Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The teachable moment

It’s an interesting phrase, but at the moment it carries negative connotations for me.

Over the past few days there have been a flurry of stories about an aspect of Scottish culture. Not haggis, tartan and shortbread; not the “nearly success” of our football team - but the prevalence of violent attacks (often involving knives) associated with our tendency to binge drink. This is an unattractive aspect of our society.

The teachable moment comes in when nursing staff take the opportunity to highlight the dangers of excessive drinking to the victims of violence – sort of driving the point home. (Of course there’s also an increasing number of violent or aggressive incidents involving nurses in accident and emergency units!).

There is so much to love about Scotland, but also bits to be ashamed of. Will we ever learn? Do we need these teachable moments?

Will we as a society reflect on why our culture is so violent, even compared to that of our near neighbours, who share our delight in binge drinking?

The government is talking about a 10 year strategy. It’s good that they realise the difficulty in changing the ingrained behaviour patterns. Sadly for a lot of people 10 years will be too long – as they will face a lifetime of physical and mental scars – or worse.

Have a happy Christmas – but be sensible too!

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