Viral videos are talked about for a few days, and then just as quickly replaced by the next one. But there are always lessons to be learnt from the recent viral video recorded at a concert in Tobago.
As widely reported in the media, there was public uproar over the April 11 performance of local dancehall artist Tempa (Rebecca Le-Ann Alexander) at the Buccoo Goat and Crab races.
According to a Daily Express report, “scores of children were seen using obscene language as they sang the lyrics to Tempa’s song ‘Beggin’”. It should be highlighted that not once did Tempa sing the offensive lyrics – she purposefully left out the blanks to be filled by the children.
The organisers, The Buccoo Village Council, quickly took full responsibility and apologised via press release “to all who would have taken offence with the main entertainment selection at our recently concluded event.”
For her part, Tempa expressed her “sincerest apology”, and that as a “young and still upcoming artiste that’s still learning daily, I will put more effort into rebuilding my style and performance when I encounter an unexpected audience.”
While both releases seemed sincere, the fact is the damage has already been done. But they are not the only ones to blame.
A lot of the so-called breakdown in society begins in the home. So, the parents who carried their holidaying, underaged children to the event and kept them at the concert late, knowing full well of Tempa’s genre of music, need to be questioned on what exactly would they like their children to learn.
Children want to do grown-up activities. For little boys who have a male figure in their life, they are inquisitive of their shaving stuff, and like clomping around in their oversized work shoes. Little girls pretend to be like their mothers, trying on lipstick and makeup.
At Carnival time, if a little girl puts down a ‘dutty wine’, onlookers sometimes remark “how cute, a little winer girl”, and if a toddler learning to speak utters a cuss word, the adults in earshot laugh it off as the child simply learning new words and just parroting them.
Children mimic adults, and sadly, some children are not being properly raised. Parenting is perhaps one of the most serious responsibilities anyone can assume. Modern culture does not encourage proper parenting, but it is the role of the parent to see to every single aspect of their child’s life: physical, social, spiritual, educational, and moral.
The hope is to raise a child through adolescence to adulthood who can differentiate right from wrong. But if the parental example is absent, if the adult charged with modelling the virtues and values for life is weak, the child may grow inadequately formed. Today, we continue experiencing the repercussions.
Chapter 7 of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the family, Amoris Laetitia, titled ‘Towards a better education of children’, should be necessary reading for every Catholic parent genuinely interested in raising Christian disciples.
He writes: “Parents need to consider what they want their children to be exposed to, and this necessarily means being concerned about who is providing their entertainment, who is entering their rooms through television and electronic devices, and with whom they are spending their free time….”
If the children at Tempa’s performance were able to sing her lyrics, their parents need to reflect on the music their children are listening to – or the music which they as parents are listening and exposing their children to.
As Jesus warned in Matthew 18:6, “If any of you should cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble and fall, it would be better for you to be thrown into the depths of the sea with a great millstone around your neck.”