Save our youths


I watched as the young bird took its first escape from its nest. In its attempt to fly it fell to the ground not far from me. As I attempted to place it back into the nest, I noticed that I was closely watched by its parents who were making swooping dives at my head. I left it alone and a few days later the bird was flying happily with its parents.

That incident reminded me of other animals that not only feed their young diligently, but they protect them with their lives. They know that to preserve the species takes personal sacrifice, attention and commitment.

As we encounter the bandits who kill without reservation, the sexual exploiters who prey on the emotions of others for their personal satisfaction, those who spend their lives pursuing wealth hoping to find happiness in the end, the chronic smokers and drinkers seeking some level of satisfaction and comfort, we sometimes forget that they were children.

Many of us want our children to be respectable, upright citizens. We want our youths to be model children, academically qualified. We want our teams to be winners. We want our society to be orderly and our politicians honest. But where are they to acquire such values?

When we expose our children to smoking, drugs, alcohol abuse, sexual immorality and irresponsibility, derogatory behaviour, obscene language, and a disregard for anything that may cause them to consider the existence of a life of morality, fairness and truth, what kind of citizen do you think we will generate?

Many of us see the failure of our people as the result of bad politics, poor policing, a non-existent social network, inept teachers, misleading religious leaders and the influence of gang leaders. But, unlike others in the animal kingdom, many fail to provide the love, comfort, protection and basic necessities for the sustenance of a model citizen.

Governments cannot stop the parents from smoking, abusing alcohol, abusive behaviour and language. But as a nation, the old African adage of “it takes a village to raise a child” should not be lost on us.

The State, wherever possible, can educate parents about the effects of their lifestyle on their children. It must ensure that in every household children are protected from abuse through adequate social intervention. It must ensure that children have access to reliable healthy meals.

Our children must be introduced to balls, bats, swimming pools and other sporting equipment before drugs and guns. That is the responsibility of the village, the State.

If we want to have a better nation, a more respectable community, harmony among our citizens and a commitment to improving our environment, then we must strategically put in place a plan to improve the quality of life for all our youths. Simply passing and ignoring them rummaging through garbage at our dumps or struggling with menial tasks to get by is not an option.