Kelly's World | No kidding, being a child is hard work
You always hear people say we need to stop kidding around, as if to say that you're being childish while 'big people tings' supposed to be taking place.
Thing is I've come to believe that phrase isn't so fair to whoever the recipient may be since being a 'kid' (or child, as Jamaican English teachers and language experts will correct you) is anything but childish these days.
For the record, the law considers you a child until age 18. For some people, it should be higher because I know some God-awful childish people who are at 'ripe old age'.
But I digress. Being a child is hard work. Think about it. Once you pass the baby stages i.e., you stop messing yourself (either with your food on the outside or your diapers on the inside) life just gets harder.
The rush (literally) to get children into the 'good' early childhood institutions would make the speeding on the highways look like a stroll through Hope Gardens.
Then, having got the child into the institution of choice, there is this borderline maniacal obsession for the child to perform.
What happened to when basic school was just fun? There's more pressure on children these days from all sides, and this is even before that annoying thing called puberty kicks in.
For the older folks, remember Common Entrance exams? If that was trying to rollerblade for the first time, then the Grade Six Achievement Test is trying to compete at Dover when you've barely had your licence. In other words, di test hard!
Scores of 80-plus and 90-plus per cent are now only considered 'okay'; everybody's shooting for 100s. And while that's great, it just ain't possible for everybody.
And because the expectations are so high, students who end up with 95 per cent averages may come away feeling like they (gasp!) failed. A wha dis, fada?
Sports and extra-curriculars are supposed to be fun, right? Ahm, not when the old boys and old girls demand trophies. Not when the figurative fight for scholarships and other learning opportunities abroad are now tougher than ever.
As for the safety of our children, well that's another matter all on its own. Call me a paranoid schizophrenic but it feels like persons are trying to ensure they involve children in their nefarious acts.
There was a time when children suffered the unfortunate side effects of crime and violence. But they were collateral damage, not the targets. And every time we don't think the news can get worse, it does.
Peer pressure? Don't get me started. Back in my parents' time, it was maybe to try a little weed. Now it's to do all sorts of stuff that would make horror movie maestro Rob Zombie cringe.
May is Child Month, don't it? And every third Friday in May annually in Jamaica is celebrated as National Children's Day. Well, that's a start, but how about we make children the priority every day?
And this goes out especially to the parents, after all, a unnu bring dem come yah! Later.
- Link me at firstname.lastname@example.org