Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Real Community Playspace

Finishing the year on a bright note. A few weeks ago my son and I visited a local community playspace. Most people from the region know about it to some degree, but for those of you not from the Newcastle area, or from overseas let me explain.
Several years ago one of the local government councils (Lake Macquarie City) has a purpose built playground for the children of the area that was so much more than the existing play equipment available elsewhere.

Although big compared to what was established beforehand, the initial project was just a starting point. What is there now is at least four times the size of the original playspace.

One of the great things about this space is that it has pretty much been an ongoing work. As ideas and concepts came to light the construct of the facility changed shape, both physically as it began to expand and metaphorically as its components took on a more natural, child-focused feel.

Gone are the multi-coloured climbing frames, plastic cubby houses and sterile equipment. Now the park is full of a variety of areas, from the water play section to a growing natural maze. There's a pirate ship, interconnected sand areas, loads of netting to climb, flying foxes, climbing walls, secret hideaways, slides, swings and a giant tower that has multiple ways to get to the top and a huge, twisting tunnel slide as the main way to get down.

It's a mark of the popularity of this marvellous space that despite the lake being literally 100 metres away, both children and adults alike throng to this area because of the diversity in what it offers. There's something for absolutely everyone. Parents with young babies, toddlers, older children, teens and adults all seems to have a ball. There are even loads of wheelchair/pram access areas and a swing available for those with mobility issues.

There's even a bike track that integrates road like features into it including signs, crossings and a fuel pump. I can picture schools bringing groups of children here for road safety lessons.

As great as all that I have said sounds, it's not what the park contains within that is the real appeal. Rather, it's the sense of community you gain as soon as you go through the gate. This probably began as a vision of the local council, but has grown into a truly community-orientated facility that reaches far beyond local government boundaries.

It claims to be a place that caters for 'all abiities' and that seems obvious right from the moment you enter. Just check out all the possibilities for risk taking on so many levels.

Other great features that might otherwise go unnoticed are the plants used for the maze are drought resistant flora native to the Lake Macquarie area, as well the recycled water for the water play component of the park.

I think what speaks volumes for the high regard in which this place is held by all is that there is absolutely no evidence of any graffiti, vandalism or other disrespect for the grounds and all that it contains. Rarely have I been able to say this of such a public space.

If you are ever in the Lake Macquarie area, Speers Point to be precise, you should definitely drop by and check this collection of experiences (the term park just doesn't seem to do it justice).

Until you do, or if you never get the chance, just take in the images. Not some of the best photography you'll ever come across, but they convey my message so much better than my words are able to.










Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Hessian Christmas

It may be hard to tell from the photo below, but this storefront tree is adorned entirely with decorations made from hessian.

This store is not selling these items. They have simply decided to use them for their Christmas decorations. It may be a statement. It may simply be a choice to move away from commercialised paraphernalia at this time of year. I just don't know.

What I do know though is that it is as beautiful as any storefront Christmas display I have seen and sends a valuable message to us all. This time of year doesn't have to be about consumerism. Let it be about what is in your heart.

That's what I take away from these images. What it does or doesn't do for you is your business.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Defending the Indefensible

I'm not about to go into the details of the tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut. There has been enough coverage of it and as a result too much sadness for too many people.

What I am doing is voicing my personal opinion on what should follow such a tragic event. There is currently a heated discussion on this topic occurring on the Males in EC Facebook Page.

Anyone who owns a gun and keeps it in their possession needs to have a long hard look at the reasons they do. If you are one of those people and live in the USA you might well use the 2nd Amendment to defend your 'Right' to bear arms. This is in fact exactly what the 2nd Amendment says:
"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Now a rational person may read that and  see that the 'Right' was intended only for those individuals being part of the militia to protect the Free State. Those who read an individual's 'Right' to bear arms should not be infringed are missing the point in my humble opinion. If the Amendment was intended to refer to individuals in isolation than there would be absolutely no necessity to even mention a militia or security of a Free State.

If you keep a gun to keep you and your family safe then perhaps you should be aware that you are much more likely to harm yourself or someone you love with such a weapon than to use it against an intruder. Or that the intruder will use that very firearm against you.

The sad fact is that most murders and mass killings occur by means of use of legal guns. It is also a terrifying fact that the NRA is such a powerful force in the USA. So powerful that change through political means is highly unlikely.

