Yesterday I stared at the front page of a local newspaper in horror. I questioned if my beloved country has truly crossed into the realm of desolation. Have we gone too far, beyond the reaches of all that is whole and pure, that we are left in a space that is dangerous and deceptive?
Beneath the veneer of a carefree, caring, God-faring surface lies a seething mass of rage and disrespect for life. Yesterday’s headlines tell a story of horror; no, they tell a story of barbarity, brutality, perhaps of inhumanity. When the lives of our young people are snuffed out abruptly, like mosquitoes, it brings to the forefront the insidious plague of violent crime. The headline screamed out, “Horror for Children”. Seven different acts of violence or attempted violence were reported against our nation’s youths: seven were reported, how many were unreported? Below is the link for the front page of the local newspaper:
Such a state of affairs could have many precipitating factors including: latent drug connections; breakdown in family life and values and the accompanying overt and implicit rage; a lack of spirituality; and the ubiquitous urgency and immediacy for gratification. These and other factors seem to have coagulated into extensive corrosive effects in our society as evidenced by daily reports of savage attacks.
We are failing our young people when we:
- do not protect them from heinous acts
- do not provide suitable examples and spiritual grounding
- are the perpetrators of criminal acts against them.
That time of youth is a time for incomparable joy, a special time to embrace all the wonders of life that adults take for granted; a time to bask in the excitement of growing up. Our young people ought to be the ones to take over the mantle of personal and social responsibilities; they should shape the landscape of the future and bring about change and innovation.
Children need to freely experience the roller coaster of emotions as they unfurl from buds of innocence and immaturity into flowers of realism and maturity characterized by a strong sense of self and security. It would be best if their search for love and belonging is carried out in a peaceful and secure setting, unencumbered by the depravity of evil minds.
To empower our young ones to bring these ideals to fruition, we, the adults, need to provide them with the correct tools and examples. This empowerment cannot be achieved in a vacuum. Yes, our youths need to be given the opportunity to evolve as leaders, trailblazers and creators, accepting guidance, graciously deferring to the experiential wisdom of trustworthy elders and diligently pushing forward as they strive for excellence.
But when Maslow’s lower needs, such as security, are not met, how can our children be expected to conquer the hierarchy of needs to eventually tread on the path of self-actualization. How can a broken spirit elevate above the rancour born out of betrayal of innocent trust?
It becomes the duty of emotionally intelligent, spiritually mature and intellectually sound adults to soothe the festering wounds inflicted by emotionally, spiritually, morally and/or intellectually deficient adults. Despite the difficulty in breaking the cycle of violence, attempts still have to be made to interrupt the perpetuation of this scourge. We have to set proper examples by striving to a higher purpose. If we could help victims to develop skills to deal with life under any type of circumstance, then we can help them to let go of the past, to learn from the past and hence to experience personal growth and renewal.
This most recent series of criminal acts against children has been seared in my brain. I am restless and filled with thoughts of seeking to provide solace for our children. When you read the article let me know your thoughts and reactions to these acts of violence against young people, both here in Trinidad and internationally. How did it affect your psyche? Please let me know your point of view.