If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to live with faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.
- Dorothy Law Nolte PhD (1972)
It was bound to start happening. I mean children live what they learn, children learn what they live, or so the song above says. We could not go on treating each other like savages and killing each other the way we do and it not affect our children. After all, this is what we have been teaching them for a while.
It was no surprise then that in recent times we have borne witness to a couple of incidents where children have become the perpetrators of murders. There was an incident recently where a young girl stabbed her 22-year-old brother to death, another where a girl accidentally stabbed her brother to death 'while playing' (I mean, who plays like that with a sharp knife), but the most heinous occurred a few days ago when a 15-year-old girl stabbed her six-year-old brother to death!
Now, I don't know about you but a single stab wound is one thing - even though I am still unable to wrap my mind around why someone would want to stab a six-year-old - but to stab the child four times, that's just plain cruelty.
It is easy to pin these incidents on the attackers and turn a blind eye to the bigger picture and we do that very well here in Jamaica, but how much longer can we continue to ignore the fact that the perpetual violence that this country has been besieged by for more than a decade has finally begun to take hold of the psyche of our kids.
Seriously, what kind of dispute can a 15-year-old have with a six-year-old that would require the elder of the two to resort to stabbing the latter to death? I don't care what the issues are; stabbing someone to death can never be the solution. But in Jamaica today, we seem to have lost the ability to argue our way out of disagreements. The minute an impasse develops our first reaction is violent. So while we continue to try to dig our way out of this enormous financial hole we have found ourselves in, there are other more serious issues that we also need to contend with.
The examples we set for our children are very important in their overall development. It makes no sense we tell our children one thing and then we show them examples that are in direct contradiction. Children are not idiots and it's time we recognise this; and I don't care where you're from.
People who live in impoverished communities sometimes like to use their economic circumstances as an excuse to behave poorly. What they should remember however, or at the very least be cognisant of, is that we should always want our children to lead better lives than we did. So with that in mind, we have to start to do better. Similarly, in more communities of more affluent people, if their children see their parents using their considerable means to flout the law, what do they think the children will do when they become adults?
We have to start to do better. It seems as if it is already too late to save this upcoming generation that has already been severely scarred by the violence around them, but I have long held the belief that even on the road to madness there is always a way back.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
For many years my world struggled to understand my passion for deliberate parenting, my focus on identifying and unlocking the key to my childrens' heart and mind and not just their actions. My scarifices (seeming), professionally as i pursued the school of life, to create, find, recreate a world in this world for children to BE acknowlegde as equal spirits to all other beings.
To clear the confusion as to the Right to be seen as well as heard, to be trusted rather than to have doubt and dependence shackled to them. To connect to the pain and bewilderment, the frustration and the thoughtless submission enforced by an ' unaware adult world, it hit my consciousness today, i cannot get weary in fighting for parenting to be more than a presumable osmotic expierence.
So many experts now speak and write books on strategies of parenting, missing the most important link, to build the consciousness of the adult, to change thought, deny myths, affirm spirit in the process, allow the equal participation of the childs spirit with ours.
This was was cry as a child lost in an adult world, today i allow my children to help me to find 'our' way in this world.
I thank my parents Walter and Rubie for giving me a glimpse of Positive Proactive Parenting."