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“What is that rope for?” Asked the bright-eyed boy at his first ‘big cricket match.’
“That is to show where the boundary is,” Dad replies
“Boundary, what’s that”
The Father laughs and those around who had heard the question also laughed and some offered sympathy or was it empathy, ‘Well, boy if you could answer that you good.”
“Six and fours,” offered another voice.
“Thanks fellows.” The father said in response and speaking louder to silence the hecklers. “In the game of cricket this rope is to show the field of play. Remember at home how we hit fours and sixes against the paling or over the paling? Well think of the boundary rope as the paling so if the batsman hits the ball over the rope it counts as six runs but if he, and with a chuckle adds or if she – the batter, hits the ball along the ground to the boundary rope it is four runs.”
“So why are the other people laughing and making comments? The youngster probed.
“Well, there are other boundaries in the game of life,” and knowing his son he quickly added, “we shall talk about those boundaries later.” As soon as he said that he knew that he would not escape many questions about the proverbial rope with which he would be tied in knots to explain all the other boundaries. He tried to mentally delay the inquisition but almost with each boundary during the game he thought of another boundary and if they still existed.
He wondered about the boundary between parent and child. So often these days, even in public, it appeared that there was no longer a boundary between parent and child as heard or seen by the exchanges between the two. He often wondered, who is the parent and who is the child? On the other hand, he reflected with some distress how a child was picked up by the police late at night and ‘charged with wandering’ when the fault might lie with the parent, who needing privacy and trying to maintain the parent /child boundary, asks the child to ‘go for a walk’ whilst the parent entertains a partner.
As a teacher he knows full well how difficult it is to maintain the boundary between himself and the student, especially with some fractious parents likely to be unhelpful. He observed, as all teachers probably do, that the parents of a difficult child are often absent from parent/teacher form level meetings.
He tried to put out of his mind some of the tales told, even in his classrooms, about the seeming absence of boundaries between drivers and to a lesser extent conductors of vehicles serving the public, and some students.
On the other hand, he may have to just give verbal comfort to a student whose parents may have erected not only a boundary rope but also a boundary wall between the two of them; and in such circumstances the student may be desperately in need of a hug. That, however, is a boundary rope not to be crossed by him.
The Four “P’s”
Priest or Pastor. Politician and Police – let us examine the boundaries between them and the people. The priest has usually learned the church’s dogma – a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true – and it infuses all their teaching and preaching. The Pastor may incorporate part of other church dogma and add other dimensions. In some or many cases the boundary of expectations, often different, exists between the religious leader and the congregation – especially some young people. On the one hand the person seeking help, solace, direction or advice may be given solutions which are ‘directive,’ for instance, do this or don’t do that, when what may be needed is to help the person develop their own plan given certain guidelines or guidance.
Do politicians have boundaries between themselves and the people they are required to serve? I would say hardly any during election season except as related to the law and lawful practice. And in a sense, it is a hard row to hoe as each individual, and sometimes groups of individuals, expect each campaigning candidate to pay attention to their particular needs at the time of the campaign as well as after the elections, as if there are no boundaries of finance and priorities. The populace must, however, understand that those boundaries are real, and the boundary rope must be put in place.
Now the Police have so many boundaries some of which appear not to exist between former and currently serving officers. Sad. I seem to recall a news report which suggests that the current law enforcers need to get back to the basics. I do recall a police sergeant during the first Communicarib communications course explaining the difference between the police and the members of the Defence Force. He posited that the police were trained to reason with the public whereas the military were not. That might be a basic tenet still useful. And indeed, collaboration between the military and the police to surveil our coasts should still be basic.
Yet, I don’t really understand how the police can be asked to go beyond the boundary and make elements of crime fighting strategy available to the public when such strategy is designed to disrupt criminal activity. From this distance, I believe that communication is an essential aspect of policing which has to provide the Service an opportunity to be a step ahead of criminal intent. Yet, we have to remember that the tools of communication change rapidly and both sides of the law will have access to new tools. Basics today are not the basics of yesteryear.
Back to the game of cricket, did one side commission a swing bowler who might be accused by the opposing team of ‘mashing the crease’ when one recognizes that shipments by sea or air are routinely scanned at the port of departure as well. One will have to ask if those boundaries are designed to rope in all or only some?
In fact, back home we have to recognize that there is still a proverbial “boundary rope” around this field of play and we are all on the field called Barbados.
– Michael Rudder