You can own a gun if you wish. Many people do and use them at shooting clubs or for hunting. Keep them locked away at such clubs, stored separately from the ammunition. When you require them you should have to sign for them with adequate ID.

History has proven they do not deter crime. If you possess a gun then someone will simply come along with a bigger gun or more weapons. Where a society if so full of and reliant on guns there can be no winners. They were created to cause death and that is their main purpose.

Once again, these are my personal views. Feel free to disagree with any or all I have talked about here. But please think about your actions and their possible consequences. Even if such consequences are simply the messages we are sending our children. Do not post hateful comments as they will be reported. I will publish any comments that add to the discussion and are constructive, regardless of whether you agree or disagree

Monday, December 10, 2012

Respecting Diversity

Culture can mean and include many things. Your heritage, traditions and ways of being and doing. It is far more than ethnicity. Each family has their own specific culture which resides within the culture of their local community. Many communities contain multiple cultures.

We are very lucky to have a Family who hail from Bangladesh at our service. Many aspects of their culture have been shared with us, including a number of meals and snacks.

This time it was Henna tattoos that we were privileged to receive. For those not in the know Henna is a plant from which a paste is made. This is applied via what can best be described as a mini piping tube.

When first applied the henna is soft and takes about 30 minutes to dry. During this time it is neccessary to keep the area decorated as motionless as possible to avoid smearing. Once it is dried the excess henna can be brushed or washed off. What remains is the design, but absorbed into the skin. It is only the protein of the plant which the body absorbs so it is quite safe. The tattoo will begin to fade in about 4 days and will last around a week.

The children and staff all loved this experience. Not only did they get to experience the sensation of the henna being applied, but they also compared tattoos with each other. The size, shape, what they looked most like. They were also able to ask our visitors about why they do this and how they get the materials.

There is so much learning potential here, but more importantly it was an opportunity to community members who origniate from another country to come and share a part of their culture with us. The interest has remained too. Drawing on their own hands and arms may be met with some quizzical looks, but it does wash off and the children are exproring this cultural tradition in their own way to broaden their understanding and respect for an alternative way of being and belonging.

If you haven't tried this before then may I suggest you give it a go. And a little tip for you. If you smear baby oil over the tattoo it will become slightly darker and last a few days longer.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Child's Idea of Decorating the Tree

We all get stuck in our ways - traditions we often like to call them. Most the time I believe it's more a case of not wanting to change a way of doing something because that's how it's always been done.

In most circumstances I would like to think that I buck the trend rather than follow it. I'm usually not big on blindly following what's gone before. However, when it comes to Christmas I have to admit that in some areas I do stick to the tried and true.

The best example is decorating the tree. Whether at home or at work with the children, it has usually been about putting an artificial tree up, decorating it with store bought plastic decorations and voila!


Of course there have been modifications to this. In particular the home-made decorations which the children, mine and those I work with, make themselves. A slow move towards more natural materials too. For instance, we made a star  out of twigs found in our playground, plus an alternative tree from a fallen branch that we also decorated.

But to truly think outside the square it took the genius of a young boy determined to make the tree beautiful in his own way. And boy didn't he succeed? I don't think I've seen a greater adornment of a Christmas tree, especially as none of the 'decorations' are actually on the tree.

We can all learn alot from the children we work with if only we take the time to stop, look and listen before crossing the road to reality.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Time to Pay Homage

With the end of year approaching I thought it would be timely to pay tribute to those who got me started in blogging. Well those who inspired me to get started anyway.

The ladies, Donna and Sherry, at the aptly named Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning were the first to get my attention. Before I even contemplating blogging myself I would visit their site and Facebook page regularly for ideas, inspiration or just to simply catch up on what was the latest topic of discussion within the EC world here in Aus.

Not only do they continue to inspire me and countless others, but they have come to be very good friends personally and esteemed colleagues professionally.

Well before I got into blogging, or even had the first hint of a thought about blogging myself, I was aware of the excellent work the Menteach organisation does worldwide for males in the education field.


The MENz group in New Zealand and the World Forum Men in ECE working party were also instrumental in inspiring me to want to do more to encourage blokes to consider this as a career.

