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On guiding our children to be children

Train up a child in the way he [or she] should go; even when he [or she] is old he [or she] will not depart from it.

–– Proverbs 22:16.

We do our children great wrong when we send them mixed signals on discipline and on taking basic responsibility for their disrespectful and dastardly deeds. We do them even greater evil when we capitulate and fall victim to their emotive machinations and histrionics.

We thought the experts in the Ministry of Education would have more wisely counselled Minister of Education Ronald Jones before letting him loose with his rambling and desolate staccato utterances about the untenable occurrence of a student spitting upon and kicking a teacher.

That there are “two sides to every story” doesn’t exempt that third form female student of Ellerslie Secondary School from wrongdoing and delinquency –– especially when before the classroom she plants her shod foot in the genitals of her 30-plus-year-old female teacher. The proverbial “two sides” may present valid reasons for holding opposing views, but one is likely to be more opiniated than factual.

The proclaiming of “children’s rights” in such circumstances clearly does not dovetail with respect for authority, parental or home training, or with any nurtured self-esteem; and acknowledgement of this inconsistency ought not to be remotely intimated by any voice of the Ministry of Education.

Before this –– sometime between February and March –– teacher Carseen Greenidge of Lester Vaughan School had rocks and bottles thrown at him and his car, which was damaged to the tune of $11,000, by obviously wayward students. And in the interest of his personal safety, Mr Greenidge has been staying away from school. So undermined and ineffective has been discipline there!

We cannot help but grieve for children deprived of natural and mostly positive childhood –– as the much older of us have been accustomed to.

At home these days, some parents give their charges extraordinary leeway and super self-determination, their tender offspring (like gluttonous sidekicks) imbibing all manner of evil culture and practices. Then some of us wonder “how the yute get so” –– or pretend to!

We accept parenting is not always easy, but, by our degree of effort, we will either gain from or pay heavily for what we help our children to be. Solomon’s wise counsel, as referred to at the start of this Editorial, yet rings relevant.

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”

–– Matthew 2:17 and 18.

Gratefully, we have no chronicles of, or experience in, infanticide or mass child murder. The gunning down or slaughter of our schoolchildren and our teachers is unheard of –– and, Lord Almighty, may it remain so.

We have no such sordid scenes here, which yet speaks favourably to the overall temperance of Barbadian nature and the national shock we go into when we learn of such as has happened at Ellerslie and Lester Vaughan. Squabbles and fights there may be among students, with making up coming soon in their wake; but the undisguised kicking of a teacher and the stoning of another certainly will not become the norm, will it?

Whether it be so or not, we cannot help but lament this newest trend among us –– schoolchildren and adults –– of avenging that which we hold in dislike by whatever means of violence. As a Christian society majorly, we must speak out against such barbarity, promoting conflict resolution instead through reasonableness and forgiveness.

More now than ever, we need to impress upon our children that religious knowledge in the classroom is more than a subject for grading. It may not be the springboard to the much touted “salvation”, but it can be a catalyst for change in hearts scabbed by bitterness and an appetite for reprisal.

It behoves us all to muse upon the words of Jesus Christ:

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven: for he maketh his sun
to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? . . . .

“And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? . . . .

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

–– Matthew 5:43 to 48.

In the direction some of us would have us go, our children, as Rachel’s, would likely not be comforted . . . !

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