FRIDAY, MAY 25: Although I try my best to focus on the positive things that many of our youth are doing on our island, I can’t help but feel a sense of great concern about those who are on the wrong path.
They seem to be stuck there, travelling along on their journey of life with a sense of helplessness, hopelessness, and apathy.
Over the years of my career, I have seen an increase in the amount of attention required for our young people who fall into any number of categories: dysfunctional youth, youth at risk, needy youth, troubled youth — the list goes on.
Programmes to help young people have increased significantly. No matter what label we give them, it seems that far more young people are in need of a myriad of social services and interventions than ever before. This should concern all of us.
Certain behaviours exhibited by young people bother me greatly and too many of us have accepted that what we are witnessing is now the norm. It seems easier for adults to simply turn a blind eye and avoid any possible confrontation.
So why should I be bothered about young people who have no regard for others around them when they publicly spout foul and gutter language? Why should I be concerned when our youth display acts of a sexual nature in public?
Why bother with youth drinking publicly — and sometimes underage? I think we should all be concerned because the negative behaviours which our young people might continue to display will inevitably become the conduct that they will demonstrate in other areas of their adult lives (if they are not corrected), such as in the workplace.
These same young people will grow into working adults who will, at some point, be charged with the responsibility of taking care of us. Should it not be our responsibility as adults to model for the youth the appropriate conduct that should be exhibited? Don’t we want to rest assured that our future is in the hands of responsible people?
What has happened for so many young people to have gone astray? While it’s easy to point fingers and blame the infiltrations of all kinds of influences from other countries, the education system, or even other people’s children, the bottom line is that every living, breathing, individual young person has parents who are ultimately responsible for their upbringing.
I believe that too many parents have dropped the ball — and watched it roll away.
To society’s detriment, some of those very parents who have already birthed delinquent offspring have continued to have more — and the service providers have continued to grow.
If parents do their part, and continue to do their part when the proverbial chips are down, service providers should help to enhance and support the parent on a short-term basis just to help get the young person back on track.
Food for thought
When youth go off track and stay off track without parental or extended family intervention, how much should the rest of the community have to endure to save this young person financially or otherwise? At what point are parents to be truly held responsible and accountable for their own children?
Before anyone reads any more into this article than necessary, let’s use this information for the purpose for which it was intended — as food for thought and a catalyst to act. And let’s all do our part to help our young people now — before they go further astray.
• Join me on Generations on Monday, May 28, along with my guests, Kim Jackson, Programme Coordinator for Mirrors and Kerry Judd, Education Trust Founder of New Beginnings as we discuss the way forward to helping our young people who are in need of intervention. Shawnette Somner is the host of Generations, which airs on DeFontes’ Broadcasting Company’s MIX106 FM. 7.30pm-9pm every Monday. Call in live during the show on 295-1061. Send comments and show ideas to