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Youth without values

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Youth without values

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The issue of crime and deviant youth continues to attract the attention of authority figures in the society.
On Wednesday last, the Barbados Christian Council hosted Consultation On Crime at Solidarity House at which wide-ranging discussions took place.
That same day, Prayer Warriors International, another religious grouping, held a Press conference at Hilton Barbados at which it was said that while many of our young people were being blamed for the ongoing surge in crime, the real problem was the breakdown of the societal structure.
Apostle Marcus Hinds of the Prayer Warriors group thinks that the solution requires “strong rigid leadership in all aspects – church, school, everywhere”.
Whether or not strong leadership is required, we think the solution requires the attention of the whole society, and the church must be complimented on taking this leadership position in mounting discussions on what is clearly a pressing issue.
Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin addressed the consultation and while reporting that the level of crime had been stable and that it was now lower than in 2003, he called on the church to do more.  
He claimed that the church was not as engaged as it should be and was content to stay within its walls, that the deep problems of the society were not being touched by the church.
He believed there was a disconnect between the church and society and that the church must be more deeply involved with the community.
We are not in agreement with everything the commissioner said, but clearly he recognizes the importance of what the church means to the society.
Unfortunately, some see the church as being concerned only with spiritual matters and fail to see that it can and does have a beneficial impact upon character-building of the individual in his or her formative years.
One does not have to be a Bible-thumping person to recognize the moral value inherent in a statement such as “Thou shall not steal” or “You should love your neighbour as yourself”. Nor does one have to be a devout adherent to any faith to recognize the truth of the exhortation that one should “go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise”.
The fact is that there are values inherent in the teachings of the various faiths that may be adopted by young or old as moral guideposts for life.
When the commissioner told the conference that most of the 2 000 people going before the courts for the first seven months of this year were charged with property crimes, one wonders how many of them had been exposed – whether in the home, school or church – to the moral guidepost command that they should not steal.
Since, as he said, some begin their criminal careers at 11, 12 and 13 and are barely literate, it is clear that we have a complex social problem, in which early exposure to moral values must be part of the solution.
In earlier times, we included the church in the training of our youngsters when primary schoolchildren went to church once a week at the local church. That exercise was not meant to turn our youngsters into little angels, but it exposed them to lessons in values which were reinforced in the classroom and helped to build their characters.
In the absence of establishing moral guideposts for our youngsters, the local gang, the television and electronic cultural penetration of the worst kind will influence the vulnerable of our young people into the path of crime and deviance.
We must ensure that young minds are again exposed to moral guidance at an early stage, before they are seduced into crime and other antisocial activity, and in this respect, the church has a vital role to play.