What these rough boys are made of
So a bad-behaved boy doesn’t become a bad-behaved boy because of the school
he is at and the teacher he has. It is because of the school environment that he is
functioning in; how he is being socialized out there in the wider community. And
when sometimes we as adults do not set good examples for the young people, how
dare we come in here and blame them like that?
–– Member of Parliament for St James South Donville Inniss.
We are not sure how or why the school “a bad-behaved boy is at” or
“the teacher he has” would be detached from “the school environment
that he is functioning in”. And if you are puzzled by the presentment of our
observation, we are even the more flummoxed by Mr Inniss’ reasoning.
The MP’s presentation in the House of Assembly yesterday was a feeble
attempt at concretizing a well touted myth that violence in schools today is
no more vicious and prevalent than it was 40 or more years ago. That would
be the answer to the exasperating problem of bullying in school these days by
a politician who is far more perspicacious and on the ball than that.
And, Mr Inniss might be pleasantly surprised to find that Barbados’ school
system could help in resolving –– not all –– but many of the problems that
exist in the wider society, if students graduating with wider knowledge, and a
greater sense of responsibility and civic duty, could influence their devil-maycare
parents and guardians and the other feckless senior adults around them.
We accept the MP’s observation that the school may be “a microcosm” of
the wider community, with its aberrant behaviours; but that is no excuse for
not bending the twig into proper shape early, instead of allowing it to grow
into a hardened and inflexible branch or well barked trunk.
Nor is it any excuse to offer the fanciful, faulty and unfounded notion that
“young people today are no worse than those of yesteryear”. Actually, there
is no credible evidence that the miscreants among our youth of today are any
fewer or any less barbarous.
Again, Mr Inniss and we are at one on the present shoddy and thoughtless
rearing of children by too many parents today.
Solomon, reputedly the wisest man ever on earth, admonishes us: “Train
up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart
from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Regrettably, many a parent in current times has had cause to depart from
the virtues of sober upbringing –– because they simply were inculcated with
none. There is no exemplary conduct or practice to pass on.
The state therefore has a remedial and preventative role to play in the
nurturing of our young in its schools. Its alleged role of preparing our children
for the world of work is secondary to sharpening our young’s minds for the
states of civility, comity, propriety, and a world of decorous advancement and
The proposal that “improvements in technology” –– via the cellphones,
smartphones and other devices –– now make the mischief among our young
instantly known is without challenge. But the non sequitur that technology
makes the intensity of the mischief appear to be greater than nearly halfcentury
ago does not wash.
And if our leaders, like Mr Inniss, continue to hold such implausible
premisses, burying their heads in the sand –– brains and all –– we are
going to be in for the long haul with this belligerence, contentiousness and
truculence among our schools’ children –– leading ultimately and lamentably
That bullying, hectoring and intimidation obtain in the workplace and “in
communities at large” –– and in our political parties –– cannot be bedding for
the acceptance of these crudities as natural in the classrooms and playgrounds
of our schools.
Finally, we are not clear where Mr Inniss was going with his concern that
society was not allowing boys to be boys. He thinks “our boys sometimes are
being a bit too soft”. Well, disorder and assault are not the answers to the
demonstration of manliness, any more than utterances in a deep, gruff voice.
It were better our goodly and lovable Member of Parliament Mr Inniss
took comfort in the “roughness” of the traditional likeness of boys who will
What are little boys made of?
Slugs and snails
And puppy-dogs’ tails.
That’s what [rough] little boys are made of!