I often hear this comment or variations of it from adults. Sometimes, this comment is followed by others such as: “In our time, how dare you explain when an adult rebukes you?” “We used to walk long kilometres on barefoot”,” Today’s children are having things very easy”. “Hmmm, if it were our days, the kind of caning this child would have received eh”!
Some adults seem to be generally dissatisfied about the conduct and attitude of children and they don’t hide this feeling. Some of them have so much bias towards children that they do not even give them (the children) the chance to prove them wrong.
The question is: What is it that has brought about this state of affairs? Are our children really that bad? What is it that children are doing today that adults did not do within the context and environment they found ourselves as children?
As adults, we seem to have failed to be good examples for our children to emulate. Many of us have not been good role models.
Turn on the radio or television and the kind of language adults use is exactly what they would not want to hear from their children. Insults upon insults.
Yet, we tend to complain when the younger ones use similar language. Our media and social media is filled with vulgar and pornographic images but we want our children to behave like angels. Day in and day out we read and listen to one scandal after another, corruption cases, stealing and defilement cases. And yet, we are expecting respect from our children.
We seem to see caning as the panacea for all problems of indiscipline when it comes to children. But if that were the case, how come we find some of the children who received so much caning in their time cited for all manner of infractions in their adult life? The Public Accounts Committee sittings is an example of how our seniors have not been exactly angels as they would want us to believe. Where are we expecting children to learn how to be responsible citizens? Where are we expecting them to learn how to be patriotic? Of course from adults as parents, guardians, teachers, pastors, political leaders or mentors.
Many of our youth remain unemployed today, a situation which is very worrisome. As adults, we advise them to get something doing, explaining to them that manna doesn’t just fall from heaven any more. We tell them to go into private ventures and work hard. But it is still we adults who from the word go, and with intention to cheat the system, have sworn affidavits reducing our ages, refusing to retire and clogging some of the employment avenues that some of the youth could fill. How do we expect the children to reconcile our deeds with our words?
In queues where there are already children who have been waiting their turn for long hours, it is adults who do not wait their turn; they would jump the queue to be served first. The children watch us and grow up doing same. How are we teaching them to respect order?
As adults, we have superintended over the conversion of almost all the spaces left for recreation/parks into concrete without thinking that children develop through recreation and need such facilities to expend their excess energies. And we are expecting respect?
Whether we, as adults, like it or not, technology has changed the way we live our lives. Children find it easier to use technology to achieve whatever they want, whether good or bad. And some adults see them as lazy because of this. They also cannot understand why we cannot do same. They watch the way we even position our fingers as we use the mobile phone and have a good laugh. It is for us adults to guide them to put the gadgets to good use and manage their time properly for their own benefit. But what do we do? We meet them with aggression and constantly create unnecessary conflict.
To a very large extent, children learn by imitating adults. In other words, they do what they see adults do. I think that it is time adults understand that children do not grow in isolation.They must, therefore, give them good examples to learn from. We must remember that we will always reap the kind of children we sow.