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Children need ‘pairents’


DAVID ‘JOEY’ HARPER

Children need ‘pairents’

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BY NOW WE MUST be aware that we are observing another Child Month celebration.

I must admit I am feeling some concern about the direction in which our children are being guided by adult children, who lack the controlled desire to point them on the course leading to positive goals, whether in education, professional integrity  or God-inspired religious ambitions.

I have pondered on why, in a country/world where there are so many achievable opportunities, our young and adult male and female children seem disinterested in reaching and entering the blood, sweat, and tears-constructed tunnels, from which they, with serious effort, could emerge competent craftsmen and women of this nation’s fate/future.

I have had the opportunity to be involved in the planning, caring and protective strategies developed for children at all levels of our society, and observed with more than a passing concern that children are given to men and women who today, in our fast-moving world, are unaware that neither wealth nor poverty is the determining factor as to what a child will grow up to be.

The real master plan lies in the hand of the architect of the universe, who determined that it needed two people to bring his blessed creation into being.

Men and women have ignored His word and “PAIRents” have been reduced to “PARents”.  This redefining has created the social environment that allows for the term “single parent” to be accepted as a way for an irresponsible mother or father to walk away from his or her designated duty of care, to the point where gender – masculine or feminine – is slowly becoming irrelevant, causing a breach in the childhood to adulthood, male and female learning curve.

Ms Joan Crawford, director of the Child Care Board, and Mrs Marcia Graham, of PAREDOS, have shown concern about the increase in cases of child abuse in Barbados, and rightly so. I believe that the figures quoted by Ms Crawford at Press briefings are accurate, but are just the tip of the “ABUSEberg”.

Barbados’ law, if followed, makes it extremely difficult for the sexual abuse of children,  if discovered, to go unpunished. However, the difficulty is to get the victims of this debilitating experience to report existing cases.

Abuse at all levels

Child abuse does not only exist at one level of society; it encompasses all social, economic and religious levels.

One may be surprised to know that within the gated communities it is harder to build a case simply because the affluent home, the financial leisurely environment which  the abused (wife or child) might have to sacrifice, makes it more convenient to live  a lie than face the challenging consequences.

In order to overcome the challenge of our children becoming compliant victims  of child abuse – physical or sexual – it must be brought to light. The victims must be taught that accepting the lesser of two evils does not make either of the evils right.

As we intellectualise, “PAIRents”, please keep in mind that your little boys are at serious risk of becoming abused and also at risk of being trained to become homosexual men after being abused by neighbours, teachers and even priests.

Yes, we know the problem exists and yes, there is a solution, but it needs a well coordinated approach. This is where I return to the question of the home.

We must return to our “PAIRenting” values, where sex and/or money is not the dominant motivator and where money does not dictate our values. If the Caribbean can once again come to grips with the value of families, maybe we will eliminate the need for abusive sex within and outside of families and, by extension, communities. Yes, the bills must be paid but not through the exploitation of our children.

If we act positively, we may see men return to the characteristic known as manhood, and well-clothed women gladly return to the respect they once held for their concealed, rather than exposed, femininity; while the children will once again respect the mothers and fathers whom they love, watching them work together as caregiving teams rather than compliant competitors.

– DAVID ‘JOEY’ HARPER

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