"My dear old mother used to say,'Billy, you don't get anything in this life without looking after what you've got and never taking on board what you don't want.'
My father was an unschooled man who was working full time by the age of thirteen years. He had a strict moral code and paid great respect to the community rules which governed the neighbourhood.
He used to provide me with advice on keeping my self respect. His main tips were, (1) Never hit a woman. (2) Never fail to help a widow or orphan if the opportunity arises. (3) Always leave an employer properly so that you can always go back if things don't work out for you in your new job. (4) However high or low your job is, always do it to the best of your ability. (5) Never watch a woman being assaulted without intervening. (6) What you can't do with your fists in a fight, don't disgrace yourself by doing it at all.
It was his advice in this latter aspect of only using one's fists in a fight that recently came to mind after reading about some poor chap who'd died after being trampled on, kicked and stabbed after a brutal and senseless attack by a gang of drunken yobs.
When I was at my first school, the rules about fighting in the playground were that you shouldn't, but if you did and were caught doing so, woe betide the boy or girl who didn't fight fairly. The unwritten but understood rules were, girls could push to the ground, tussle and roll on the ground, scratch and pull hair, but never resort to punching. The boys on the other hands were allowed to punch their opponent, but never pull hair, bite or kick. Any transgressors of these rules would be caned by the head as well as being booed out of the playground by one's peers.
Our games teacher, Mr. Paddy MacNamara, would never tolerate any use of the feet unless it was for athlethic, sport or gymnastic purpose. Any boys he caught kicking an opponent in a fight would be publicly shamed by having to enter the sack race at the end of term. It wasn't a race that a boy wanted to win, but rather one they'd never have to compete in. My dad always approved of Mr MacNamara's choice of punishment and being shamed into behavioural change was an aspect that I was to later take on board in my work as a Probation Officer working with violent offenders." William Forde: September 16th, 2014.