Something to Think About – New R’s of Life – Survival in a Modern World – Revenge – Never really sweet – Sally Cronin


We are now into new territory as far as The R’s of Life is concerned, as I only got as far as Retail Therapy in 2017. However, there are plenty more R’s of Life to contemplate and explore and one of them is Revenge.

Revenge is the act of getting your own back for an action that has caused damage (word or deed) to you by another or others.

For as long as there has been a Bible (and other religious texts), five words have been used by governments and individuals to justify taking action against other nations and on a personal level, leading to some pretty appalling atrocities and actions.

“An Eye for An Eye”

There are a number of references to this is the Old Testament and here are just two which seem to have been plagiarised by humans to suit their own ends for centuries….

Exodus 21:22-25 “Suppose two men are fighting and hit a pregnant woman, causing the baby to come out. If there is no further injury, the man who caused the accident must pay money—whatever amount the woman’s husband says and the court allows. But if there is further injury, then the punishment that must be paid is life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise.

Leviticus 24:19-22 And whoever causes an injury to a neighbor must receive the same kind of injury in return: Broken bone for broken bone, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Anyone who injures another person must be injured in the same way in return. Whoever kills another person’s animal must give that person another animal to take its place. But whoever kills another person must be put to death

“Turn the other Cheek”

However in both the Old and the New Testament… including in Leviticus, there are other admonishments to “Turn the other Cheek”. Which does make ancient teachings very confusing.

Matthew 5.39 –But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”

In our modern world we have adopted another saying that gives the act of vengeance an added incentive...“Revenge is sweet” and if you do not get immediate satisfaction and you want to keep the fire for retribution burning for a very long time: Revenge is a dish best served cold”

First some of the other words that we use to indicate the act of getting even.

Retribution, Payback, retaliation, revenge and reprisal.

Governments love the word “reprisal” and use it to justify crossing borders, issuing sanctions, bombing a city or expelling diplomats. There are levels and they escalate according to the reprisals from the other side! This is one of the reasons for Two World Wars, when diplomacy failed to counteract acts of revenge by individuals or particular countries. The fact that those conducting the diplomatic route, are individuals who prefer the ‘reprisal’ course of action does not help.

Revenge as individuals.

We as individuals have adopted the other words to justify our own actions, and I am being honest when I admit that there have been occasions when I would have loved to get my own back on an individual or organisation that I have been the target of.  Including my recent treatment by Facebook

I don’t tend to take things lying down and whilst I applaud those who ‘turn the other cheek’ and walk away from events that have damaged them, I have discovered that if you do that, those people and organisations keep on doing to others without sanction. However, you have to choose your battles and some are just not worth the time and effort vs. the outcome.

I certainly do not condone violence to get my own back although I must admit to a sneaky love of John Wick and the Equalizer films…..

As an individual that can be a challenge to take on major corporations or even governments who have little regard for the efforts of one person to bring them to heel. Even with social media to air your grievances, it is merely a flea bite on the hide of an elephant. Some people have brought cases against major corporations which have been successful, but cases often taken years and suck up life savings if they don’t win, and the only people who seem to end up in the money are the lawyers. The only possibly successful legal form of revenge, is a class action suit, where a large number of other people join together and make enough noise. That too can take years and there is no guarantee of a positive outcome.

Revenge and retribution take many forms in our modern world, especially in the press and on social media.

One of the most insidious and life-changing forms of retribution is trial and judgement, not by your peers, but by the general public, aided and abetted by established and credible media outlets whose rush to publish a scoop is terrifying if you are on the wrong end of it.

It is mass revenge on steroids. Revenge on people who have risen high in our societies and have allegations made against them and who despite wealth and power are also incredibly vulnerable.

I am all for justice for those who have been found guilty of a crime in a court of law, but many have been found guilty in the court of public opinion long before they come to trial; when in fact they are innocent.

In recent years, with the outing of so many guilty child molesters for their heinous misuse of their power, some have been caught up in the fever to name and shame, and were in fact found to be completely blameless. But, not before their private lives were dissected and trumpeted across every media outlet possible.

