Kaieteur News – There were about four or five kids walking aimlessly on the street. As I passed one of them, he suddenly contorted his face, trying to appear frightening and let out a “Booooooo!”
Just what he was attempting to do, I could not understand. I am sure that even he could not understand what he was trying to do.
He along with his friends were simply making clowns of themselves not realising how silly they appeared.
You see this sort of idling everyday in Guyana. It is not an isolated phenomenon. It is becoming a widespread problem in Guyana whereby, kids are to be seen straying all over the place mostly in the presence of others.
Kids are purposelessly walking or they like to say, “liming”, not attempting to spend their free time doing something productive. Kids with nothing to do turning to mischief, including raiding other person’s farms.
I did not have to wonder too much what these kids would turn out to be and the burden they will represent to their families and to society. It is easy to predict what will become of these kids. And it is also easy to foretell what others will make of these kids if they do not succeed in life.
The excuse will be made that these kids have failed because of society. We have a tendency in Guyana to blame our own failures on the government. The blame will be heaped upon the government as having not helped these kids.
But one has to ask whose primary responsibility it is to see that these children turn out to be model citizens. Not the government but the parents.
So where are the parents of these kids? And why is it that ever so often we see parents neglecting their responsibility for these children? How can parents simply allow their children to roam aimlessly around the streets when they should be engaged in something more useful?
Luckily, there are not many girl children who are allowed to roam and this suggests that it is boys who are often given the freedom to run freely and do whatever they please, including making a fool of themselves. But the girls are kept secure at home. If the parents can ensure that the girls are not allowed to stray around their communities, the same can be done for the boys.
While there have been no research efforts in Guyana as yet as to how misuse of spare time results in social deviancy, I am in no doubt that if our children were more gainfully occupied in their free time, if even their recreation activities were supervised, then we would have less social problems in the country.
It amounts to neglect for parents to simply allow their children to do as they please and more so to be straying instead of trying to enjoy their free time.
Some attempt has to be made by social organizations, including religious bodies to address this problem of idling. These groups may of course want the government to prompt them into action.
But they too need to not become a substitute for the neglectful parents. They need not see themselves as babysitters to whom parents can simply dump their children. These organizations need to work with the parents to help them to assume responsibility.
Poverty is no excuse for not supervising your kids. Having a large family is no excuse. There are countless examples of parents who lack material wealth and who have had large families and all the pressures that go with these situations, and yet have been able to ensure that their children turned out right.
It boils down to parenting, which is being woefully neglected in Guyana by both the poor and the rich.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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