Having finally completed a long post, Sunday Essay - The beliefs of a New England populist, I had absolutely no intention of writing another post. Then, as I often do, I checked Neil's blogs. He had another post on the Henson matter, the controversy that has broken out over a Sydney art gallery display of child photos.
Neil's posts on this issue will give you a feel. They are:
Now I don't want to comment on the imbroglio. I just don't feel strong enough. Instead I just want to make a short, very personal, comment.
Since we came down to Sydney in early 1996 I have been the primary child care person. Cooking, school, all that lot, while still working if mainly from home.
I was jotting down some notes because I thought that the experience might make an interesting, even useful, series. One thing I was going to refer to was the impact of our current obsession with child sexual abuse.
Putting this quite simply and bluntly, it really adds to the difficulty of any male taking on the primary child care role, especially where girls are involved. You have to guard what you say and do all the time to ensure that the most innocent actions are not misinterpreted.
Kids, especially primary kids, need affection and like cuddles. That's a no no. But how do you stop a nine year old friend of your kids who has known you for half her life from giving you a hug? Even swinging kids around in the play ground can, as it did in my case, lead to someone calling you a pervert.
Or what about cases where your kids want a friend to come home and the mother rings up to check that your wife will be there? And the kid cannot come because your wife will be at work.
It all makes things very hard.