Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Today's Moral Maze


Today's nugget of wisdom is, I think, something of a discussion .
Feel free to comment......
Yesterday Cameron , the teenage boffin, called around with some homemade Jam for The Prof and I. He's a nice lad, and a bright one too and it was great to find out his news, his university plans and to be able to look at many of his new photographs taken in and around the village.
He was also nice enough to give Winnie a kiss on the lips when she became " all unnecessary "

Now, I hope that Cameron doesn't think I am rude in any way but on the odd occasion he has called around to the cottage , whether it be on flower show or bird locking up duty business, I am always careful to chat outside the cottage, which is almost a " public" area so to speak.
This is a habit I have gotten into and is one that I understand is right but one I feel slightly uncomfortable with.

Now this is not a gay thing......it's more an " appropriate" behaviour kind of thing. If I was a straight man of 54 and a sixteen year old girl, I knew , knocked on the door with a jar of jam then would I still feel it right not to invite her in without a chaperone. Too bloody right I would.

But it still feels as though I'm being a bit rude!
Would you feel the same?
Answers on a postcard please!


72 comments:

  1. Gosh. I have no idea. But honestly, I don't think it would be a problem to invite him in, perhaps to sit at the kitchen table for a chat.
    But I really don't know.

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  2. It might feel rude but I think it is wise.

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  3. My husband has told me on more that one occasion that he has acted in just that hyper aware/cautious way while still feeling uncomfortable in himself. It seems that it is a behavior he adopts for the other person, the young woman or girl, and any witnesses that may be about rather that his own sense of what would be comfortable. I would say it is to be expected to feel that discomfort, but as it is done for a noble cause, my wish for him and yourself, John is that you kind and thoughtful men become more comfortable with it!

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  4. I think it could be a "Guy" thing. I have never felt off about the odd kid showing up for one reason or another and asking him/her in. I thought you knew this boy. (On the other hand, he maybe is a tad nervous too and if it's daylight - why not?)

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  5. What a dear, sweet, thoughtful man you are, John. I understand your dilemma.....perhaps Cameron might too? Maybe invite him in but leave the front (or back) door ajar?

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  6. Men inviting young girls in or giving young girls a lift in the car is a no no these days. They are likely to cry rape if you so much as brush against their leg. Although I think this applies to girls the guy didn't know in the first place but then again who knows. As for Cameron I guess that you could invite him in because you know him well enough through flower show and dog sitting business and it would not attract funny looks really, would it?

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    1. you just contributed to rape culture, right there. What an appalling way to talk about your own gender

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    2. It's true in the UK. I work in a police department. The public dont see half of it. Sorry if you dont like it.

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  7. Tabloid stories, litigation and suspicion. I can see why you feel it's best to talk with Dr Cameron outside. In the Sheffield secondary school where I worked for twenty two years, male teachers were strongly advised not to be alone with girls in our classrooms. I wonder why it was okay to be alone with boys.

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  8. Knowing you, John, it would never have occurred to me to think there might be anything questionable about you inviting in a teenager of either sex.

    You seem like an ideal influence for a young person: thoroughly decent, kind, respectful of others, and an animal lover.

    That being said, I understand your reservations and think it's sensible of you. Too bad, though.

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  9. Gosh, this didn't even cross my mind until you put out the question. You're probably wise to chat with Cameron outside. My mother was always keeping an eye on what was going on in her neighborhood and creating "scenarios" in her mind about what everyone was up to (or not), some of them pretty fantastical. It's nice that you worry about Cameron's feelings, but I'm sure he just appreciates being able to chat with someone who has a genuine interest in his life at his age. Not everybody would.

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  10. This hadn't even occurred to me before your post. That being said, given the world's state of affairs, it seems sensible and considerate, and I will be more aware of doing this myself. Perhaps you need a table & chairs in your front garden for outdoor entertaining?

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  11. My husband is also hyper aware of this sort of thing but the we both work in a school are have regular safeguarding training. He is also extra careful with the granddaughters because he is their step grandpa.

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  12. You are "avoiding the appearance of evil", as some of my acquaintances would term it. It's not rude, it's prudent. (For the sake of judgemental neighbors?) I don't invite anyone in, as I'm the worst housekeeper I know and it embarrasses me. So I have a small table and two chairs on the front porch and entertain callers there.

