Too much of contemporary society has been a vacation from responsibility. Children have been the victims of our self-serving beliefs that you can have partnerships without the responsibility of marriage, children without the responsibility of parenthood, social order without the responsibility of citizenship, liberty without the responsibility of morality, and self-esteem without the responsibility of hard work and achievement.
I have seen, in our schools and youth groups, what happens to children when you challenge them to greatness by service to others. They exceed all our expectations. Children grow to fit the space we create for them. If it is big they grow tall. If it is small, they rebel.
We need a new culture of responsibility. Societies can be re-moralised. The 1820s showed us how. This week’s riots showed us why. We need to challenge young people to exercise moral leadership, and the only way of doing so is by starting with ourselves.