A case in point, is of long time respected politician, Lord Brittan, who was accused of multiple sexual assaults in the days following his death, and also D- Day Veteran and former head of the Army, Lord Brammall. Both were accused by a man named as ‘Nick’ who made claims about a high profile ring of molesters. There was a £2.5 million investigation by the police that dragged the names of both these high profile men through the press and mud. At the end of the investigations no charges were brought against any of the accused.

It was discovered that ‘Nick’ was a fantasist and he ended up in court being charged with perverting the course of justice and fraud. The Daily Telegraph ironically reported at the time of his court appearance, that his true identity could not be revealed because of legal reasons. This restriction was lifted in December 2018 and he was committed for trial in February of this year on 12 counts pertaining to those he publicly accused.

It is alleged that ‘nick’ suffered from childhood abuse and that is a tragedy it itself, however his attempt to take revenge on those who were not implicated, had a wide-reaching and devastating impact.

Lady Brittan and Lord Brammall received a paltry £100,000 in compensation that could never take back the anguish, loss of reputation and embarrassment caused. Their names will be forever tainted and that will have a direct impact on their families too.

A similar case to this is that of singer Sir Cliff Richard, who talked about how ‘tarnished’ he felt after 22 months of being falsely accused of assault, and he ended up successfully suing the BBC for their broadcasting of a police raid on his home to the public. BBC News.

Further awards may be made when the loss from cancelled performances and other revenues are identified.The Guardian.

It is also a disturbing fact, that because all the major media outlets carried the allegations and named those being accused, these men were considered ‘guilty’ by millions of people, who were fed the salacious elements of the case, without any form of defensive narrative. It would be many months and sometimes years before those same media outlets would carry the news of their exoneration. Too late for some who died without having their names cleared.

Revenge: Who do they think they are?

One of the traits of humans that I always find unacceptable, is the desire to tear down those who have reached a pinnacle in life that they have no chance of achieving themselves. There is a perverse delight in seeing successful men and women denigrated in the press and social media. It is a form of mass revenge on the successful.

A recent case of this is the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. An actress who I happened to have enjoyed in the show ‘Suits’, and who quite frankly is a beautiful, successful, wealthy woman in her own right. It is clear that Prince Harry adores her and is very happy, with both of them looking forward to their first baby later this month.

On social media.

Those who consider their own lives lacking in some way, have tried to extract their revenge at what they consider an upstart assuming a position she is not entitled to, by trolling the Duchess of Sussex on social media. You would be forgiven for thinking that it was some ignorant oik, with nothing better to do than post nasty comments about someone they thought was acting above themselves.. But no…..in fact the five most vitriolic of the trolls were unmasked as middle-aged housewives, who thought they had the right to be nasty from the safety of their living rooms. Those who were exposed as the main instigators of this hate campaign were from not just the UK but Canada and America too. And whilst they were aiming their vitriol at the Duchess of Sussex they also attacked the Duchess of Cambridge too.

In the press

From the beginning of the relationship between Prince Harry and his wife, the press have delighted in sharing the most intimate details of the family dynamics involved. They have deliberately posted articles from members of Meghan Markle’s family who certainly were not shy in sharing their disdain for her, and also making the most of their 15 minutes in the limelight. Quite frankly my heart went out to this princess in waiting, who should have been excitedly planning her fairy tale wedding, but instead was having to remain quiet so as not to fan the flames of jealousy and revenge emanating from her step-brothers and sisters. She was clearly advised to make ‘no comment’ and I would have found that incredibly difficult.

It is one thing to achieve your dream and have strangers try to bring you down, but when your family is out for revenge too, it must be devastating.

The Duchess of Sussex is wealthy in her own right, and is married to a rich prince, and if she wants to pay for a lavish baby shower, and be flown as a guest on a private plane, then good for her. And yet, the press has been posting stories on this and other ‘extravagances’ of the royal couple and how people in her inner circle, and in the royal entourage find her pushy! I think that says more about the people in her inner circle and the royal entourage than the Duchess of Sussex. There is no doubt she is different and a breath of fresh air. I would imagine that those who have been accustomed to a more rigid public profile for their employers must be quaking.  What I do see is that this young couple are determined to also be very much advocates for change, diversity and equality and are a much needed addition to our royal family.

The palace has employed someone to monitor social media and they will be clamping down heavily on those who troll members of the royal family, including reporting them to the police.

