Cry, my beloved country

Dear Editor,

I was visiting in one of our nations deep rural districts when I came upon two young girls engaging in a fracas. Both were in high-range angst trying to outdo each other. I sat in my car watching the drama.

The high-decibel exchange was somewhat funny, but it gave me an opportunity to see the bravery of kids in this generation compared to mine.

"Gyal, you know who me be," blurted out one of them.

The other, in quick retort, fired back: "If you a bull bucker mi a duppy conqueror!"

They cussed and they riled up themselves like two feuding roosters, and I sat there praying that with that type of temper no physical fight would occur.

I had hoped that if I eased the car and went close to them they would perhaps scatter, but, alas, no. My adult presence meant nothing to them. My hopes to see the rage de-escalate was in vain.

I called out to the one closer to me: "Little girl, what's the problem?"

She changed gear and took me on with hands akimbo in a stern tone: "Hey, Sah, weh you a look pon mi fah… gallang 'bout you business before rock stone mash up you car!"

I became scared. My mind went into reverse thinking and I began to reflect on my childhood and how my bottom would have been sore if my grandma ever got news that I was behaving inappropriately on the road.

Should these two continue to nurture their tempers then I am sure their future is predictable. Little wonder, then, do we have such high level of of disrespect in the classroom. We wonder who is going to "bell the cat" of juvenile delinquency. Children seem not to have the type of parents anymore like mine, who refuse to "spoil the child".

I started to wish and pray that somebody will come to the rescue of those two girls and help the to redirect their energies in a creative way. Maybe one day they could make it to Hollywood, but without proper guidance they may be bound earlier than you think to His Majesty's juvenile centre.

As I processed the aforementioned I began to wonder what practical things can we do to see if we can salvage discipline in our society and I thought of the following:

1) Let's begin to offer parenting classes at all clinics and high schools in Jamaica. They could be taught the importance of values, communication skills. and emotional intelligence. This can be a small step in the right direction. Instead of parents confronting and cussing the very teachers are trying to prepare their children for life they would become more collaborative which could certainly be an antidote to the recurrent indiscipline in our society.

2) Let's also get back to the days when civics and culture were taught at school. Civics education could help students understand about themselves and the world in which they live. Students could learn how to connect with others and with their communities and be respectful of others. It can hels them also to be informed and active members of society.

When we can get the youth to set goals, have aspirations for the nobler things of life, regulate their emotions and temper, there will be improvement on discipline and there will be peace, order and community.

From time to time I read in the print media and even see clippings on television and social media of school kids fighting and, instead of peers helping to quell the violence, they spur it on; and in instances death or serious injury occur.

It should be everyone's desire to see us live in a disciplined country and for that ideal to be achieved. We need to be conscious that discipline is the backbone to a civilised society.

As my teacher John Maxwell put it, "Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time."

Burnett Robinson

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