Friday, January 17, 2014

Train Up A Child!

Bahamian children with Grace Missions leader Terry McDonald


Parents and grandparents of all young children...
*Please understand that this post is not to generalize young people or to offend anyone but simply serves as a wake up call to our nation.*
In order for us to have better children we need to practice being better adults. Practice investing in our kids' overall well-being. Many of us believe that by sending our children to private schools, Sunday school, buying them expensive gifts/gadgets and letting them run wild is enough for them to have a healthy childhood that's conducive to a successful life as an adult. I'm sad to inform you that it doesn't! In many instances, children don't even have the luxury of having the most basic necessities; much less those things anyway. 

For the longest time (since I was in primary school), the statistics were rising when it came to issues such as teenage pregnancy, STD transmission, gang affiliation, high school drop-outs and the like. Believe it or not, that was only fourteen years ago and today, the figure have become astronomical in comparison. Old folks blamed most of it on the lack of proper parenting and guidance as well as discussed how it takes a community to raise a child. At the time, we thought they were overreacting and freaking out for no reason but now we all can see that  they were right. The chicken have come home to roost!

Nowadays scandalous young girls that we in The Bahamas refer to as "Jungless" (because they behave like uncouthed wildcats straight from the Amazon) walk the streets. They are the complete opposite of the young "ladies" of the past in that they are almost always heard before they're seen and would cuss like Anne Bonny at the first person seen looking at them. Shows like " The Bad Girls Club" that
BGC Season 8 Finale
promote females behaving badly is all the rage. Kids are these days free to roam the ever-so-polluted internet without parental supervision or guidance in many instances and some of the 'selfies' posted by young ladies is beyond offensive. Groups of young adults on the public jitneys making complete fools of themselves with their lewd behavior and dirty mouths that need carbolic and it's as if a there isn't a young child, elderly person or tourist in sight. Young, strong men behaving like little spoiled girls because they never had a sturdy male figure in their lives to emulate causing confusion when it comes to their sexuality. I'm always so tempted to yell, "Dude! You have a penis NOT a vagina man!" but a softer approach may be more efficient. Young rogue women, become entangled in toxic relationships and burdened with illegitimate kids of their own all because they had no father figures to provide for them, guide them or give them the love and affection all kids deserve. Young men in their twenties who would be classified as full-blown alcoholics who think wasting yourself away is the hip thing to do. "Young, wild, free". Trouble is no one stays young forever and the damage cannot be undone for most. What are their goals? What do they want out of life? A generation of angry and impressionable lost souls who haven't a clue what their role or purpose is in life.

We see groups of teenage boys "socializing" who would, for most part, step on an adult's foot before uttering an "excuse me" or "I'm sorry", or even a "good afternoon". It is as if there no longer boundaries or protocol between adults and children and what gown-ups saw as  being "stinking rude" back in the day, will get you an award for good behavior in comparison to the present day.  I have heard and seen with my own ears and eyes teenagers on the brink of graduating high school who still have no clue who Mother Teresa, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Hitler are. These are our future leaders. How does that make you feel? What's more disturbing is the fact that they don't care to know either!

The mistakes made now will follow them throughout the remainder of their lives. I am not a perfect parent. No one is. The goal is to strive each day to be a better one. We all want the best for our little ones but we must show them the best in us and also be able to see the best for them in order for it to be manifested. We'll never really know exactly what our grades are as parents until our kids have actually grown up but at least you'll know by doing your best, it won't be a poor score.

Raising a well-rounded human being is about paying attention to the total package; emotional, physical,
spiritual, psychological, educational. Each of these aspects come together to make up the whole person. Bear in mind that setting the right kind of example is crucial as well because children do learn by example.

It is impossible to develop these areas of your kids' lives if they are never developed in ourselves. I've made loads of mistakes in the past, but learning from them and doing better the next time around is the key. Not only are our children learning as they go; we are as well. Life is one big lesson from beginning to end. It is for this same reason we are now awashed with the type of kids mentioned above. They have been born by many at a young age and are now grown themselves. Their parents hadn't a clue and neither did many of them. Many never had parents in their lives to instill any sort of discipline or boundaries. No manners, no morals, no common courtesy and no respect. This is why there are so many who seemingly have no care in the world and act like they were dropped here from another galaxy. The decline of those qualities is now evident.The alarming level of violent crime among young people should be enough to have us parents on our knees begging God for help and forgiveness. I felt compelled to write this because of a situation nearby where the children practically raise themselves. There are three of them (thirteen, nine and four) and on any given day, they are home alone at least 75% of it. Then the same on most nights. It's understandable in emergency situations but this is their life. Thankfully there are other concerned neighbors who check on them periodically, but this is exactly what I'm talking about. Who are raising our children? Nickolodeon? A network aimed at brainwashing toddlers and young children with garbage and nonsense?