Thankfully judging by the reaction of the crowds that gather in their thousands whenever the younger generations of the royal family are out in public, there are far more fans and well-wishers than the press would like us to believe.

As I have said on a few occasions to detractors of both the new Duchesses… if Prince William or Harry had knocked on your door and asked for the hand of your daughter, would you refuse them?

Individual revenge…..

If I am being honest,  I do have regrets that I did not manage to achieve some form of closure over two particular events in my life, but at the time I had no recourse but to walk away. I had neither the strength of the resources to get even. I understand how hard it is to leave some events in the past and ‘get on with your life’. But, I also know that if I had pursued a more focused course of revenge, it would have done me more harm than I probably would have been able to inflict on the other people involved.

I have learnt a few things along the way about revenge.

  1. That it is important to remember your own responsibility for the situation and whilst this does not mean you deserved to be treated badly you do need to consider your actions. Did you walk into a relationship, job, deal or experience having done your research? Did you think at the time… this sounds too good to be true? Should I take advice on the matter? Can I talk to someone who might have experience of this before? Did I listen to those who knew better? Did I see the writing on the wall and still stay? Could I have asked for help?
  2. I do know that from my own experience and of others that I have communicated with, that violence should never be tolerated and if there is an opportunity to bring someone to justice without bringing more harm to yourself, then you need to find the right people to help you achieve that. Domestic Violence support
  3. Most of those, whose behaviour leads us down the path of revenge, are narcissists. Whether it is to do with money, relationships, work or family. If they have treated you badly, they have likely done it before and will do it again. Because, no matter what you say or do to them, they see themselves as always in the right and couldn’t care less. What they do not like, is people walking away and treating them as if they are nothing. Sometimes retreat is the most effective form of retribution.
  4. It is a pointless exercise seeking revenge on others, including strangers for your own shortcomings, just because they are beautiful, have lots of money, buy fabulous clothes, travel the world, marry princes or George Clooney. It doesn’t make any difference how much you might try to bring them down in person by bullying, on social media, or within your own circle of family and friends, if you don’t first take a good look at your own life, and how you might make positive changes to improve your circumstances. It is not this  person’s fault for who you are or where you are in life. You need to take responsibility for that.
  5. Sometimes life will do the job of getting even with someone who has made your life miserable in some way. All you can hope is that when they do get their just desserts they have not ruined too many lives in the meantime. There is nothing like going back to the class reunion happy and successful and finding that the bully who made your life miserable is now desperate to be your friend!
  6. You have one life and spending precious time on trying to get revenge is time lost. It can also be incredibly stressful, health threatening and become obsessive. The best revenge is to be happy and surrounded by people who think you are amazing at whatever you have chosen to do and have your back. Don’t give people who have created such negativity that power.
  7. As a writer my experiences have provided great content for my fiction and non-fiction, and whilst I may not have done a John Wick on those who deserved it… some of my characters have!!

I will leave you with this two quotes which make a lot of sense to me.

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Living well is the best revenge. —George Herbert

This is clearly just my opinion and there are many other areas of revenge and retribution that I have not touched on.  Your feedback is always welcomed.. thanks Sally.

You can find the other chapters in the series in this directory… and your feedback is always welcome: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/something-to-think-about/

Something to Think About – The R’s of Life – Relationships in a Modern World – Part One – Childhood by Sally Cronin


The title for this series came about as I dipped into a Thesaurus to find some words for a poem I was writing. I noticed that a great many words that reflected (see what I mean) key elements in our lives began with the letter ‘R’. In the original series there was an introduction, but I am skipping that to dive straight into what I believe is becoming extinct in many areas of our world and our own lives…

Relationships

So far I have covered respect, recognition, relations in Previous Chapters, which leads me very conveniently into relationships. In this first part, I am looking at the socialisation of children before and during school that form the basis of their relationship skills in the wider world.

If you were to make a list of your relationships, including close family, extended family, good friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, your boss, your partner, your child etc. And then wrote down the three key relationship interactions you shared, you will probably be surprised at how multi-faceted you are.

Think about it. In essence you are a different person to both the groups of people in your life such as family and close friends, and also to individuals that you meet along the way.

