Tue | Nov 29, 2022

Letter of the Day | Why do youth want so badly to be notorious?

Published:Saturday | June 25, 2022 | 12:07 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I look around and see the crime and violence and can’t help but wonder what is really causing our young men to want to be notorious and known for ‘badness’ so badly? Why do they want to prove that they can get cold-hearted so badly? Why do they always want to prove that nuh man can’t run up on or violate them certain way? Often the violation being the exchange of words. Families are losing loved ones to bloody conflicts and a nation torn all because people lack the requisite conflict resolution skills.

On one hand, I blame our homes and how many parents lack the skills necessary to hone, develop and nurture their children so that they can become productive and contributing adults to society. I firmly believe in parents being rigid in guiding their children’s energy towards things that are upright and of good rapport, starting from a very young age by teaching them empathy, to be considerate and to always put themselves in others shoes and imagine how they would feel.

A lot of parents make the huge mistake of hitting their children as well, but what they don’t understand is that hitting them teaches them violence and that, in order to get what they want from others, they must hit as well. As they get older, it gets ingrained in them. If somebody does or says something to them that they don’t like, they should hit. This upbringing is shown in our crime statistics, the murders, domestic violence and disputes and, if I might add, inter-gang wars. I was surprised when I learnt what really started a gang war in St Catherine. It’s okay to be angry but children should find ways to release it.

I don’t believe in hitting children. I believe that it is critical to communicate with youngsters, to teach them empathy for others as well as explore other forms of discipline that are not detrimental to their health and mental well-being. Punish them in productive ways.

Our children are overexposed and parents should do more to lessen their exposure to certain things. It’s frightening the type of content our children are exposed to, especially on the Internet, and how it modifies their behaviour and personality in real life.

Parents aside, on the other hand, I don’t think the Government and our country’s political leaders are doing enough to set a certain tone for our society. I believe it is up to them to ensure that certain values are upheld. Like religious leaders, politicians should be set apart not in an esteemed way but in the sense that they have a responsibility to set the tone and atmosphere in our society.

I know (hope?) our prime minster means well with his youthful exuberance but it’s time to set the tone for a more disciplined society. Look at Japan. Do more to reach out to our children and make conflict resolution attractive, and make being the bigger person something good, because anger is like cancer to the bones.

We really need to quell the bloodthirsty spirit in some of our people. Growing up, all I thought about was going to school, getting a job and living a carefree life. But I am not going to lie, the high cost of living, coupled with the poverty, news of murders, scamming and intergang wars putting the country on pause, creates for a highly anxious society. This is not the Jamaica I envisioned growing up to see. I thought that our leaders would have tackled certain things by now and have them under control.

How long will it take?

SHANICA BLAIR