As a mother and daughter, I know that most moms get taken advantage of for their soft-heartedness. Put the extra glitter on that request and she'll let you get away with it. It is important for a mother to be tender and kind to her young. Every so often, a child needs to be comforted, needs a shoulder to cry on, a cut or bruise nursed or just to be told "I love you" or "everything will be alright". In these times though, that can only go so far before it begins to work against us. A healthy balance (of everything) is what's best. 

We must teach our young men that they are our future. Future fathers, husbands, future leaders. They are the next innovators and creators.
  • Teach them to be strong and to trust in God and make Him first in their lives. 
  • Teach them by good example and not to be followers. To stop "liking man" so much that they are able to focus on what they want for themselves. 
  • Teach them that reading is not for sissies.
  • Teach them to do their best at whatever they go after and to accept nothing less. 
  • Teach them the power of their conscious mind and that they can manifest whatever it is that they desire for themselves based on their thoughts and actions. 
  • Teach them that true strength does NOT come from bullying or harming others. (Not even innocent animals!) It comes from love, humility and respect.
  • Teach them that faith, honesty, effort, discipline, determination and perseverance does pay off.
  • Teach them to stand for something unless they'll fall for anything.
  • Teach them that manners will take them through life.
  • Teach them to have gratitude for all they were blessed with, even life itself. 
  • Teach them to love the earth and all that's in it including their brother, fellow man.
  • Teach them the value of hard work and going the extra mile.
  • Teach them how to be independent and self-sufficient.

 Jarrod after receiving 'Top Achiever' Award.
Most mothers teach their girls to find a man with money, who can take care of them. This creates a paralyzed woman in the long run who only knows how to be taken care of. (See Gold diggers!) Why not tell them to follow their dreams and to learn to take care of themselves? Why not teach them instead to find a decent man who loves and respects them?

As for our young ladies, we must teach them that they are our future mothers and wives. They they also are our future leaders, creators and inventors.
  • Teach them that they must remain strong and that they don't need to wait for a man to get things done for them.
  • Teach them that in order to be respected, they must  first respect themselves and others; not behave like chimps and harlots. 
  • Teach them that ladies should be seen and not heard. It's 2014 and I am all for women's rights. The right to having a voice means to be heard for good causes that empower her and not 'heard' like a pack of hyenas, only detracting from her character.
  • Teach them that women are the "fine jewels on the Earth" who bring life into the world and have even delivered The Son of God.
  • Teach them that they are noble, royal, beautiful creates and that they should act accordingly.
  • Teach them to pave their own path in life and not to blindly fall into the traps of others all in the name of 'having a good time'.
  • Teach them that "loving yourself" does not mean partying non-stop, sleeping around with every Timmy, Tom and John and neglecting your greater duties and responsibilities. That loving yourself means taking care of yourself and doing the right things that will bring happiness.
  • Teach them that loving God will lead to true self-respect and appreciation.
    President Barack Obama with his two teenage daughters,
    Sasha and Malia.
  • Teach them to care for their belongings and surroundings as they are all a reflection of herself and is able to pass it on to the next generation.
  • Teach them humility, gratitude and love for others.
The kids are the future and so we must teach them all the value of education and deliberate living. A nation of uneducated citizens will suffer and those without it tend to express themselves with anger, aggression and rage  Many children have grown up without the privilege of having educated parents to help them along the way. Thank goodness for people such as Sir Lynden Pindling, otherwise we would have had even more parents and grandparents who left school with a sixth grade education. Plenty of families rarely ever pray together or even eat dinner together. Every family is different but there should be household
guidelines to adhere to that prepares the child for when he/she enter the real world. Proper money-management skills is essential along with education because even the most articulate and well-studied people face tremendous hardships due to little to no knowledge in these areas. The damage from all of that has been done but it is not too late to begin to bring about a change in our society. It is our job to fill our children with inspiration, consciousness, love, the belief in there being endless possibilities and to expect greatness from themselves. When we see a child misbehaving or in trouble, we can't be afraid to lend a helping hand. We would want someone to help our child if they were in need. I've heard many people say things like, "that ain't my child" or "I have enough stress dealing with my own!" We'll never know how ignoring one simple thing now can affect us later on down the road.  

We all know that there are thousands of children who are on the right path, who have very sound upbringings and great potential. I know many of them and am especially touched to see them progressing so well. However, it's not them I'm referring to. I often cringe at the desperate state of many of today's youth but I also know that all is not lost. Every single one of us have a duty to correct this problem. Mind you, it won't happen overnight but if we resolve to do our best, there will be no choice but to succeed. My disgust is used as fuel to ensure that my children and kids I know don't follow in the same frightening trends.
Hubby reading to Milani.
We must bend the tree while it's young. "Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

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