Teacher Tom was the first Male EC blogger I came across, but thankfully he was far from the last. For an incomplete list of men who blog about Early Childhood Education check out our More Male ECE Bloggers post.

Of course I discovered these and many other relevant sites through my participation in the Males in early Childhood Network Group. We use to meet regularly and discuss issues that were important to us as individuals and as a group. Most of the guys from that group have moved on, but I still hold close all that they taught me and their passion, support and desire to make a difference will be with me always.

So to those people and organisations I have mentioned I would like to say a huge thanks for lighting the spark within. There are many others who have and continue to inspire me, but that is a post for another (not too distant perhaps)time.

There are so many wonderful people out there trying to make a difference and through their efforts this world is a much happier place. Thank you to all and I hope I have ignited a spark or two myself.


Monday, November 19, 2012

There's Only One Reason That Matters

There have been many reasons touted as to why we need more males in the early childhood education profession. Now while most of them have some validity, there is still a part of me that reasons that women can fulfill those roles too. Let's look at some of the more common ones, shall we?
"Men are needed to be role models for boys."
While it is true that many men would be positive role models, they would be so for all children, regardless of their gender. Likewise, there's absolutely no reason why women cannot also be positive role models for boys. No they can't be a masculine presence, but a positive role is beneficial end of story. Are boys in single mother or lesbian parent families disadvantaged in this area? I don't believe so. Unless their family is painting a landscape of men as evil or to be avoided then I'm sure the loving relationships would provide all that is needed.
"Boys and men are more likely to engage in rough and tumble play."
Yes, rough and tumble play provides wonderful opportunities for children of both genders to develop skills related to interpersonal and intrapersonal boundaries and understanding limits, gross motor development, and exploring real role play in a safe environment. Yet I would argue that women are just as able to participate in this as men. I have often seen females lift children upside down and wrestle with them on the ground. Granted it's not for all women, but not all men would be willing to engage in such play either. Some men, rightly or wrongly, fear that putting themselves in such positions might open themselves up for suspicion.
"Men are better disciplinarians."

This one really gets me. I think people who use this think of discipline only in the form of punishment. That is clearly not the case and even if it were I have no understanding why women are not as capable to enforce said punishment. back to discipline though. I believe people are under the assumption that children listen to men more readily because of their louder and lower toned voices. There may be some truth in that, but I don't have access to relevant research to categorically one way or the other. For me personally, it's more about the way you talk with children. Maintaining their dignity and respecting them throughout any interaction. Children are smart and can read us better than we give them credit for. If we are not respecting them why should they listen?
"More men will raise the profile/status of early childhood education."
Whether or not that is the case, is that really a good reason to employ anyone unless you're in advertising? This in itself is fuelled by another misconception in my opinion. That one reason men don't consider childcare as a career option is because of the low status/pay. Raising the pay for early childhood professionals is an important issue, but should not be linked to attracting more men into the field. They are separate issues and I doubt too many men would be 'lured' by better wages. Few men who would consider early years education as a career option are only holding out for a little more money. I also believe that encouraging more males into ECE won't necessarily raise its status in society.

In my humble opinion, the only reason why more men should be encouraged to enter this profession that matters is that children deserve it. All children. Gender should never be a factor when employing anyone in any position in any industry. However, when children are part of a society that consists roughly of the same number of men and women, yet their prior-to-school learning environments only have a 2-3% male representation then there is some serious imbalance happening in their lives. How can children develop a respect for men and women being able to do anything; building a house, cooking a meal, driving a truck, changing a nappy/diaper if they have limited or no opportunities to see these in action?

By all means get more guys working with young children, but do it for the right reasons and not just to prop up the numbers.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Germany Leading the Way

Last month a groundbreaking conference took place in Berlin. The "International Conference About Men in Early Childhood Education and Care." Men and women from all over Europe and around the world converged on Berlin to discuss the many issues that surround this very topic.

MenTeach has provided a list of in-depth articles arising from this conference and these articles can be accessed here.

Moreover, if you would like to check out the speakers involved and the topics covered check out the conference's actual site here.

While there were a few familiar names there, such as Mick Kenny from Men in Childcare Ireland, Sarah Farquhar from Child Forum and Kenny Spence from Men in Childcare, there were quite a few new names I didn't recognise.