In the last chapter I talked about our relations including our parents, siblings and extended family. Even within that tight knit group, you are either perceived by or behave differently with individuals within it. You are likely to have a different relationship with your mother than with your father, and that too will depend on whether you are male or female. As will your interaction with a sister or brother, grandparents and cousins.

All this is great practice for life in the big wide world, especially when you get to school. Here you will form new relationships with non-family members and also with teachers and those in authority. You suddenly discover that being a cheeky little blighter to your elders from time to time, will not be forgiven so quickly, and yet another adjustment is required to your relationship portfolio.

Early childhood is a time of socialisation with others, and it forms the basis of how we will interact with people for the rest of our lives; it is therefore a vital part of our development.

However, even in our modern age, there are still many thousands of children who do not go through this critical stage in their development.

I was reading some media reports recently that highlighted the fact that some teachers are not just expected to introduce children starting school to reading, writing and arithmetic. Children are starting school at four and five years old, still wearing nappies, unable to manage to eat food with utensils, unable to communicate and showing a distinct lack of life skills needed to develop relationships.

In the last chapter I talked about the changing face of the family in the last thirty years, and the fact that an extended family, provides a very important support system that enables parents to share some of the inherent responsibilities of the role. As we have dispersed further away from our homes in search of jobs, or for other reasons, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters and cousins are no longer part of the socialisation process, leaving a gaping hole in a child’s development. It would seem as well, that in families without that support, and with more than one child under five, there is far less time or perhaps the will, to teach a child some of the fundamental skills they require such as potty training and how to communicate.

Of course it is easier to put a child in a carry cot and perhaps place them in front of the television for hours at a time, but it is not providing them with the ability to communicate with others. This is why when some children reach primary school, their natural reaction is fear and aggression, leading to behavioural problems that may never be resolved. This is nothing new, as even when I started school over sixty years ago, there was a small boy in the class who had clearly not had any previous contact with others, let alone children.

In hindsight, I now understand that he was terrified at suddenly being surrounded by 30 other noisy girls and boys, an adult teacher who clearly expected his attention, and crucially, exclusion in the playground, as he had no idea how to play well without resorting to aggression to get his way.

Bullying

That was a relatively isolated case at the time, but today it would appear that this disturbing and devastating predicament for a child is on the increase.  I looked at a number of websites who gave different quotes of between 40% to 50% of children are bullied each year. It is difficult to put a definitive figure on the extent of bullying since today it is not just confined to the classroom but online, and there are also estimated numbers of children who don’t report the abuse.

Here is an extract from a report in The Independent that highlights the seriousness of the issue.

One in 10 teenagers bullied at school have attempted to commit suicide, according to research published today. In addition, a further 30 per cent go on to self-harm.

The study, by the anti-bullying pressure group, Ditch The Label, shows that 45 per cent of 13- to 18-year-olds have experienced bullying by the age of 18, with the majority saying the primary reason was their physical appearance. Researchers canvassed 3,600 young people.

Bullying expert Professor Ian Rivers, from Brunel University, said the research showed that we still have got a great deal to do to ensure that our young people are safe in our schools and able to learn in a supportive educational environment.

The survey went on to show that, of those bullied, 61 per cent had been physically attacked and 10 per cent had been sexually assaulted. A total of 83 per cent said what they had gone through had had an impact on their self-esteem.

Incidents of bullying were highest amongst those with a disability, of whom 63 per cent reported being bullied and socially excluded. In addition, one in three said it was as a result of prejudice – homophobia, racism or religious discrimination.

Where does the responsibility lie with regard to the socialisation of children to prevent bullying of others?

Well it certainly should not be when a child is four or five and going to school for the first time. If a child is not able to play and learn in harmony at that point, it will be a huge challenge to reverse their behaviour.

I found this quite interesting and it might give you something to think about.

Steve Biddulph, the favourite number one name in parenting psychology – and bestselling author of Raising Boys – examines how different childcare options are likely to affect you and your child in this rivetting and highly topical book

This topical book tackles a key issue all new parents face. Steve Biddulph looks at childcare choices and the dilemmas that so often arise:
– ‘I want to stay at home with my child but don’t know how I can’
– ‘I don’t know what is better: nursery, creche or childminder’
– ‘if other people look after my child will it affect its development and happiness?’

