Children’s Day: Reflection for adults


01-June-2013

While most of us may sometimes condemn today’s children as being out of control, spoilt, materialistic or ill-disciplined, we have to take a step back and try to see the big picture. Do we really understand the pressures that our children face? Do we appreciate the kind of society that exists today and that our children are growing up into?

The biggest mistake we often do is that we judge today’s children by yesterday’s standards. When we do this, not only are we robbing ourselves of the opportunity to appreciate the uniqueness of a child but we are unfairly setting a set of standards that the child can never reach. This is because yesterday is gone, it was our time, our way of doing things but the context is now different.
How many adults remember the big afros of the 70s, those high heels or those bell bottom trousers? Now, was this authentic Creole culture? Many would answer that it was not but point out that this was the style back then; it was what was in vogue. The point then, is that if today we have young boys wearing their trousers with their underwears showing or that every youth wants a tattoo, it is because maybe this is today’s style.

Children do not determine the fashion or standards of the time, they do not make the rules, and they have very little say in the kind of society or world that we have today. It is us adults who are responsible for the norms and standards that exist today. Children simply want to fit in, do what everyone else is doing and if this means acting more aggressively, using profane language, then we the adults must take a good hard look at ourselves because there is nothing wrong with today’s children; they are simply reflecting back to us the kind of society that we have created.

Technology today is creating a distorted version of reality. Television is creating its own norms based on an unrealistic set of standards: ideas of beauty, sexuality and success are being taken to extremes. How do you expect today’s children to act when almost every music clip they see consists of some scantily clad female being pursued by some tattooed rapper wearing an assortment of gold chains and driving the biggest car? And we have not even included the content of the lyrics in this equation. Unfortunately, this is the effect of globalisation and MTV.

But, on this Children’s Day, we as adults should reflect on the environment that exists in our home. Are we the ones educating our children or are we leaving the MTV rappers or Hollywood actors to be the role models for them? What are we teaching our children through the way we ourselves live, the way we speak and relate to others?

While we cannot change the world, the least we should be doing is to provide our children with the information, education and values to allow them to discern between those things that will get them nowhere and those that will make them somebody. 

Contributed

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