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  13. Always a good choice to play things safe. ALWAYS!

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  14. Interesting replies so far.....food forthought xx

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  15. I think you are sensible to avoid a potential difficulty. In my village all you have to do is kiss someone on the cheek & news goes round you are having an affair !

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  16. Jennifer's comment is exactly what I wanted to throw in, but can't find the right English words to say it on my own.

    If you feel more comfortable with just talking to young people on your door entrance (no matter which gender), it's the best to do so. It's not the place that decides if we appear rude, it's our behaviour and our words. And I'm sure YOU treat a kind person with full respect and warmth, always and everywhere! We all know what gossip cause.

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  17. I can understand that you would feel a little rude, however, I think it is great that you are so aware of these issues and are acting so prudently. As always John 10 out of 10 from me!

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  18. No, I do not think about those things. I hug everyone, I invite them into my house even when it's dirty. I have a pure heart and I don't give a hang what other people think. If I'm ever falsely accused of anything, I will make the accuser's life miserable.

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    1. That sounds exactly like me

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    2. Yes, but in the world as it is today it is harder if you are a man in these situations.

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  19. Just good common sense John. These days, one does not take any chances with the under aged of any gender.

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  20. He probably doesn't mind that you chat to him on the doorstep. When I was a teenager I would have felt embarrassed to be invited into someone's home. All the neighbours used to chat on the doorsteps anyway! :)

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  21. I think you are being very sensible John. You just never know when someone might like to stir up trouble. For the same reason, as a teacher who deals with young children in a one-on-one situation, I have always insisted on teaching in a room with a glass door. It's protection against the unforseeable future accusation. That is the world we live in

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  22. Post card? Ok. I'll keep it short. You are over egging this, John. On two counts.

    U

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    1. sigh
      and how is that Ursula?

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  23. Perhaps it is my age John but I think you are right, particularly as you live in a village (tomgues wag in villages). I think I sm a free thinker and broad-minded (after all I have a transgender grandchild and accept him happily) but I would be thinking more of the young person than of myself.

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  24. 'Feek free to comment', he said. Ha! When I saw the name Cameron, I thought you meant 'buffoon'.

    As far as inappropriate behaviour goes, I am the man who hugs children and helps them when they need it, because I refuse to go along with all that hysteria and paranoia. The same should go for gay men and teenage boys as far as I can see. Remember Benjamin Britten and the soprano boys.

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    1. FEEL FREE, of course...

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    2. When I say 'soprano boys', I am not talking Mafia, you understand.

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  25. Do you have room for a couple of chairs in your garden? If so, that would be a good compromise on clear days... but really, the gift of your attention and appreciation is more than enough.
    It is wise not to put yourself in a potentially compromising situation; small town minds and people who like to start shite can make life unpleasant at the very least.

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    1. As a postscript; you and the Prof are part of a small group I would trust completely with a child.

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  26. You are Absolutely doing the Right thing. small town or large city, it is the right thing to do.

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  27. Kindness and consideration for others comes naturally to some people, you being one in my opinion, in spite not because of what others may think.

    I don't know how teenagers in Wales act but I think you are actually thinking, albeit appears to me not very aware of it, just as much to protect him as anything. Could it be that he would be the teased or mocked about being in your house when no one else is there by his peers if it were known? I believe your attitude is correct and you shouldn't feel uncomfortable, but feel that way if you want to, of course. Factually you are doing what is right just as much for your own as for his. Good on you. It is always better to prevent than to have to cure.

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  28. I just scanned through the comments and I guess I'm in the minority. it's a shame that we feel the need to curb our hospitality and friendliness because of how things might look. who's reputation are you protecting, his or yours? you wouldn't 'babysit' those two girls you look after if you were heterosexual? if it bothers you not to invite him in, invite him in.

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    1. yes I guess I wouldn't babysit the girls if I was straight, that wouldn't seem right

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    2. But why not, John? I babysat boys after school. I think it comes down to who the parents trust, not gender or sexual orientation. But then that is a different question from how we protect ourselves and our youngsters from not only harm but the appearance of harm these days.

