We are bombarded by reports of anti-social behaviour of teenagers. For instance, more than a decade ago, in January 2006, there was a report from Barbados (in the Caribbean) of teachers being afraid of the increasing violence in schools. Also in nearby Jamaica, there were reports of teachers being threatened by students, a robbery and an 11th-grade student being stabbed. And, during that month, there was a headline in the Newsday (in Trinidad) – “Student, 14, tries to rape teacher.” This incident occurred at a Junior Secondary school in central Trinidad.
A month later, in February 2006, there were reports of a thirteen-year-old primary school student at Nelson Street Boys Roman Catholic School in Port-of-Spain in Trinidad terrorising his classmates. And there were allegations he sexually molested fondled students. Also, in February, a secondary school in south Trinidad, two schoolboys in rival gangs confronted each other and one was stabbed and the other had to serve eight months in jail. During that same month and year, there was a report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (based in the United States) that teenaged girls were experimenting cigarettes, marijuana and alcohol higher rates than boys.
I have focused on a few newspaper reports for two months in 2006. Think about the many incidents before and after January-February 2006 across the globe. We do not need to be reminded of grim statistics that indicate some of our boys are underachievers and violent.
You might be asking- who is to blame? What is the cause? When these teenagers were babies and young boys, maybe they experienced Parental Alienation Syndrome or were not given sufficient love and attention. Maybe they lacked balanced meals and were malnourished. Maybe the television was allowed to be the babysitter. And, there is no need to elaborate on the harmful effects of some television shows of contorting young minds. Maybe these boys were given the freedom to play ‘mature’ or ‘adults-only’ video games that depicted violence and sex. In 2005, the National Institute on Media and the Family (based in the United States) listed games that glamourized sex, guns and violence and also cannibalism. The videos games are similar to the genre of movies being produced. I am not a behavioural scientist and certainly in no position to judge a society as being primitive or progressive. But, if cannibalism is being glamourized, in the 21st century, then something is seriously wrong with that society’s values.
A nation could have grand architecture, powerful weapons, excellent athletes, amazing artistes, brilliant inventors and world-class universities, but is that country truly developed and First World if its young generation lacks a sense of direction, purpose and proper goals.
But we cannot return to the past to change events. A parent or caregiver, or parents need to play a greater role in forging those bonds during childhood. Let us honour those boys who have guided and protected their peers. Let us honour those boys who have scars but ensure those scars would not destroy their future and they have become beacons of hope for the future generation. Let us salute those boys who have displayed kindness and volunteerism to make this life a better place.