Acknowledge the truth: Vandalism does matter
Regarding recent instances of vandalism reported in The News-Times: We as a society could greatly reduce vandalism. The first step in making that happen is to recognize it for what it is: an aggressive and antisocial act which reveals malicious intent toward others.
It is frequently downplayed as a nuisance, youthful peccadilloes, or an inevitable cost of freedom. It is often said that decent society is based on trust. A society in which gravestones are overturned, mailboxes smashed and yard ornaments stolen doesn't qualify. The statement of Mr. Robson, Observatory president, that the theft of a planet from the brand-new solar system model "doesn't matter" is not at all helpful because it dismisses a grave societal ill and sweeps it under the rug in a misguided attempt to be constructive and optimistic.
Parents are the child's first teachers, and need to take that role very seriously. Years ago, an analyst commenting on the increase in crime interviewed the parents of youthful offenders. What he found was revealing and still applies today. In most cases, parents said they never specifically preached against crime or instructed their children in morality. Why? Because, they said, "We're good people, and we just assumed our children would turn out to be nice people too."
If there was ever an erroneous assumption, this is it.