Vicar’s Reflection: 30 August 2015, OS 22
Where does bad behaviour come from? This morning (Friday) I heard the Principal Youth Court Judge of New Zealand, Judge Andrew Becroft being interviewed by Guyon Espiner about the problem of bad behaviour by young people who pass through the care of the Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS). Something like 80% of children in the care of CYFS appointed carers appear in the youth court at some stage for serious crimes. Both Guyon and Judge Andrew seemed stumped as to the causes and solution of this problem, although the Judge expressed a more hopeful attitude saying that he would not be as involved as he is if he felt there was no answer. It is convenient to blame bad parents for producing bad children but this is too simplistic. After all where did the parents’ badness come from? In the letter of James, the Lord’s brother draws a connection between beliefs and behaviour. Jesus himself in his teaching in Mark 7 says that bad behaviour comes from inner thoughts and beliefs. In our times belief, especially religious belief has been belittled and ridiculed. Beliefs give rise to values and values affect behaviour. Not enough attention has been paid to this link. Our nation needs to rediscover belief and values before behaviour will change.