Now while this was a great initiative I am disappointed that I didn't get the opportunity to attend. It would have been wonderful to meet and network with some leaders in the field. I will have to wait for the next event to do so. Hopefully it won't be too many years away and perhaps a little closer to these shores.

Here's hoping.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Is That Man Creepy?

On the weekend I accompanied my son to one of his ever increasing athletic carnivals. These are usually the event I enjoy the most with him as I help out at his events, but for the rest of the time I am merely a spectator like most of the parents. I'm not in the sun all day running an event for every age group for the entire day/weekend. Just for the record, I will be doing just that in a little over a week.

No, this time I was able to relax in between events. having time to just be at those times enables me to bear witness to many things that would otherwise pass me by, or I would only hear of them second or third hand.

There were some very interesting developments that really are side stories to the main reason for my writing. Perhaps I'll get to them one day, but don't count on it.

While sitting in my chair watching the action going on around the ground a little girl, no older than 2, who was sitting nearby with her family began approaching me. First it was to show off some Lego characters she and her siblings/peers had been playing with. Some of them had no heads so that lead to a discussion between us about where their heads might be. She soon returned to her Lego and I went to help out at another event.

A while later the girl returned and gave me a piece of paper. On it was a single blue line drawn in crayon. She told me it was for me and it was the sky.

Near the end of the day she stood nearby with a very small bouncy ball in her hand, shaping up to do a very accurate simulation of a shot put technique. As her mum was busy elsewhere the girl shouted towards me, "Hey, look at me! Look what I can do!" After several demonstrations mum finally came over, scooped her up in her arms and told her it was time to go.

Throughout these interactions and thinking back on them later, the thought kept creeping into my head what people might think of the man engaging with this young child so. Such thoughts never cross my mind on the job. It's what I do and people need to accept it. In public however, it's a different matter. I am naturally drawn to young children and it often seems they are likewise drawn to me. They must sense some sort of affinity between us. Not that I go out of my way to interact with them or anything. I might pull a funny face, wave or simply smile.

Anyway, in the public sphere people will generally not be aware of my occupation and therefore have no context in which to place the behaviour they see, other than there in front of all those people.

My question to all you readers out there is this. Would you think it was creepy for some strange guy to speak with, interact with and even engage in mild play with a young child? Would it make a difference if you knew the child/if it was yours? I am not fearful of such interactions and relationships, but I am mindful of what others may think.

Of course, the whole scenario would more than likely be thrown into a completely different light if I was a woman, but that's a debate for another time.

So is what I did creepy to you? Would you be comfortable with any adult engaging similarly with a young child or are there limits to what you consider acceptable?

I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Risk Taking Conference - The Aftermath

Now I have to say that I was already an advocate for children being able to take risks. Far more than they are often allowed to. However, through the conference I discovered that I still hold children back. Most of this is due to following rules and policies in place. I have been pushing the boundaries of such regulations, but not nearly enough.

I will be advocating to my colleagues to also look at giving children greater freedom to be adventurous. Because you see, it's also a risk for us educators to change our practices and approaches.

Above all else though, the real benefit for such a conference as this is the networking opportunities. The chance to meet up with Marie and Wayne Armstrong from Early Years Care,  Claire Warden from Mindstretchers, Jennifer Kable from Let the Children Play, Natashja Treveton and Nicole Sheehan from Inspired EC, Donna Ridley-Burns and Sherry Hutton from Irresistible Ideas for PLay Based Learning, Niki Buchan from Precious Childhood, Sue Robertson from Nature Alliance Family Day Care and so many others.
I look forward to maintaining the links with all these fabulous professionals and cannot wait for next years' conference. In the meantime, don't be strangers guys. If you were there, even if we didn't get a chance to chat, why not drop on by our facebook page and say hi.
Now everybody get out there and be a little more risky. Play in the rain; roll down a hill; climb a tree; swim in a creek; take the plunge you've never had the nerve to do before. And make sure you take someone along for the ride.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Scarecrow Time

It seems that scarecrows are becoming increasingly popular in early childhood settings. Especially as there is a move back towards natural settings and self sustaining edible gardens. With all that food about there is an increasing need for something to help keep the birds and other critters away.

Take this one over at Flights of Whimsy for example. What's important here is that the children are involved in the process of making the actual scarecrow. This enables them to develop an understanding for its purpose and how it came to be.