It examines the two-income ‘slaves to work’ culture in the UK and how in the past ten years, the number of babies and toddlers under three who are spending all day (8am to 6pm) in nurseries has quadrupled. Biddulph urges caution and warns that the hurried and disconnected way that families now live their lives could be damaging to a whole new generation’s mental stability and development.

The book is an eye-opener in terms of child development and provides useful case studies from parents who are stay-at-home and those using all-day or part-time childcare – groups sociologists have named ‘slammers’ and ‘sliders’ respectively.

This 53-year-old author of some of the world’s most popular parenting books – four million sales and counting – is, in his quiet way, angry about the increasing use of day care for babies. He argues that placing children younger than three in nurseries risks damaging their mental health, leaving them aggressive, depressed, antisocial and unable to develop close relationships in later life.

You can find this book and the others on the raising of boys and girls to face a modern world: https://www.amazon.com/Steve-Biddulph/e/B001J3MTQU

You can read a report on the subject backed by experts in the field of child psychology: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1532012/Day-nursery-may-harm-under-3s-say-child-experts.html

This is not to say that I agree with draconian regimentation of a child so rigidly that their innate personality is repressed. But there does need to be boundaries set, that ensure a child becomes accepted rather than rejected by others, and grows and develops safely.

And I also appreciate for some parents, childcare is the only option despite the horrendous costs which almost make it seem counter-productive. As this report on average childcare demonstrates: Money Services

In Britain, the average cost of sending each child under two to nursery is:

£122.46 per week – part time
£232.84 per week – full time

Finding day care for babies and young children is a minefield, and also it must be terrifying handing over your new baby to strangers who will have the care for 8 or 9 hours or longer during the day. A huge wrench, and if it is essential that a baby goes into day care before three years old, then there are a number of sites you can advise you of the best and most cost effective in your area.

For example one of the largest and most established young child education organisations is Montessori and here is a link to their baby and toddler programmes which are considered to be some of the best. They have schools all around the world and it would serve as a benchmark when you are considering other care services in your area. http://montessori-namta.org/The-Montessori-Infant-Toddler-Program

Link for Childcare options in the UK: https://www.payingforchildcare.org.uk/

Link for childcare in the US: http://usa.childcareaware.org/advocacy-public-policy/resources/research/statefactsheets/

The alternative option to baby and toddler care.

There is also a very widely used childcare option, and that is the rapidly increasing role of grandparents and other family members. This can be amazing for a baby or toddler to be looked after within the family and even the UK Government has recognised this: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/looking-after-the-grandchildren-make-sure-it-counts-towards-your-state-pension

There is a great site which has a number of helpful articles and also offers advice to grandparents who usually provide this service for free

Regularly looking after the grandchildren? You’re not alone. The amount of childcare grandparents provide for their families has risen sharply over the last decade. Whichever measure you take – number of children looked after by grandparents, hours put in, or value to the economy – the trend is sharply upwards, and grandparents are now estimated to be saving Britain £17 billion in childcare.

This is an oft discussed issue on the Gransnet forums. On the whole, grandparents want to be helpful, and with the rising costs of childcare parents are struggling to make ends meet. But, at a time when life should be slowing down, taking care of young children can be a big – and exhausting – commitment.

If you find yourself in the position of being asked to help out with childcare, here are some important things you should consider.

Head over to read the rest of this article and the pros and cons of taking care of grandchildren: https://www.gransnet.com/grandparenting/grandparents-and-childcare

I would say that from my perspective, if I valued my childhood and wanted to instill the same into my children, coming to some arrangement with my own parents would be an ideal solution, with some way of recompensing them. I am sure that an arrangement that is considerably less that £233 per week per child has to be a good thing for everyone!

Thankfully for the majority of us however, we arrive at school with most of the basic and necessary life skills, and they are built on in the next stage in our development, until we leave school at 16 years old or go on to further education. Not only do we learn to play with others, but we also develop skills that will enable us to enter the work place where we will work as part of teams, be managed and in time manage others.

Next time – Relationships out in the big wide world and things get even more complicated.

You can find the other chapters in the series in this directory… and your feedback is always welcome: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/something-to-think-about/