- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 12 Oct 1993, p. 121-132
- Philip, His Royal Highness the Prince, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Prince Philip attempts to answer the question, "What makes a mature and responsible citizen?" An historical, theoretical and anecdotal exploration of this issue. Overview of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme: its purpose, features, and need for financial support. The Scheme's 30th anniversary in Canada.
- Date of Original
- 12 Oct 1993
- Language of Item
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- The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
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- Full Text
- His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
THE NEXT GENERATION
Chairman: Dr. Frederic L. R. Jackman President, The Empire Club of Canada
Head Table Guests
Paul D. J. Clark, President, Tri-C Consultants Ltd., Director, The Empire Club Foundation and Chairman, The Empire Club's 90th anniversary event; Gregory Belton, President, Muntz & Beatty Insurance Brokers and President, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award; Phyllis Rawlinson, one of the four women polo players to play competitively internationally for Canada in the 1930s and served with the British Wrens trained by Billy Bishop throughout World War 11; The Very Rev. Duncan Abraham, Dean of Toronto and Rector, St. James Cathedral; Peter Munk, Chairman and CEO, American Barrick Resources Corporation; Malcolm Basing, President, Swiss Bank Corporation (Canada); Mrs. Kenneth L. Campbell, Chairman and CEO, Dover Industries Ltd.; The Honourable Charles Dubin, Chief Justice of Ontario; Maj.-Gen. Reginald Lewis, C.M.M., C.M., C.D., Chairman, The Empire Club Foundation, a Past President, The Empire Club of Canada and a Past President, Ontario Council, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award; The Honourable Henry N. R. Jackman, C.M., K.St.J., B.A., LL.B., LL.D., Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario and Honorary Vice-President, The Empire Club of Canada; Col. Leslie C. Parkinson, Honorary Director, The Empire Club of Canada and celebrating his 90th birthday; Meredith Hendy, grade 13 student, Lakefield College and currently working on her gold medal for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award; Brig.-Gen. Denis Whitaker, Honorary Colonel, Royal Hamilton Light Infantry; William J. McCormack, Chief of Police, Metropolitan Toronto; Peter Davies, British Consul General; Col. Frank McEachren, Director, The Empire Club Foundation; Jean Casselman-Wadds, former Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and a Past Director, The Empire Club of Canada; Hartland M. MacDougall, C.V.O., O.C., Chairman, Royal Trustco Limited and Honorary Treasurer, The Empire Club of Canada.
Introduction by Dr. Jackman
Members of The Empire Club of Canada, today is a very special occasion. First, we welcome the return of His Royal Highness the Prince Philip to The Empire Club, after an absence of 24 years. Your return sir, is indeed a most pleasing and eagerly anticipated happening. Secondly, this luncheon marks the first of the Club's 90th anniversary celebrations. We are most pleased, Your Royal Highness, that you are able to be here to help make this occasion memorable.
I would like to dwell on the origin of The Empire Club so all can understand why His Royal Highness' presence is so valued.
In 1903, the year the Club began, Canada was more closely connected to England than it is now. Many in Canada were fiercely loyal to the old country, while others were adopting a pro-Canada stance. People were resisting decisions that affected Canada which were being made in Britain or seemed to be made there.
One such judgment that provoked outrage had to do with awarding the United States the Alaskan panhandle--formerly the long, thin strip of land on the Pacific north-west coast belonging to British Columbia.
At about this time, luncheon speaking clubs, such as we are today, became popular. It was believed that one such club--The Canadian Club-had sided more with the pro-Canadian, anti-British view regarding the Alaskan situation.
Wanting to establish a club more in keeping with a Loyalist view, a little group of men met at what was recently known as Lulu's Cafe (then Webb's Restaurant on Yonge at King) to organize The Empire Club of Canada. The date was November 18, 1903.
The Club began--and continues--as one of the loyal societies in Canada. Our members are proud to be part of the pre-eminent speakers' Club in Canada. We take no small measure of satisfaction in being the only Club to maintain an accurate record--contained in the annual yearbook--of every address. Our Club is a witness to history--and our history is a witness to loyalty.
