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Saving our youth from backwardness

And they shall recompense your lewdness upon you, and ye shall bear the sins of your idols: and ye shall know that I am the Lord God.
–– Ezekiel 23:49


Many moons ago, almost every child in Barbados was taught and encouraged to be a child, growing up in anticipation of becoming an adult and then doing adult things. Children were allowed to be children –– nurtured in good habits and set examples of proper personal and public behaviour, like respect for self, reverence to their elders, decency and an appreciation of other people’s space and property.

Today, buoyed by a misbelief that children are now more naturally mature in thinking (because they are adept in the modern technology and cyberbrowsing), parents and guardians expose their charges to all manner of ill-suited video imaging, music and conversations –– to a great extent sexual in content or flavour –– confusing the young ones as to their true role and purpose, putting them on a path of negative inquisitiveness, and thwarting their proper and positive development.

In the past few weeks, an explicitly intimate and raunchy video featuring two teenagers has been making the rounds on the social media. For some viewers and discussants, it would not have been so depraved a sex act if it was not between two lads. What could so inform these misguided youths to be nakedly aberrant participants in this obscene clip?

One answer could be the publicly expressed notions on sexual conduct by the would be ultra-liberalists among us who uncircumspectly declare that all forms of sexuality are normal –– and even healthy –– and that those of us shocked by the effrontery and shamelessness of the sexually active youth today are merely overreacting, or being simply hypocritical.

We are not sure where the X-rated video was filmed, though some of its observers and discussants claim it was done on the premises of one of our schools. If it was, it is indeed to be deeply frowned upon; and those who encouraged it and went to the extent to film it for the record and for dissemination deserve our utmost castigation and condemnation. Unacceptable as it all is, we can’t help but lament the whittling away of the preference for privacy –– even secrecy.

And it does not help that some of the adults among us will seek escape in the notion that the growing blatant misconduct among our children is just a fad, and that like many things in vogue will fade away with time. The truth is more and more children are being embolden to commit these sexual offences with greater intensity –– for all the advances in education and career counselling we boast –– because of the conflicting messages we send our young charges.

Today, as some church heads and community role models speak out against the sexcapades of our lads and lasses, they can expect no quarter from the defenders (“sex in school is no recent phenomenon”), detractors (“there are more important things, like our sagging economy”), and misguided (“it’s just righteous indignation”).

Some sex behaviour experts have even proffered that our children may stop their bad habits if we ignore them. While we hold that as baloney, we will take their position that consistency in our reaction to our children’s behaviour is important since rewarding and punishing the same conduct at different times will confuse the smartest child.

This, regrettably is what some of our community leaders and commentators are doing in the stances they take on this burning issue of publicized sex among school students, and other aberrant behaviour.

Clearly, ignoring the dilemma we face with our youth will not stop their unwanted behaviour –– neither in the short or long term. When unacceptable conduct occurs, it must be berated.

Children who are made to understand that inappropriate conduct will not be tolerated, and that good behaviour and an inclination to decency and decorum are rewarded may come to embrace skills that will last them a lifetime.


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