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Mike's Minute: How dare a business encourage kids to wag school

Author
Mike Hosking,
Section
Video,
Publish Date
Thursday, 7 March 2019, 6:52a.m.

COMMENT: 

Has Warehouse Stationery crossed a line? They have launched a campaign to promote the value, or power, of print in an increasingly digital world. 


On Sunday you can take your design, dawdle, or picture, and have it printed on high-quality paper. And you can do this with their encouragement if you're one of those who are walking out of school to protest lack of action on climate change.


And they say, and I quote, "As the first large company in New Zealand to go carbon neutral, we're inspired by the Schools 4 Climate Action next Friday, and we'd love it if students took advantage of our free printing service." 


Now is it the role of business to promote protests? To encourage kids to bunk school when it's a legal requirement to actually not bunk school? 


Or is this yet another virtue signalling sop, that allows Warehouse Stationery to position themselves at the forefront of one of our current PC fascinations, namely climate change? Or are they encouraging just general protest? 


Will they be supplying free printing to the doctors, nurses, and bus drivers next time they're on strike? And if not, why not? Is their cause not quite as earnest? 


Has the company thought through the implications of encouraging kids to a protest, and protest movement,  against the will of the parents of those kids who will unquestionably go "what's your problem mum? Even The Warehouse are into it." 


And what this all forgets and misses is the simple truth: if we all stopped and checked ourselves for just a minute, given we have all been there as kids, is that this is not about climate change - it's about bunking off and having fun. It's a day out with mates, it's about noise making, attention, and generally just skiving off. 


To pretend otherwise is to have acquired a major dose of delusion in our outlook between now, and when we would have done exactly the same thing as students ourselves. 


Make the protest on a Saturday, or at 5pm and just see how many turn up then. 


And in that reality is the futility of all this, even if there was a teaching moment, which there isn't, the teaching moment would have been about dedication to a cause, about passion, belief, and trying to create change through protest. 


All that we get out of this is time off school, and a corporate looking to leverage that to make them look cool with the kids. 


And that's before you get to the value of protest itself. Like so much of life, the days of placards, marches, and dumb chants are largely over. And the parts that aren't over aren't effective. It's a digital age, it's clickbait news, and standing in front of something arms linked singing "we shall overcome" belongs to another decade. 


We are teaching the kids nothing. What's next? Burn your bra lessons? Is Bendon going to sponsor that? 


Let the schools get on with learning - and Warehouse Stationery can stick to the magic markers.

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