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GAL FRIDAY: Tough raising a child in today’s world


Veoma Ali

GAL FRIDAY: Tough raising a child in today’s world

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“Children today.” We heard that when we were juveniles; and I’m sure our parents heard the same thing when they fell into the similar category of puerility.

Perhaps the only two people who’ve never heard those words disdainfully dictated were Adam and Eve. And maybe Rossann Yearwood, because she is a goody-two-shoes. (She wears really nice shoes, too.)

I don’t think I would be able to rear a child in these times, though. It is too tough and testing in today’s world.

Have you seen the video going around on Facebook these days with some belligerent little brutes, cussing out some people, who could very well be their parents? This happened during school hours and they were even in school uniform. I know I may sound old-school, but back in my day, principals would never stomach such acts.

My belly would always get me in trouble and I remember sneaking out of high school to get a hot dog because the cafeteria only carried afternoon snacks. The hot dog parlour was about 30 seconds’ walk from my high school. No big deal, right? Wrong. There was a rule about leaving school premises during school hours, without permission. I’m not sure if that rule still exists . . . or if there remain any rules that are not branded either “discriminatory” or “draconian”.

Anyway, back to the story. The walk was approximately 30 seconds. The $2 transaction took about a minute. While walking back, the mastication process – albeit accelerated – was approximately 30 seconds, which was the same time as the walk. The arrival back to the school gate was a Casablanca moment: of all the times, of all the days, she just had to be there at the time I returned. The principal was standing at the gate, conversing with the gardener.

I had never before seen them in dialogue. In fact, the gardener never even answered when you greeted him. Up to that time, I had never heard his voice. Well, hot dog almost went south way too soon. To make a long story short, next day I was at the podium, during morning assembly, explaining “the dangers of leaving the school compound without permission”. I remember that like it was just this morning.

Yes, some may say that my headmistress made a mountain out of a molehill. But truth be told, in my teenage mind, I didn’t resent her.

I respected her for not putting me in detention, which as far as I could have seen, was a student loafing session. I was grateful to her for not giving me an order mark, which was simply a record of misconduct on my report; and really taught me no lesson.

Before I go, I’d like to recommend a movie, Lean On Me. It’s a wonderful production on the principal-student dynamic. Instead of splitting hairs on minor matters, the protagonist creates opportunities for his students to learn life lessons.

An environment of miscreants and deviance is (and can be) transformed into one of balance and brilliance.

Veoma Ali is an author, actor, broadcaster, advertising exec, and most important, a karaoke lover.

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