This week it was our turn, using material donated by families and members of the community. The children even gave him a name - Sam. An excellent addition to the gardens don't you think?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Risk Taking Conference - The Lead Up

In less than a week I will be attending the "Unwrapping - Encouraging Risk in The Cotton Wool Generation" conference in Newcastle, NSW next weekend, October 27 and 28. A little plug for where I grew up. I will always be a novocastrian at heart.

Anyway, I am so excited to be going to this event. Not only is this an important topic for the early childhood sector, one that I feel passionate about, but also because of who will be there.

This conference will be hosted by Natashja and Nicole from Inspired EC. The keynote speaker will be Claire Warden from Mindstretchers. Other presenters will include such luminaries in the early childhood field as Niki Buchan from Precious Childhood, and Donna and Sherry from Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning. I believe that Jennifer Kable from Let the Children Play will also be in attendance.
I look up to all these people with the greatest of respect and greatly admire the work that they all do. To have the opportunity to finally meet many of them for the very first time is definitely something to get excited about. The fact that I have developed a strong professional and personal online network with these and other early childhood educators, trainers and consultants makes the imminent meeting all the more special to me.
Let's just hope I don't get star struck and can still focus on what each guest speaker has to say. After all, despite a growing trend back towards accepting some risk taking in young children, there is still much work to be done and I want to be fully equipped to fight the good fight.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Coaches are like Teachers

At the beginning of the year I posted about other options open to men other than childcare that would still see them working with children. You can view that post here.

Among those options was that of coach. Specifically sporting coach. Now there are many parallels between teaching and coaching, but one of the most striking is one I was witnessed to recently at an elite junior athletics championships.

Now let me state that I come from a position of a parent first and foremost as I was one long before becoming a teacher. However, each role influences the other. I have also been my son's coach (of sorts) when he was younger. He now receives more effective coaching.

The thing with championships such as these is that it brings out the aggressive parents and coaches. While at these meets I witness some top level coaches and passionate parents who do nothing but encourage their children, albeit quite loudly sometimes. However, all too often these people are outnumbered by the coaches and, worse still in my mind, parents who hurl abuse at these young athletes if they are not performing up to the expectations of those on the other side of the fence.
At the championships my son competes at the ages of the competitors usually range from 8 to 18. Now while some might say that an 18 year old should be able to handle the pressure put on their so called supporters, I beg to differ. No matter what age a person is, infant through to adult, continued and relentless pressure to succeed or meet demanding expectations can have a dramatic and long lasting affect on the individual's mental state.
I have witnessed far too many young person brought to tears by the actions of those who are meant to have the child's best interests at heart. While there is always going to be a competitive side to sports, junior sports in particular, even at the elite level should never lose sight of the enjoyment factor. the future of these young people's wellbeing may well be at stake.
Photo courtesy of Kierna from Learning for Life

Now we come to the title of this post. Why are coaches like teachers? Well if educators at any level are too demanding of those in their care then it too can place unnecessary burdens on young shoulders. Parents, teachers, families, educational services, communities and society in general often expect their children to be the best.
The thing is, even if a child can run faster, jump higher, throw further, write better, speak more eloquently, get top scores in standardized tests, meet high level selection criteria, there's no guarantee that child will be happier, smarter, more skilled than one who doesn't do quite so well in these areas.
Excellence is great. We celebrate it everywhere and so we should, but we shouldn't let the drive for excellence in our children destroy their childhood and even their futures. A well rounded education and development across domains is far more important, especially for younger children, than if they can count to 100 or not.
Don't make them jump through hoops. At least not your hoops and not if they don't want to. If hoop jumping is what they want to do than it will happen  when they are ready for it. Now stop screaming at your kid and give them a hug. it will do them far more good then any amount of lambasting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Break in Transmission

Before you start reading you should be aware that this post had absolutely nothing to do with education, males or any other area normally associated with this blog. In truth is is basically one big long rant. It's not meant for anyone in particular to read. it is simply a way to vent some frustration.

If you look through the list of posts here you will find a few on how fickle our blogosphere is when the internet decides to play up on us. So it has been the past week or so.

With ongoing connectivity issues with our internet provider, sometimes for quite lengthy periods, a decision was made to change providers. Little did we know what an ordeal it would turn out to be.

