If we keep on telling teenagers they are hooligans, we could make them feel they should live up to their reputation. So, why don't we calm down and look for positive stories? Let's see how a little acknowledgement and praise works. Here's my story of some typical local boys:
The next stage of my garden development was to have been the rockery but the wet weather has delayed the work. As we are enjoying a brief dry spell, I thought I could get some topsoil up to the top of the rockery and plant the jasmine, passion flowers and clematis which have been sitting in pots for weeks. Have you any idea how heavy topsoil becomes when it has been left in torrential rain? I could only manage to lift about one twentieth of a bag at a time and I had six bags to shift. The MM is, typically, away watching cricket matches and I couldn't think of anyone who owed me that kind of favour, so I went out and stopped a 13 year old boy who was skateboarding past the house and asked if he had any friends who would like to earn a little pocket money lifting heavy buckets of soil. He said he would talk to his friends and maybe see me in half an hour.
In fact it was one and a half hours later that the doorbell rang and five grinning boys told me they were reporting for work. Here they are, being supervised by my gardener, Becky, who had feared that she and I would be spending several days on the task. The lads were so enthusiastic that they carried on and did a bit of weeding too.
When they had finished, I asked what they thought their labours had been worth and it transpired that they did not expect to be paid anything. One boy said, "I only came to see if I was able to do it." I did pay them, quite handsomely I think, but I had the impression that the invitation and the praise meant more to them.
Here they are: the good guys.