In 1969, when Prince Philip was last at The Empire Club, he talked of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme in Canada. He said to us then, "The Scheme is not very well known in Canada for a variety of reasons. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of you here had never heard of it until you found yourselves coming to this lunch." (Oct. 22, 1969)
I would venture, sir, that most everyone knows something about the Scheme today. In fact, some know so much about the Awards that they will receive recognition this afternoon or very soon.
Prince Philip has witnessed youth for a lifetime. He understands much of the turmoil, the difficulties, the pitfalls and pleasures that challenge young people. He has observed, throughout the Commonwealth, more than a generation become adult. Today, he will address us on his topic: The Next Generation.
It is my very great honour to present to you His Royal Highness, the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
'The young people of today are the citizens of tomorrow' is a popular platitude. It is true enough, but it seems to assume that they will become responsible citizens as a matter of course. All the evidence suggests that it takes a great deal of time and effort on the part of parents, teachers, voluntary youth organizations and churches to help young people become responsible citizens.
The truth is that there is a significant difference between a pupil--or a student for that matter--and a mature and responsible citizen. This is not a criticism of the young, it is just a simple statement of fact. Babies may be born with instincts and particular genes, but they are born ignorant and they are expected to become responsible--at least politically--within 18 years. Considering the mass of experience that has been accumulated by human civilization over several thousand years, this is a major challenge for any young person, and every year it gets worse.
The problem that every generation of mature responsible citizens--and I assume that all the members of The Empire Club of Canada come under that heading--the problem it has to face is how to help the members of the next generation to understand the world around them and to achieve, in the shortest possible time, the status of mature and responsible citizens within the context of the conditions of the contemporary world.
There can be no doubt that professional teachers know more about the business of teaching the young than the rest of us, but it is important not to confuse the means with the ends. The means are the business of the teaching profession, but every mature and responsible citizen has the duty and the right to have a say about what the ends should be.
Some years ago I was visiting a technical college in British Columbia. At the end of the visit I was invited into their media training studio to answer some questions. All went well to start with, but I was completely taken aback by the last question. It was to the effect that did I have any advice for the students when they left the college.
After praying desperately for some sort of inspiration, my prayer must have been answered as I heard myself saying that if they were clean, honest and polite, they would be doing the world more good than harm. This seemed to be received with general approval and, for once, I was able to leave such an interview without wondering whether I had put my foot in something.
It is perfectly true that life in the more prosperous countries has been becoming daily more technical and complicated. It is also becoming more competitive and, since many more people have to rely on getting a job in order to achieve the standard of living which they have come to expect, training for jobs has come to be seen as the most important aspect of education. The tendency is therefore to judge the success of schools and colleges almost entirely on the record of academic achievements of their students. (I sometimes feel that it would be more revealing if they were to be required to publish the number of their former students presently in gaol).
I would suggest that academic education and technical training are only elements--very important elements--in the broader process of the formation and development of young people. The question, of course, is whether academic education and intellectual or technical qualifications are really all that young people need to prepare them to provide for themselves and their families and to maintain and, hopefully, to improve the level of contemporary civilization. The attitude and behaviour of some young people--and indeed of many adults--suggests that their preparation has not been wholly adequate to the task.
Looking back into history, it seems clear that the most successful way of enforcing reasonable standards of behaviour was by applying sufficiently severe punishments or reprisals to deter those who would otherwise indulge their uncivilized practices. Fear of reprisals is about the only restraint that some people are prepared to recognize.
However, the snag is that we are now supposed to be living in caring, considerate and humanitarian societies, where effective reprisals are no longer tolerated. The result appears to mean that the bullies and aggressors are free to do what they like, without any fear of the sort of reprisals that they might respect.
The former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia are cases in point. No sooner was the harsh communist regime lifted than crime and vicious civil wars have made life intolerable for the ordinary citizens. Once respect for the law and civilized behaviour is lost, the law of the jungle takes over. The trouble is that laws and threats of reprisals are negatives in that they forbid things. I believe it is just as important, if not more so, to encourage and motivate young people to do the right things of their own volition.
I suppose every generation has had to learn to live with the angry, the prejudiced, the protesters and the extremists, but that is no reason to give up the idea of trying to inculcate more civilized and rational behaviour in the young. This will not be achieved if they see that uncivilized behaviour in the community and in the entertainment media is apparently acceptable and praiseworthy.
