Reflecting on robustness

By MOT's founder:

The causes of the causes

One may easily communicate that those who are part of criminal environments, terror groups or Neo-Nazi groups attend because of an ideology. However, only the fewest are part because of the ideology. They do because they want to belong to a group.

Last Wednesday I had lunch and spent most of the day with Ragnhild Bjørnebekk. She’s a researcher at the Norwegian Police Academy and an expert on violence, crime and gangs – worldwide. I really enjoyed listening to Ragnhild when she talked about the importance of focusing on the causes of the causes. She told that the characteristics of many of those we are talking about have or have been exposed to an ‘overdose’ of external risk factors. Many have grown up with an inner vulnerability and easily do like others do to be liked and to have a connection. . . Many have no positive views on themselves and they’ve had an ‘overdose’ of negative response at young age. They are or have been in environments with negativity and excluding group mechanisms. She told that important buffers against drug and alcohol abuse, crime and violence are:

  • To develop the individual’s ability of ethical reflection, to make good and conscious choices and to set goals.
  • To train young people in positive thinking rather than hostile.
  • Good environments and cultures where those at high risk are connected to positive group mechanisms.

I asked Ragnhild what she thinks is the most important that can be done by the school in order to prevent crime and violence. She said: The staff should have a uniform philosophy – and not being too liberal. Ragnhild is also passionate about the big importance of sports. Practising sports with a good spirit and with positive norms has major preventative impact. After this day with Ragnhild I was even more proud of working with MOT. MOT is a protective factor that reduces external risk factors and the chances of activating the ‘society destructor’. MOT works with the causes of the causes. It’s about strengthening the youth’s robustness. The youth’s robustness is the key to a safer world with less destruction of lives and societies.

Robust youth is the key to a safer world

18thof May 2018 ten persons are killed in a school shooting in USA. A youth is responsible for the actions.

17thof May 2018 a police man is making sure a school shooting is avoided. The suspected is a youth. This youth’s mother says that her son was bullied and beaten when he was in school and that this really impacted him.

The consequences of bullying, violence, drug abuse, feeling alone and mental challenges are too big in our community. The world needs robust youth. By making youth more robust we will ensure that they believe more in themselves and easily find positive arenas where they feel mastering instead of ruining themselves, others and the community. When youth are robust they will have less need to bully and tear others down. When youth are made more robust they more easily include others and are the one, and first, to act when something unacceptable is being done. The same day as the police man avoided the school shooting we celebrated Norway’s constitution day. The next day I received the following from Odd Reitan: “I hope the Norwegians had a great constitution day. We have a great and charming way of celebrating our “birthday” and I hope we will keep this tradition in the future. Being out in the streets, seeing people dressed in their best clothing and with their Norwegian flags is just great. Some countries are showing their tanks. We are showing our people. Thank you for that.” MOT will for ever work so that youth, people and countries all over the world will be positive and proud. Mostly we will work for making everyone robust so that nobody have the need to shoot “or show off their tanks.”

Why make youth more robust?

Article from NRK (Norwegian media channel) 29thof March 2018: You look for those who are vulnerable.

We call them «brothers» in the beginning, but we hold back the reality, Mikael Ali says when talking about recruiting youth to criminal environments. Mikael Ali was part of the criminal gang Young Guns for several years. This was one of Oslo’s biggest and most infamous gangs. Today he is engaged in preventative work. Mikael says that the first thing you have to do is to notice who is drawn towards those groups. It’s young people searching for acknowledgement and belonging.

As a gang leader Mikael Ali was recruiting youth himself. "You are very cynical upon doing this. You look for those who are vulnerable, need somewhere to belong and are searching for an identity. They are invited into the group to be taken advantage of and nobody tells them that there is a hell waiting for them. We are saying “come join us, we have a brotherhood.” In the beginning we spend money on them so they feel valued." This is why it is so important to make youth more robust. This is one of the reasons why MOTs mission is to develop robust youth, who include all.