When I was a kid my parents would take pains to let me know what was in my best interest. This was because they knew. Of course they knew, they were the experienced ones.
Thirty plus years on and I look at my two sons and I have little idea of what is in their best interest. If I don’t understand the motivation for hardstyle techno music that currently consumes my 14 year old, how can I know if it is in his best interest.
Sure I know more about what might harm my kids than they do and can advise, even police some activities. I can also tell them what I found or have seen to be bad for folk, but can I really know what is in their best interest?
I don’t think so because I am not them. I advise against the bad, caution where there is risk, but I can’t know what is best for them.
The other day I was in a meeting where a representative of a conservation NGO made a remark to the effect that “saving threatened species was in the public interest”.
Wow, I thought, quite a claim. My reflex was to react and mount a challenge. How could one group with, right or wrong, a minority view, claim the public interest was theirs? I calmed my instinct and just smiled.
But now I am curious. If I find it hard, or even illogical, to know the best interest of my sons how can I know the public interest?
Makes you think.