Many people recognize that sport and recreation develop bodily fitness. I would suggest that participation in sport, particularly in team games, also teaches some of the most basic lessons in behaviour. Team games are exercises in structured co-operation. It is the co-ordination of individual skills and team tactics and the sublimation of individual ambitions for the good of the team that brings success. That is precisely the formula that makes for successful enterprises and communities.
The game itself has to be played according to the rules and there is a referee or umpire to ensure that infringements are penalized. Rules are not established with a view to restricting human rights. They are simply to allow all the players to enjoy the game. Envy and jealousy are very much parts of human nature. Most people do not like the idea that others are better off than they are, but envy and jealousy are as nothing to the sense of injustice that we all feel if the law is seen to be biased or unfair and its enforcement inefficient or corrupt.
Games, therefore, emphasize the vital part played by those who are required to enforce the rules. This is the essence of the principle of the rule of law in society as a whole, so that games and sports are object lessons in the need to abide by the law, to apply it fairly and to accept the decisions of those who are employed to enforce it.
Most sports are competitive and, whether we like it or not, so is life in general. The essential element in competitive sports is the spirit in which they are undertaken. The other team, or the other guy, has just as much right to win and the same expectation that the other side will not cheat. After all that training and preparation, losing may be very disappointing, but glorying in triumph or resenting defeat is not going to make you a popular opponent.
One of the most important lessons that sport can teach is that it is impossible to succeed without adequate training and preparation. Talent helps, but there is no short cut to success, and this is only too true about life itself.
Since only a very small minority of teams or individuals can ever expect to win all their contests, it is just as important to learn how to win and also how to lose gracefully and to be generous in victory and resilient in defeat. If sport is to be enjoyed by all participants, sportsmanship and fair play really are important factors. Just as good citizenship and tolerance make life better in every community.
The second aspect in the formation of young people is the development of imagination and skills. I think we are all aware that life is more than work and play. One of the greatest joys and most rewarding experiences is what might be described as the pursuit of cultural activities. They form a very special element in the development of personality and character. It is through the arts and crafts that the human personality is at its freest and most imaginative.
The need, therefore is to encourage the young to develop a taste for some kind of creative cultural activity. However it is not quite the same thing as teaching such basic, and necessary, skills as reading, writing and arithmetic. There is a very wide choice of creative pursuits, so young people cannot be expected to make a sensible choice unless they are aware of at least some of the options. Making them aware is one thing; better still, is to offer them opportunities to gain first-hand experience of as many of the options as possible.
The whole academic system, the organization of sports recreations and the introduction to skills and leisure pursuits are, as it were, adult-led. They are part of the process of transferring human experience from one generation to the next, but one essential element in growing up is self-discovery. I would therefore suggest that the third aspect is the need for every young person to discover for themselves how they would react to the responsibility of leadership and how they would respond to pressure or crisis.
One way of doing this is by challenging a group to plan and carry out some form of demanding expedition. It is also called adventure training, although the crucial test comes after initial training in map-reading, camp-craft and first aid. The essence of the experience is in the planning and execution of the expedition by the young people on their own.
Some people argue that this sort of thing can be dangerous. Almost anything in modern life can be dangerous, but the specialists have shown that even the most alarming activities can be made virtually harmless by training, practice and sticking to the rules discovered by experience. It would be extremely dangerous for someone to buy a ticket to Nepal and set off to climb Everest in a business suit with an attache case. The fact is that many people have climbed Everest, and returned to tell the tale, but only after rigorous training and experience. It would be equally fool-hardy to try to play polo without knowing how to ride.
Such activities will always be demanding, and it is the demanding element that matters, but they need not be dangerous if they are undertaken sensibly and responsibly. Coping with fatigue, responding to the unforeseen, making decisions under stress; it is this sort of experience that helps young people to discover their true metal, and almost invariably they find out that they are far tougher and more capable and resilient than they ever suspected.
Finally, the fourth aspect is that young people need some form of ethical instruction. A comprehension of the difference between good and evil is not inherited through the genes. No matter how highly young people may be qualified in a profession or occupation, it matters very much that they should do their work with honesty and integrity. Civilization would not be very well served by brilliant crooks.