Contacting the old providers to cancel our account was straight forward enough, except they didn't do it first time around and it took a few days for us to realise this. Then when our account finally was cancelled it was over two weeks after our initial request.

The new provider, in theory, should then have been able to set up our new service. WRONG! For several days they kept telling us they had yet to receive notification that our previous service had been ended. Furthermore, when they did finally receive such notification it would be at least a week before our new account could be activated rather than the 3 days that were originally stated.

Finally, after several complaints they suggested we purchase a prepaid internet account, the cost of which would be subtracted from our first billing period. Now this should have enabled internet access until our account was activated. Should have been, but the problem was that they entered the wrong details so we were not in the system.

With much head scratching, more than a fair share of swearing at the monitor and heaps of pent up anger our connection to the cyberworld was eventually restored late last night.

This is still the temporary prepaid option, but at least we are back.

Makes you wonder though how much these companies actually want new business when they seem to go out of their way to make things as difficult as possible.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's Not Always About Gender

This post is a little different from the usual found here, although it still has gender element to it.

Here in Australia there has been a high profile custody battle across continents over the past 2 years or so. I won't go into details, but you can read the latest here with links to earlier stories available.

On a number social media and news forums there have been various responses to what has taken place and has been portrayed by the media during this ongoing saga.

The danger with such a high profile case is that facts get distorted and it becomes very difficult to sift through all the information in order to find the bare truth.

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on this. However, some opinions seem to disregard or ignore certain facts. Or more worryingly, consider them unimportant.

While the majority of comments I have read, and that is just a mere drop in the ocean of what is actually out there, people are content with the legal process and final judgement handed down. Although they are very concerned about its portrayal in the media.

Still, there are those out there who hold preconceived ideas about gender, no matter what the circumstance. Take this one example from a news/entertainment forum,
"This is what I suspected. It is so easy for a man with financial means to hire a smart lawyer who can manipulate the courts against a financially powerless wife. A grave miscarriage of justice has occurred. But what never ceases to amaze me is the number of people like so many posting on this site who are eager to condemn the woman without knowing the full facts."
I always find it amusing when people put down others for doing exactly what they themselves are doing. Sadly I so often see similar double standards within the teaching profession. But that's for another time.
The facts, as far as I can discern, are that the court ruled in favour of the father under the jurisdiction of the Hague Convention, which was developed with such cases in mind. Yes the legal process is far from perfect, but unless we are privy to all the facts, and we rarely are, then how are we to make educated and informed judgements?
In my humble opinion the gender of the parent in this case is insignificant. International and national laws are what determined the outcome of the court's verdict, as it always should be. As I said however, I am not in possession of all the facts and therefore I have based my view  on what I do know and what I deem to be fair and just.

You my dear reader must make up your own mind. But please don't turn this into a man versus woman issue. It's not always about gender.


Friday, September 28, 2012

A New Survey from New Zealand

Child Forum is a site dedicated to the persuit of excellence and continued growth in the Early Childhood Education field in New Zealand and internationally. Their Chief Executive is Dr Sarah Farquhar, who is a world reknowned researcher and academic with a strong background in encouraging more men into the ECE profession.

They recently published an article which discussed the results of a national survey of teacher educators and EC services. While the overall message is not new - that more men are needed in prior to school settings, there are some palpable figures to back up such claims.

For example, in response to whether the Government should intervene to raise the number of male ECE teachers a remarkable 85% wanted Government action to some degree. This may not exactly surprise people, but it does show how those in the industry place at least some of the responsibility for change with the Government. However, there were concerns in this area including reverse discrimination for men at the expense of women's jobs and also that the quality of the educator might become less important than their gender.

In all but one area mentioned in regards to whether more males would make a difference, over 90% thought that either they would make things better or there would be no difference. The one area where this was not so was 'parents' view the environment as safe for their child'. While there was still 76% who regarded an increas of having no affect or being a benefit, it is still slightly alarming that this is the stand out area of concern for so many.

Anyway, I don't want to disect the entire article. Better for you our there to take from it what you will. I will say it is a great way to gather information and opinions on specific topics. Perhaps similar surveys could be taken in other countries. I, for one, would be interested to see how responses from those in Western countries might differ from others and how we all might compare to the Scandinavians.

So what do you think men would bring to your service or the professiona in general?