 Comment

    2017 has seen us stirring a large pot of sticky issues with our 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. Old-school parenting used to play nice, with no discussion of sexuality, religion or politics. While recognising the need to speak appropriately to the ages and maturity of our kids, I disagree with that convention.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    How to be civil in an uncivil world

    • Barry Gittins
    • 12 October 2017
    3 Comments

    In 2017, we have had one of the most uncivil years in memory, with assaults against politicians, institutions, entire demographics. What can we learn from antiquity? The obvious lesson from Rome's post-Caesarian civil wars is that internecine conflict is inevitably punctuated by further conflict and wrestling for power.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What's a little lie between friends?

    • Barry Gittins
    • 10 August 2017
    6 Comments

    ‘Would I lie to you? Would I lie to you honey? Now would I say something that wasn't true?’ The Eurythmics’ hit from 1985 has been played repeatedly in my head of late as I negotiate life as a Dad.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Non-ants and animal whimdom

    • Barry Gittins
    • 23 July 2017
    2 Comments

    ants don’t sleep elephants weep presidents creep oolong teas steep and we observe. dictators serve goosekillers swerve ignorance hits curve art shows verve and we obsess. rabbits stress tortoises press paedophiles confess corporations bless and we object

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  • MEDIA

    Shielding kids from Grenfell Tower televised trauma

    • Barry Gittins
    • 15 June 2017
    3 Comments

    An article focusing on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings reported that people 'exposed to more than six hours of daily media coverage of the tragedy were more likely to experience symptoms of acute stress than those directly affected by the event'. News junkies, or those who saw extended coverage, were found to be worse off than those who actually survived the bombings. This is sobering as we consider how we deal with our children's exposure to traumatic events playing out on TV news.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't turn away from dire child abuse stats

    • Barry Gittins
    • 24 May 2017
    7 Comments

    Australian kids are being bashed, raped, starved, scorned and otherwise treated with no dignity or kindness. The study states it is not simply a case of one-off abuse, noting that 'research has demonstrated that maltreatment sub-types seldom occur in isolation (e.g. sexual abuse is often accompanied by psychological maltreatment or physical abuse)'. That is difficult reading. It makes me sick to write it. But the paper should, in a just society, serve as a catalyst for a national conversation.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    How to survive the crucible of school bullying

    • Barry Gittins
    • 23 February 2017
    7 Comments

    Squarely back into the school year, dinner conversations with our kids have included strategies for dealing with bullies. A 2016 survey of 20,000 Australians students found one in four respondents reported being bullied, and bullying 'was more common for year 5 students and year 8' - the grade levels of our boy and girl respectively. I'd love to be the 'parent nonpareil', with the right words and advice, but it's not that simple. The variables of personality and situation mean there is no easy, perfect answer.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Kids bear the bite of fractured family foibles

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 06 December 2016

    Families can be sites of great love and nourishment, and also of pain and trauma - often, all of these things, to varying degrees. The Family Fang focuses on the lives of adults bearing the mental and emotional ramifications of what can fairly be described as an abusive upbringing. It provides an illuminating counterpoint to Little Men, in which the close and sincere friendship of teenage boys comes under strain from their parents' 'grown-up' problems.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tips for surviving Christmas angst

    • Barry Gittins
    • 05 December 2016
    5 Comments

    Cricket games, feasts, the origami orgy of Christmas present wrappings rent asunder ... the underlying truth in all of this, for many of us, is deep emotional pain and loneliness that's gone unheard, unnoticed, all year. Family is both a lodestone and a millstone at Christmas. It's a truth magnified by aspirational love. As Pope John XXIII once said, cutting close to home, 'Mankind is a great, an immense family. This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.' It's a big ask that carries a price.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Bobbling their way from innocence to experience

    • Barry Gittins
    • 12 October 2016
    1 Comment

    I attempted at one stage to lodge snippets of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience into the minds of our children. Emily complained that 'symmetry' didn't really rhyme with 'hand or eye'; Ben was and is more into dragons than tigers. The question later pondered of Blake's tiger 'Did He smile His work to see? Did He who made the lamb make thee?' regularly confronts me, as my wife semi-mourns and I embrace the maturing process that is taking our children towards adulthood.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The holy sacrament of coffee communion

    • Barry Gittins
    • 14 August 2016
    12 Comments

    Within the first 20 minutes of my morning, I pay homage to life by partaking in that glorious gift to humanity, coffee. As well as the contested space around coffee's possible physical health benefits and purported dodgy effects, going for a coffee is good for the soul. Humans are social creatures, and coffee lubricates our communing. Over a cuppa I have shared hardships, counselled and been counselled, listened to tales of brokenness and celebrated the wins that punctuate our travails.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Buddhist traffic light

    • Lesley Lebkowicz, Andrew Madigan, Barry Gittins
    • 01 August 2016
    1 Comment

    My friend, new to Mandalay, never before in Asia, sighs as she sees the east- and west-bound cars and rickshaws slow to a ragged fringe across the intersection. The north- and south-bound take their turn in the same gentle, fearless lack of order. Ah, she says, see how aware they are, each of the other. Such harmony: you can tell it's a Buddhist country. Spoilsport, I point to where, so easily ignored, enmeshed in a thicket of wire overhead, lights flicker: green, amber, red.

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