(Letter to the Editor published in New Vision, Uganda, November 2011)
The Big Story of Sunday Vision, 30 October 2011 was indeed big. The story spoke about the “night life” of some of our teen age children (Where is your child when you are asleep?). This deviated behaviour is the result of many issues. As elders in charge of these children we need to ask many questions: what kind of families do they come from? What kind of morals the family, school, religious institutions and the society has given to them? What do parents/guardians do at this time? What kind of freedom do we give to them? The questions can me unlimited. Of course the answers are hard to find.
Surely this behaviour of our young children is only tip of the iceberg. The behaviour that was reported in the newspaper is only symptoms and small little exhibit. There are deeper problems we need to look into. Let us try to answer some of the questions that we have just seen. The newspaper itself seem to be asking the “concerned parents/readers” the question Where is your child when you are asleep? I think this question is worth answering. May be we will be helping some parents.
Children largely reflect their parents and the homes they come from. Parents who spent time with their children, who care for them in the homes and set good examples by staying at home and giving their children quality company children cannot behave so. Especially in the recent years schools have become only places of “academics”. Teachers have no time for the integral growth of their students, they are busy moving from school to school “part-timing” for more income. Most teachers have no moral authority to challenge their students for the fear of exposing their own moral decadence. Many of them shy away from this god-given duty and merely “teach” rather than educate as “to whom so it may concern”. Parents leave children in institutions and rest at home leaving all the upbringing to the school which fails to do its duty for many reasons.
Many religious founded schools are only by name “religious”. They only offer one or two hours of organised prayers which are also poorly attended. Schools most often fail to talk to students on morals, teach religion, values, cultures and the behaviour related issues. They even become agents of seculari values and trends. It is eye-souring to see on Saturday issues of newspapers photos of school parties where young girls exhibited in panties, bras and most indecent costumes. It is unfortunate that many of these parties are held in “esteemed” city schools run by religious. We need to question, ‘what does a parent of a girl who is exposed to the nation in half nude feel? Will you allow them to behave so at home?’ Through these programmes do we teach our daughters dignity and healthy appreciation of oneself? Are we not introducing them to commercial adult world before they come of age?
In the name of freedom we ruin the life of our young children. Who gives those cars and money to fund these parties? Who gives them permission to move out of homes or institutions at that time of the night? Do we have any laid out rules governing the behaviour or time table? Do the society or the concerned departments have any rule or guidelines regulating clubs and party places?
Society and the institutions of the state too needs to take responsibility. Pornography is available to young people at ease. Now the electronic media makes matters worse. We have no guidelines or very little control over them. Pornography is an addition that causes youngsters to indulge in such activities. Every alcohol bottle comes with the announcement “Not to be sold to persons below 18 years of age” but what steps have we taken to implement this important policy. In similar way there is no written or unwritten rule or even admonition regarding the dressing habits of our young people. Parents and elders feel shy or have no guts to tell a dressing defaulter not to do so.
It is the high time parents, schools, religious leaders and social/state departments get concerned on youth issues before they explode into serious sickness, large scale deviated behaviour such as drug abuse, alcoholism or even violence.