By Vernon Khelawan, firstname.lastname@example.org
What is our society, that of Trinidad and Tobago coming to? I ask this question because of what is happening here today, and except for the Police Service and a few organisations, there seems to be a total void of anybody doing anything to make it a situation that should capture what should be of concern to all of us regardless of the communities in which we live.
As parents, we seem to have taken leave of some prominent principles. Where have discipline and simple everyday manners gone—the good mornings and the good evenings and howdies?
I recall one morning, I was sweeping my driveway to the main road when two youngsters passed walking by and although they walked past me less than two feet away, none gave me the time of day.
Do I blame them? No! They were never taught that at home. It was alien to them. They were not violent or anything like that. It was something they were never taught.
On the other hand, the old saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ does not apply because many young people today and some of their parents take umbrage to anybody, including teachers, who tries to ‘pull up’ their children so much so that people are starting to hold back on correcting children, another cause of non-discipline in young people.
Every day we read or hear of very serious and heinous crimes: rape, robbery, home invasions, fraud, beatings, and worst of all rampant murders. And it is not from one place, it is all over, even quiet and peaceful Tobago has begun to gain notoriety.
We continue to hear about violence against our womenfolk including those leading to death. A rash of single mothers complain about the thousands of dollars in maintenance due from deadbeat fathers.
And then we ask where all this violence and criminality is coming from? The answer is quite simple. A total lack of family life and values. And this is where the various churches come in. There needs to be more interaction between parish priests, pastors, and other Church leaders to come into play.
When last did you see any priest or Church leader hold meaningful discussions with groups of idle young men or their parents or guardians? When last did you see a Church leader stop by any group and talk to them about the importance of the value of work or productivity or even proper engagement in some kind of sport?
Our religious leaders, and that includes some of our priests, remain too far removed from the real cause of the turmoil we now see in this society. Our churches, temples and mosques need to become more intertwined with the nation’s young people not only by seeking help for them to obtain meaningful employment, but by teaching them the value of respect, honesty, manners, and decency.
Maybe this Lenten season presents an opportunity for our leaders (church and otherwise) to pledge to work on the younger generation to see whether any change can be affected and ultimately lead to a better Trinidad and Tobago.