Today while I was walking to the car park coming from class, I overheard a group of boys (pre-university students) having a discussion. I really didn’t hear the whole gist of their conversation so I cant explain the genesis but what I did hear was one explaining that if a girl should say something to a guy that embarrasses him in public that his only choice would be to “box her in the face and hide away in the crowd”.
I was appalled.
None of the other members of the group rebutted him and to tell you the truth neither did I. Maybe I should have stopped and said something but I really had to leave to get to work.
But I still was concerned about what I had heard.
The most recent devastation in Jamaica is where a man beheaded his ex-girlfriend and mother of his four kids without any remorse I am sure. These random acts of violence have been recurring in our society and they have their genesis with these little boys learning from their fathers and then growing up to teach their kids that the only way to deal with women is to “box them in the face” if their behaviour offends them.
I recently completed teaching practice as part of my studies and while at the school, I felt like I was in a war zone. .Twenty four seven, the seven graders would be at each others throats. Every single utterance warranted a fight and their was no distinction between gender in these fights. The girls believe it or not were just as hostile towards each other and the towards the boys and vice versa. They frequently took up chars to throw at each other, rocks, the broom that swept the class room and other objects were turned into tools to inflict pain on each other.
Though I grew up in Jamaica and live here, I still was quite shocked because I have never been in an environment that displayed such hostility. Apart from the constant fighting, these kids had not a kind word for each other. They referred to each other has idiots, fools, and other derogatory names that are too lewd for my blog – and yes these are high school students.
The incident of today reminded me of this experience and has also solidified the fact that violence against women – and men – in Jamaica will continue to be an issue for years to come because the behaviour is continuously being instilled in the children who will grow up to reproduce what they have learned.
Too many of our children are growing up with little of no display of or contact with positive emotions such as love, caring, forgiveness. Too many parents are still damaging their kids by only scolding when they are wrong and not saying a kind word to them when they have done well. An even worst, too many parents are being rude to and mistreating their spouses in the presence of their kids. Too many are displaying, lauding and reinforcing negative behaviour in our children.
I have no cure for this issue and I am sure that I have nothing to say about it that has not been said already but I guess its my duty and the duty of others to spread the word.
I may not be able to help those kids that have already been marred but I can surely ensure that when I have my child, I will grow a well adjusted, positive child who will hopefully bring more love and respect into the world. I would also hope that for those who have kids now, that you would look into the things that you allow your kids to be exposed to – the excessively violent movies, video games, you beating your spouses or degrading and disrespecting them, etc.
Violence like kindness is a learned behaviour so we have to display and teach what we want our kids to learn. As it is now, there is clearly an imbalance in the level of kindness versus violence that our kids and even us adults are exposed to and we really need to adjust this before we are further damned as a society.