What are we feeding our children’s minds?
Anyone doing even a cursory analysis of the spike in crime over the last month or so would have been hard-pressed to miss that most of those convicted or charged in relation to these incidents are males under the age of 25, with the majority being teenagers.
Our young males have been involving themselves in murder, abduction, robbery, burglary, wounding, threatening with a gun and unlawful sexual intercourse at rates which are quite alarming especially for a small society such as ours.
The recent arrests provide evidence (in case there was doubt) that some of our youngsters embark upon criminality while still very young and that they seem to work in teams, with some names recurring in connection with different incidents. Is the teamwork that we are seeing evidence of a larger network possibly controlled by adults? Are the team members filling a void left by a breakdown in the family structure?
The individual backgrounds of the young men vary but from covering these cases in court, we have noted that many of these boys have dropped out of the formal education system, usually between first and third form; some began using illegal drugs at an early age; many come from disadvantaged homes; and very few have a male authority figure present at home. But such environments in and of themselves may not be sufficient to create a young man who would diverge from the accepted norms of society.
Interestingly though, most of the young men have mothers in their lives and a support system of very vocal and aggressive “friends” who turn up at the court when their cases are heard.
Children are not born criminally inclined, so what is it that has been happening in the first 10 to 15 years of their lives that causes them to turn to deviance so early? What is it about their early environment that creates criminals? What have they been feeding their minds on? Or, a more appropriate question might be, ‘What have we, the adults, been feeding them?’.
When we curse the society for the crime we have been experiencing, we curse ourselves. It is time for us as parents, grandparents, relatives, teachers, church members, neighbours, community leaders, public servants, entertainers, media professionals and politicians to look inward to see if and where we have fallen short in our responsibilities as adults to collectively raise our children. But the introspection must start with the parents.