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    3. well, I think it's a sad statement on our culture and society. I think you can teach children how to protect themselves without stifling every day getting along and graciousness. Like jenny o said, if you trust that person why would you object. perfect strangers? yes, I can understand, but the people you live with, the village that knows you and the person you are, the child or teen that knows you. your friend who leaves the girls with you isn't doing so because you are gay but because they trust you.

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  29. I would never have thought of such an issue. And isn t it more noticeable that he is there if you stand on the front porch chatting awhile? If indeed you have stupid busybody neighbors, I can see them noticing and whispering, ''Where there's smoke there's fire..." How sad.

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  30. This is how you probably have to behave in your professional life, but not in personal life. You are covering yourself against any accusation and it is sad and disappointing that you feel the need to do so.

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    1. I think I am not thinking of accusations , perhaps my professional boundaries are leaking into my home world

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    2. And perhaps your work with the Samaritans.

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  31. I see nothing wrong with inviting him in. No one who knows you would imagine anything untoward going on. If people who don't know you care to spread insinuations, that's their problem and not yours.

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  32. It is entirely up to you John. If both you and Cameron have felt ok with this so far and he is relaxed with it. Fine.

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  33. Unfortunately, I have known of situations where men have been falsely accused of something inappropriate. I also know teachers who would never speak to a student behind closed doors, or without a witness. That is not to say that the teachers are actually doing or thinking something inappropriate, but they are on guard of being accused by someone with an axe to grind.
    I understand why you would choose to speak to him more publically. It isn't that either one of you has some sort of bad intent, but society has made us hyper vigilant. It's a shame, really. I think it is wonderful that he wants to share things with you about his life.
    Thank you for explaining the meaning of "boffin". I had never heard that before you started to use it to describe Cameron. -Jenn

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    1. yes..like teachers..nurses ( and psychiatric nurses especially) have it drummed into them that minors should never be seen "privately"
      I guess that this has still not been drummed out of me

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  34. Funny, no one has mentioned Cameron's parents. Do you know them? Can you have a wee chat with them to express your concerns and perhaps, 'clear the air', as it were. Obviously, they allow their son to visit and help out on occasion so I'm thinking they are absolutely fine and trust you...as well they should. Just a thought. BTW...your response to Ursula made me laugh out loud. Well done. X

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    1. yes, I know that, perhaps I am over thinking it

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  35. Years ago my son dated a woman with an eight-year-old daughter who had been molested by her grandmother AND grandfather. Our son brought with him the little girl, who was so sweet and terribly shy. When he and his dad left to go to the garage, Chad asked if she could stay inside with me. Panic struck! I was terrified that this child wouldn't know the difference between a pat on the head and molestation. I just suggested that we go outside to the swing set and everyone was happy. Not my finest moment, to be sure. But I 100% agree that one can't be too careful.

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  36. Like Camille, I wondered if you knew Cameron's parents.

    I very much doubt that Cameron thinks you rude.

    Maybe you all can feel more comfortable about your inviting him indoors before the weather gets chilly.

    Best wishes.

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  37. yes I know his parents, quite well.

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  38. on reflection I think that this is an interesting subject. I have straight friends (men) who will cross over the road rather than walk behind a woman on a pavement at night and I have known step grandparents who will be very careful with showing demonstrative affection to step grandchildren.
    perhaps there is a touch of hysteria in the air, perhaps its just over sensitivity...or is it "professionalism" creeping into real life?
    who knows
    hey ho

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  39. I would just like to see some of the village photos that he took. Would you be willing to post some of them?

    On the other subject - it's better to be safe than sorry. There are always idiots who think that 'something' is wrong. If he reads your blog, he knows now that there is no rudeness on your part.

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    1. I asked him to forward them to me, I would like to show them off

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  40. John, my view is we are all more aware of the 'responsibilities' of life. Perhaps we could consider it to be a respectful regard for others rather than the fear of being accused of inappropriate social manners.
    Awareness of the opposite sex, the young and the vulnerable are all more in our presence in this day and age than- with more people on the planet and more pressure in society we need boundaries.
    I think you are being wise and considerate - I'm sure that Cameron respects your position too.

