For The Sake Of Our Children…
School indiscipline is more than just children displaying violent behaviour. It reflects our current reality as a society. This very fact was explicitly pointed out by the Education Minister during a media conference on Wednesday. The Minister quite rightly stated that children these days are exposed to a greater level of violence than in years gone by. Crime is more prevalent, and often times, it’s being experienced or witnessed first-hand.
Then came the obvious question: if students are being traumatised by the social realities of our nation, why don’t we hire deploy more guidance counsellors to help our youngsters? This prompted the Minister in the Ministry to state passionately, that it makes little sense to deploy more counsellors. According to him, parents and the community must play a greater role in helping our youngsters.
In an average society, this would be the ideal approach. In today’s T&T, it isn’t. How can we lay the responsibility of helping our children on society, when society itself is to blame for their attitude? Addressing crime and violence is the job of the National Security Ministry. And while that Ministry claims that violent crimes are down, even it has admitted that murders are higher than before.
Crime in general is a passionate topic, and while the focus is usually on violent crime, one cannot deny the continuation of less serious crimes as well – from the breach of traffic laws, to littering. We have taught our children from young, that some laws don’t matter. We have taught them that sometimes you can do what you want, once you know you won’t get caught. With respect to bullying, its ironic that some adults act so surprised when children make fun of or beat other children. Oftentimes, we are the one who mock and criticize others. Many adults boast about saying what they have to say “without sugar coating it”. They fixate on the personal affairs of others, passing judgement. And they boast about physically handling others who disrespect them.
These very practices are adopted by our children, and manifest as bullying. They learned it from us. The Minister in the Ministry has a point about us being responsible for our children’s discipline. But the fact is that you cannot expect a broken thing to fix another broken thing.
The Education Ministry has the opportunity here to break the cycle, by helping the next generation to be better than their predecessors. Whether or not it works is not important. What is important, is that we try. It is a utopian perspective. But sometimes in the face of adversity, a little idealism is necessary. We have to make sure our children are better than we are.
April 20th, 2017