Teaching civilized attitudes and standards of behaviour is a very difficult business. Social scientists may have different views, but there are many reasons to believe that young people are more likely to absorb attitudes and patterns of behaviour by experience, precept and example than by formal instruction. If the young grow up among adults who are clean, honest and polite, the chances are that they will do the same. There is a natural inclination to conform, and even those who set out actively not to conform generally end up conforming with each other anyway. The influence on the young of standards of behaviour in the home and at school is therefore very significant.
I believe that the most difficult area in the formation of young people is the introduction to what might be called the spiritual life. It may not play the same part in the case of every individual, but there is every reason to believe that most people are aware of the spiritual element in their personalities. Some have a deep yearning to know how they fit into the universal scheme of things. Since even science cannot supply the answers to the sort of questions they want to ask, they have to turn elsewhere to provide them with ideas on which they can base their beliefs.
The significance of having a belief or a faith, is that it becomes the motivation for behaviour. It is one thing to try to convince people that certain actions are socially harmful, but it is quite another matter to ensure that they do not indulge in them. Laws are important, but it is only when people feel a sense of moral commitment to a certain code of behaviour that they will willingly abide by it without the threat of the law.
This is the traditional area of the religions, but there is now a lively debate about the participation of the religions in an educational system in a multi-faith, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society. The need for an introduction to, if not instruction in, the spiritual element of human nature is probably greater now than ever. The problem, in a secular society, is how this is best achieved.
If the responsibility of the established religions to teach this subject in schools is removed, there remains the need to put something in its place. All the evidence suggests that without some sort of basic instruction, a kind of vacuum is left in the developing mind and this will, at some time in the future, suck in some plausible alternative, and very probably, dangerous ideology.
A standard of ethics is not only needed at work. I rather doubt whether tolerance and consideration for others comes naturally to many people. When Charles Colson (of Watergate fame) received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion earlier this year, he suggested that the goodness of man was one of the four great myths of our times. Indeed there is only too much evidence of aggressive and offensive behaviour, both physically--as by terrorists and some demonstrators--and by the pen which according to the old saying '... is mightier than the sword.'
There is also the matter of personal relationships within the family, in school, in sport and between people of opposite sexes. Without some self-discipline and even some self-sacrifice, these relationships can become unstable and end in unhappiness and even violence.
I believe there is a practical lesson in ethical behaviour to be learned by encouraging young people to develop a concern for the welfare of those less fortunate than themselves and to be able to help people in distress. This can be done by inviting them to give some form of voluntary service in the community. Most young people respond to invitations to help and most of them appreciate that they have to learn how to give that help. The lesson they may learn is that kindness and consideration have positive social values.
Having said all that, I hope it will not come as a complete surprise to you that it is these four aspects of extra-curricular activities to which the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme is directed. It is an entirely practical scheme and it is based on the principle that young people learn by experience. Each of the four sections provides different experiences and they can each teach a number of different lessons. It provides opportunities to take part in sport, to develop a skill, to undertake a demanding expedition, to learn about voluntary service, and there is always a chance that young people will discover something about commitment as a result of their contacts with the many adult volunteer leaders, coaches and instructors who make the whole thing possible.
I want to emphasize that it is not a youth organization. It does not involve membership of any kind; it is simply offered as a service to all young people, whether they are at school, in college or at work, and whether they are members of voluntary youth organizations, or just individual participants. Above all, it recognizes that no single group or organization can do the whole job of helping the young to prepare themselves for the challenges of adult life. That job needs the active collaboration of parents, teachers, voluntary organizations and the churches.
There is, of course, just one more factor. Even though the cost per participant is modest, the Scheme still needs to be financed. Unfortunately, there is one important difference between businesses and charities. The more successful the business, the more money it makes; the more successful a charity becomes, the more it costs. There is no getting away from it; this Scheme can only be made available to more young people if it can attract more financial support.
I would like to acknowledge the many public-spirited personal, trust and corporate donors, who have given such generous support to the Scheme. It goes without saying, that more of such support would allow the Scheme to reach many more young people in Canada.
The Scheme is celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of its introduction to Canada, and the evidence is that it has been generally successful in helping the participants to grow up to be responsible citizens. I have every reason to believe that the formula will continue to be relevant for many years to come.
The appreciation of the meeting was expressed by Col. Frank McEachern, Director, The Empire Club Foundation.