Standing Up For What is Right…..Never easy!

Always a bit intimidating to have a camera in your face!

Well it has been an interesting week! I wrote my blog last week about the “incident” I experienced after taking a couple of photographs of my wee girl playing netball. (Link here: Political Correctness: Good Guys Don’t Win). Well this was read and commented on all over the country and indeed in places like the USA, Afghanistan and the UK. As they say “it went viral!” Early in the week I was contacted by the Producer of “Campbell Live” about appearing on the show.

Feedback from my blog online and on Facebook  overwhelmingly was one of shock. Shock at our PC society which, on one hand bags fathers (at every opportunity) for not being involved enough in their kids lives, growth, sports and general upbringing, and then on the other hand makes them insecure about what they should or should not do.

Caetana bravely does her bit in front of the camera.

Astonishingly, the issue of parents taking photographs of their kids in public places and being verbally set upon or confronted is common place. Friends and readers relayed similar situations that have either occurred to them or that they have witnessed at sports and school events.

It is not easy thing to put yourself out there so publicly, but there is a time you stand up for what you believe is right. I felt strongly enough to write a blog about it so I reasoned I should be prepared to front the issue in person.

After all this incident had forced us as a family to have to explain the whole situation to Caetana. We’d had to help her understand why it was even an issue that Dad was “told off” by the Police for taking her picture at Netball. She was well aware of “stranger danger” (after Police school programs & Dad’s warnings about getting into strangers cars etc) but explaining the issue around men taking kids photos for the wrong reasons is somewhat more complex I can assure you. We had to decide whether we exposed her to the media as well. We took the decision that it would be a lesson for her in standing up for what you believe in and for me this was one the best lessons that my parents taught me about life. Albeit they went about it outside the media!

My Grandmother was a wee sweetheart, yet as tough as woodpecker lips! She was born in the windswept Shetland Islands (Scotland) and lived by the saying “Be strong and of good courage”.  It is on her headstone and it is something my mother resonates with and in turn I refer to during events in my life. My father always backs his kids in whatever situation “if it is the right thing to do.”

But I guess it is one thing talking and writing about it, it is another actually putting yourself out there for national scrutiny (link here for the Campbell Live Interview). What have I learnt from it all;

  • This is a common occurrence as the large amount of feedback shows,
  • It is a touchy and emotive subject. The right to be a parent and do parent things clashes with those who feel it is their right to protect their kids no matter what.
  • I think it is right to find out who is taking photos but a bit of common courtesy should be maintained and less confrontation and less absolute demands and threats of calling in the Police. How about a bit of common sense and less of the “all men have bad intentions”.
  • Most New Zealanders are seemingly unaware about the laws of photography. If you are in public you actually have no rights to privacy. That is how the media works. The test that courts have applied in the few cases coming before them uses the test “would this be deemed appropriate by a reasonable person”.
  • Overwhelmingly the response has been positive and supportive for making a stand for Dad’s and parents who are not doing anything wrong. 
  • The Police are the good guys. I’m glad they came, it defused what could have been a nasty situation, it reinforced to my daughter that they will help her if she needs them and they quickly summed up the situation and dealt with it a large helping of common sense.
Of course there are the detractors and those of opposing opinion and I accept there always will be but I’m glad I fronted up and said what needed to be said.
Now I can hopefully get back to being a Dad and teaching, growing and guiding a daughter that I am very proud of and one who will add positively to our community.
She was after all the player of the day……..and I missed most of the game!

3 Replies to “Standing Up For What is Right…..Never easy!”

  1. Mate,I watched the interview and was astounded at what had happened! It was certainly something I would not have (and have not previously) considered, I do understand that it could be touchy, but I personally would not have thought twice about it…until now. Good on you for standing up!!! I cant wait to hear what the reaction is from the crazy woman if you see her again next week!!! It sounds like she is a little unbalanced anyway…Great blog too! Terry McDonald

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