John on retiring
" Leaving the work and interests of the Unit is far from easy for me, and, inevitably I still 'meddle'.
I have had a good time
Throughout my career I have been very fortunate in meeting and working with so many professionals who genuinely care for the well being of the young people they serve. A splendid sense of humour is also a common characteristic shared amongst them. In many presentations of results of surveys of young people’s behaviour I recall my comment that, “These measurements that we have made are very serious, but please have permission to laugh at some of them should the need arise in you.” I made real friends.
Amongst the results fed back to communities involved in the surveys are those which are cause for concern. The media invariably focus on these. Across thirty years of my close interaction with journalists, complaints I have voiced to individuals amongst them about this focus in their behaviour results in their explanation that bad news is one of the best methods of attracting attention. Attention is further enhanced if this “news” can generate conflict. This saddens me. So much of the data collected in the surveys of young people shows them to be vigorous, outgoing and caring. School management teams own their results. They can and do use them to good effect in counterbalancing the media distortion. Good news to be available at staff meetings and parents’ meetings is easily found."