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Rhonda Blackman


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Too many people suffer from what may be called square peg in round hole syndrome.
This syndrome presents itself in all spheres of society and has a significant impact on the holistic development of one of our most vulnerable groups – children. Those suffering from it are unable to effectively perform the role their position demands and as a result they may become tyrannical, arrogant or unsure.
Square pegs may be found in the home. Some parents show evidence of the syndrome, seeming to take very little interest in the well-being of their children. Some do not have the skills and education for proper parenting and expose their children to the many ills in society – drugs, sex, X-rated movies, and prostitution.
Pornographic material via explicit sex DVDs, movies or magazines have become commonplace in some homes. This causes children to become sexually alert and impacts their sexual thinking. The behaviours are then transferred to the school, where children experiment with their peers and perform the acts they have observed.
Some parents allow their children to see them wrap, bag, sell and take marijuana. Some share the smoking with their children as part of the cultural experience. Children are being allowed to “lime” on the block where they are exposed to negative behaviour, drugs, guns, gangs and sex. This is then transferred to the classrooms where children think such behaviour is acceptable.
Schools act as loco parentis and in that setting we also meet square pegs in round holes. Some teachers see teaching as a job and others behave as if they don’t want to be there. This is manifested in their attitude towards the children, the tight, revealing clothes they wear, the exposed tattoos and their interaction with colleagues. There is a need for careful vetting of people who come into the school family so as to weed out square pegs in round holes.
Even some administrators may fall prey to the syndrome. They do not have inherent leadership qualities, therefore when placed in positions of leadership they do not feel secure and this is obvious when they throw their power around and try to manipulate and intimidate others. It is also evident in the way they treat staff, parents and even the children.
There are people in society who have great impact on the lives of our children and are setting terrible examples – church leaders, politicians, journalists, community leaders, and the list goes on. These are people with the ability to move society forward but cannot because they have square peg in round hole syndrome.
The home, school and society must understand the influence they have on the minds of our children and therefore must “shape up” to avoid the syndrome.
• Rhonda A. Blackman is an educator, National Development Scholar and former president of the Early Childhood Association of Barbados Inc.