How Do We Explain?

Looking across a couple of news websites today I’ve seen a common theme.

“How do I explain this to my 10-year-old son?”

“I was ashamed to explain to my nine-year-old son this morning that we had planned to cheat.”

It seems parents are agonising over how to explain the Australian cricket cheating scandal to their children.

For those not in Australia and therefore not having their newsfeeds swamped with stories of the unimaginable horror of the latest scandal to rock the sports world, here’s the very shortened version of ball tampering by the Australia national cricket team.

Cameron Bancroft was charged with alleged ball tampering on 24 March 2018 when videos showing him rubbing and then concealing a suspicious yellow object emerged during day three of the third test against South Africa, at Newlands Stadium. Captain Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft accepted the ball tampering allegation in front of Andy Pycroft, the match referee, and press. – wiki

How do we explain to a child that a game that’s meant to be played fairly and by the rules isn’t always as fair as it should be? How do we tell our children that their heroes aren’t heroes after all?

Of course, we should be able to expect more from those who represent our country and yes, it’s not easy to explain these things to a child.

But as I read these articles I’m left wondering too.

How do we explain to our kids that there are around 400 million children, just like them, that are living in extreme poverty in our world today? How do we explain that millions of young people around their age don’t know if they’ll even eat today?

How do we explain to them that today there’ll be roughly 15,000 children under the age of five who will die from preventable causes? How do we tell them that tomorrow there’ll be another 15,000 who will die, then another 15,000 the next day, the day after and the day after that? How do we tell our children that ‘preventable’ means that we have all the resources, all the know how, but as a world community we refuse to step up and stop those deaths?

Are we agonising over how we explain the horrors of war where children their age are killed daily? Do we struggle to find the words to explain why children are locked away in detention centres under Australia’s watch?

I don’t think we struggle to explain any of these things to our children. We don’t struggle because there really is no explanation as to why we continue to allow these things to go on. We don’t struggle because we choose to simply not have those kinds of conversations.

There’s no agonising over explaining these kinds of horrors to our children because these matters are obviously not as important to us, or as earth-shaking, as some highly paid sportsmen breaking the rules.

How could I ever explain that to a child?

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India Celebrates

There aren’t too many experiences that compare with sharing celebrations with good friends. If I had the money I’d book a plane right now and head to India to party with the nation that captured my heart when I first visited back in February 2003. I’m not a huge cricket fan but knowing how much the game means to millions of Indians, I know that the joy of beating Sri Lanka in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup will be the cause of huge celebrations.

The six wicket win has placed the cup in Indian hands for the first time since 1983 and it was the first time a team has won the tournament on home soil.

Wherever I travelled in India I saw children playing cricket. From the green fields around India Gate to dusty, sand covered patches of land, wherever there is enough room to swing a bat, you’ll see children imitating their cricketing heroes. Some have shiny cricket sets, others use rough pieces of wood as they imagine themselves hitting the winning runs to clinch the game. Cricket is everywhere in India.

It’s been over six years since I was last in that amazing country but I still think about India every day. One of my very favourite memories is being in the country during the 2003 World Cup. The Massey family had invited my good friend Mark and me to their home for some home hospitality. After we were served a truly incredible meal we sat in front of an old colour television to see Australia and India battling it out on the cricket field. There was a lot of good-natured banter as we barracked for our respective home countries. As I said, I’m not a massive cricket fan but watching that game with some amazing Indian friends will remain a treasured memory for life.

India, enjoy your win. I wish I was there with you today.

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