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  41. I understand your caution John ...but then you babysit those two young girls and don't worry there. I know there are two of them and there's safety in numbers but .....
    as a teacher we were warned about touching children. That was when I decided it was time to retire. I was always one to put an arm around an upset child, pat them on the back or even a quick hug if it suited the occasion. This was in the Primary age groups I might add.

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    1. I think its a gender thing Helsie

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  42. It's such a sad state, but I think it just comes with age and an awareness of the world to proceed with an abundance of caution in this area. I don't think you're being rude at all... absolutely correct in fact... and if it strikes him as rude now I can predict that as he gets older he will understand the formality that a casual, completely innocent social visit between a minor an adult will require. I am surprised, like another poster, that you don't have an outdoor seating area ? This is a perfect excuse to arrange one.

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  43. You are considerate John. I work in a primary school and often the little ones just run up and hug you, we hold our hands up in the air and say that's nice :) I do love watching working with them, the stuff they tell me is hilarious and at times mortifying for their parents !!

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  44. I worked in a primary school for 25 yrs as support with kids with special needs. When I first started all those years ago being tactile was not frowned on when kids need a hug. Then over time political corrections
    and child protection became more of an issue. (As it should) however until I retired a couple of years ago I always gave comfort when needed
    hugs to Kindy kids for Chrissie and birthdays etc. You build a relationship with the parents as you have and they know you and trust you as you have. Talk to them and then invite him in for a cuppa. Hang the neighbours.

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  45. I kinda sorta get this, but then it kinda sorta makes me really sad. you are the sweetest man on earth, and I would think that most of the people in your village feel the same way. What on earth do you think they think you're going to do?

    You have little Liv and Ellie (is that their names??) in and that is perfectly normal. I don't want you to think that about yourself. Even if you are saying that you are doing this for the villagers - still, it seems a thing that people would have thought in the 80's - 90's...it's 2016!! Maybe I'm just naive, but again, that is very sad that you have to even think that. Obviously this young man doesn't. I respect your decision..but still...

    You are so sweet, so kind, so honorable, John. I hope you remember that about yourself every moment.

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  46. I once found a youngish boy (10 ?) being viciously barked at by two nasty dogs. I got him into the car and drove him to his home. When I arrived at the dinner party (where I'd been heading) the English guests all threw their hands up in horror when I related the event. No-one in England would do that they said. I was extremely surprised.

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  47. I would have done exactly the same Cro. It's sad that most people hesitate these days. Teachers are dammed if they do and accused of being unfeeling if they don't. I always thought that my duty of care was towards the student and if that required a hug they got it.

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  48. I'd have conducted myself in precisely the way that you did, J.G. To err (whether it is so or not) on the side of caution is simply wise.

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  49. Unfortunately it's a 'sign of the times' John, no matter whether you're gay or not, man or woman, we all have to be a bit careful about what we do and who we invite into the home. Sad I know, but best to be on the safe side. However, if someone was in danger, i.e. fallen in the river, been run over or whatever, then you just have to dive in there and get on with it regardless.

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  50. Sounds like a very wise way to act, err on the side of caution.

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  51. Sue G, I agree with you. Spot on. Sad that this is what it has come to because it takes a village to raise a child and when TB Cameron comes knocking to talk about a broken heart, it's a bit tough to have to stand on the doorstep and pat his shoulder in a rainstorm! Nothing for it John but to knock down one wall of the cottage and install glass instead. Your central heating bills will go through the roof and William will have a field day with the glass wall but decorum will be served!

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  52. To be honest, I wasn't sure what the problem was until you explained it. It seems odd to me that anyone should think that older man (gay or not) plus teenage boy or girl = predatory intent. Have we entered a world where everyone fears the worst from everyone else?

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  53. You're being very sensible John. It's a crazy age we live in, one of rumours and gossip mongering. Better to be safe than sorry ... and the thing is I bet Cameron doesn't mind chatting on the doorstep at all.

    Of course it works both ways, my son was once threatened by his teenage step daughter that if he wasn't 'nicer to her' ie let her have her own way all the time, she would go to the police station and tell them he 'touched her' needless to say he doesn't do anything or go anywhere with her without the rest of the family too. She shot herself in the foot there, no more shopping trips with Dad for new clothes!

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