|With eyes closed in slumber – Mar 30|
By Vernon Khelawan
Based on the reaction of leaders and followers alike, it seemed that violence in schools was a completely new phenomenon. It was as though Trinidad and Tobago was sleeping for a long time only to be rudely awakened last week with the girls’ free-for-all outside a Mucurapo school, which went viral on the Internet.
Unfortunately however, that was not the only incident of violence in schools that hit the country. There was a primary school student slapping and choking a teacher; another school witnessed a teacher being slapped by a student; and not too long ago there was a stabbing incident in a South secondary school.
All this just goes to show the tremendous task facing our Church as it begins work in the hope of Regenerating Moral and Spiritual Values in Our Society – the Third Pastoral Priority mandated by Synod 2009.
Some of the emotive reactions from people in influential positions were indeed startling: “Lock them up”, “establish a Boot Camp”, “re-introduce corporal punishment” were some of the suggestions made public. All regarded as ‘Band-Aid’ solutions to a much more serious social sore. But as someone asked: where did these children come from? They did not drop from the sky, they are our children and they are our responsibility. So the real question must be: where are the parents?
In many cases they are absent and the children are left completely alone to be influenced by friends, neighbours, the television and even adults. How many children go home to empty houses after school because parents are at work, moreso in the case of single parent homes! So it’s catch as catch can for those unfortunate children…the adults of tomorrow.
Parents no longer spend “quality time” with their children, so they give them money to go to the mall or the movies…money, replacing the important factor of parents spending time guiding and teaching them the value of manners, the need for a proper education and most of all the need for respect for everything around them – family, neighbours, friends and the environment.
And that’s where any transformation has to start – at the root of the problem. No longer does the adage “it takes a village to bring up a child” apply. The young people say “that’s old school”. Let us all pledge to do our part in regenerating moral and spiritual values in our children…and let it begin with you.