Search Results: Barry Gittins

  • MEDIA

    Shielding kids from Grenfell Tower televised trauma

    • Barry Gittins
    • 16 June 2017
    4 Comments

    An article focusing on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings reported that people 'exposed to more than six hours of daily media coverage of the tragedy were more likely to experience symptoms of acute stress than those directly affected by the event'. News junkies, or those who saw extended coverage, were found to be worse off than those who actually survived the bombings. This is sobering as we consider how we deal with our children's exposure to traumatic events playing out on TV news.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't turn away from dire child abuse stats

    • Barry Gittins
    • 25 May 2017
    7 Comments

    Australian kids are being bashed, raped, starved, scorned and otherwise treated with no dignity or kindness. The study states it is not simply a case of one-off abuse, noting that 'research has demonstrated that maltreatment sub-types seldom occur in isolation (e.g. sexual abuse is often accompanied by psychological maltreatment or physical abuse)'. That is difficult reading. It makes me sick to write it. But the paper should, in a just society, serve as a catalyst for a national conversation.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    How to survive the crucible of school bullying

    • Barry Gittins
    • 24 February 2017
    7 Comments

    Squarely back into the school year, dinner conversations with our kids have included strategies for dealing with bullies. A 2016 survey of 20,000 Australians students found one in four respondents reported being bullied, and bullying 'was more common for year 5 students and year 8' - the grade levels of our boy and girl respectively. I'd love to be the 'parent nonpareil', with the right words and advice, but it's not that simple. The variables of personality and situation mean there is no easy, perfect answer.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Kids bear the bite of fractured family foibles

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 07 December 2016

    Families can be sites of great love and nourishment, and also of pain and trauma - often, all of these things, to varying degrees. The Family Fang focuses on the lives of adults bearing the mental and emotional ramifications of what can fairly be described as an abusive upbringing. It provides an illuminating counterpoint to Little Men, in which the close and sincere friendship of teenage boys comes under strain from their parents' 'grown-up' problems.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tips for surviving Christmas angst

    • Barry Gittins
    • 06 December 2016
    5 Comments

    Cricket games, feasts, the origami orgy of Christmas present wrappings rent asunder ... the underlying truth in all of this, for many of us, is deep emotional pain and loneliness that's gone unheard, unnoticed, all year. Family is both a lodestone and a millstone at Christmas. It's a truth magnified by aspirational love. As Pope John XXIII once said, cutting close to home, 'Mankind is a great, an immense family. This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.' It's a big ask that carries a price.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Bobbling their way from innocence to experience

    • Barry Gittins
    • 13 October 2016
    1 Comment

    I attempted at one stage to lodge snippets of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience into the minds of our children. Emily complained that 'symmetry' didn't really rhyme with 'hand or eye'; Ben was and is more into dragons than tigers. The question later pondered of Blake's tiger 'Did He smile His work to see? Did He who made the lamb make thee?' regularly confronts me, as my wife semi-mourns and I embrace the maturing process that is taking our children towards adulthood.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The holy sacrament of coffee communion

    • Barry Gittins
    • 15 August 2016
    12 Comments

    Within the first 20 minutes of my morning, I pay homage to life by partaking in that glorious gift to humanity, coffee. As well as the contested space around coffee's possible physical health benefits and purported dodgy effects, going for a coffee is good for the soul. Humans are social creatures, and coffee lubricates our communing. Over a cuppa I have shared hardships, counselled and been counselled, listened to tales of brokenness and celebrated the wins that punctuate our travails.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Buddhist traffic light

    • Lesley Lebkowicz, Andrew Madigan, Barry Gittins
    • 02 August 2016
    1 Comment

    My friend, new to Mandalay, never before in Asia, sighs as she sees the east- and west-bound cars and rickshaws slow to a ragged fringe across the intersection. The north- and south-bound take their turn in the same gentle, fearless lack of order. Ah, she says, see how aware they are, each of the other. Such harmony: you can tell it's a Buddhist country. Spoilsport, I point to where, so easily ignored, enmeshed in a thicket of wire overhead, lights flicker: green, amber, red.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Inequality in Australia is dental as anything

    • Barry Gittins
    • 13 May 2016
    5 Comments

    British research presented at the 2013 International Association of Dental Research posited 'a link between missing teeth and a patient's quality of life' and cited other research on observers' 'perception of men and women with straight and crooked teeth'. Furthermore, research by the Salvation Army in Australia records that 66 per cent of the Salvos' welfare clients could not afford dental treatment and two in five could not afford a yearly dental check-up for their children.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Making a meal of the body politic

    • Barry Gittins
    • 20 April 2016
    1 Comment

    When you make a meal of body politic you've got to crack the whole thing open, season to taste with bestrewn flakes of policy offal and prejudged bakes ... serve offshore detention? Just add water, salt to taste and erase border. Grind those grubby unions, peel any sign of party donations and extractions from sorbeted cosseted carapaces. Stop the gloats, straighten up and get flyers Right ... Serve pre-heated post May's entree of budget salad.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Death and the (young) maiden

    • Barry Gittins
    • 02 March 2016
    3 Comments

    This year we faced the prospect of having Wolfgang, our 16-year-old apricot Spoodle, euthanised. This was sad for me, my wife, and our son. But for our daughter, entering her first year of high school, it presented a looming disaster. Mark Twain is purported to have said that 'the fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.' Timidity equals preoccupation with mortality? No disrespect to Samuel, but it's unlikely he shared that gem with his daughters.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Not racist but

    • Barry Gittins
    • 01 December 2015
    5 Comments

    I'm not homophobic, but if you question my relished prejudice, satirise my hissy fits, you're not playing fair. I'm not racist, but don't you call out my revulsion, or reveal cultural discrimination (not here over there). I'm not sexist but your flaunting of sexual freedom, power, makes me long for lost hour ... If you peer quite closely you will notice I am mostly not a loving breathing person (that's rare).

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