“I believe the children are the future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the Beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children laughter remind us how we used to be. Everybody’s searching for a hero.” – Whitney Houston
We recently concluded the National Youth Day in the Turks and Caicos Islands which is celebrated the last Friday in September each year. Congrats to the organizers for the events this year. Congrats also to the Minister of Education, Hon Karen Malcolm on her announcement for the plans to introduce civics and history in our curriculum. This is something that many of us have been advocating for years. In fact, I wrote about this in a previous article.
I do not know about you but I am tired of the talks that our youths are our priority. If our youths are the priority, why are we not demonstrating it. An event held on Youth Day once a year is not a priority. We need to engage our youths on a weekly or monthly basis from October culminating with the activities for National Youth Day the following September.
Before I proceed any further, let me recognize the Department of Youth, the Sports Department, the Edward Garland Youth Center, Junior Achievement, the youth groups at the various churches, parents and other community organizations that are doing their best to prepare our youths for the future. However, our youths continue to face major crisis in their lives which will require immediate intervention.
I believe one of the songs that Whitney Houston sang many years ago is so appropriate for this article and so I will use some of the words of the song as some of the sub titles in this article.
Teach Them Well
Everyone needs to be taught well and this should start in the home. Parents teach your children values including but not limited to honesty, respect for others, good manners, good ethics and integrity. Unfortunately, in society today, the things we thought were wrong are now being considered right. In other to avoid misunderstanding, the best tool to use in teaching your child is the Bible. The Bible says Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Another form of teaching is for the parents to lead by example. Do not abuse your spouse. Do not be all over the place having promiscuous relationships. Do not be drinking excessively. Do not be cursing and lying. Some children will follow in the footsteps of their parents and so parents have to be very careful how they live their lives.
To the churches, continue to have youth nights, Sunday school or children’s church. This may be the only place some of our children will get the biblical foundation.
To the Ministry of Education, there is too much emphasis on competition and academics in the school. Quite frankly, only a few people are benefitting from this current level of system. We need to change our system and have our children focusing on increasing their thinking abilities and discontinue the positions and competition in schools. We need to introduce a technical school in our curriculum so that our children are prepare effectively for their passion. Some of our children are failing in the school system because we are not preparing them well. That new primary school the Government is building should be the new technical school. In addition, many of our students are sports oriented but it seems like sports is just for the first three years of high school. Sports is in the back burner as it is evident when some of athletes have to participate in international events. We need to continuously teach our children sports and invest heavily in sports including sporting facilities such as a YMCA. The sporting facilities and the technical school will keep our youth occupy.
We have seen that locals such as Trevor Ariza, Delano Williams and Billy Forbes children can compete in the international arena. Therefore, we must ensure that more opportunities are created for others by having adequate sporting facilities here and financing for training and participation locally and overseas.
In the work force, our children will be competing others and so we must ensure that they have access to quality tertiary education. Upgrade the community college to University so our children can study locally as the Government cannot fund every student overseas and some parents cannot cope with the overseas tuition.
Finally, in terms of teaching, have monthly seminars for our youths and teach them the importance of absenteeism from premarital sex. Too many children are having children and end up being single mothers.
Let Them Lead the Way
Some churches have Youth Sundays. All churches should implement this and have our young people participate as we prepare them for future leaders. Let them also prepare a word to preach. This is a great method for young people to study the word and get more involved in the things of God.
Re-introduce the Duke of Edinburg Award. I know we participated in the past in this award but very little mention is made of this award in TCI now so I assume it is discontinued. This award prepares our youths for life and work.
Re-introduce the Junior Parliamentary Debate that started many years ago. This is an awesome way to help our youths to lead the way and understand the process of parliament.
Ensure that there are regular sporting events among the various schools and churches in TCI.
Introduce entrepreneurship and leadership training in the schools to prepare our youths to be leaders. There is a common saying that leaders are born not made. However, I believe leaders can be made through training and experience.
Show Them All the Beauty They Possess Inside
Show Our Young People all the Beauty They Possess Inside. Too many of us are focusing on external beauty which is driving our young people to be somebody that they are not. Encourage them that they are valuable and very important and that no one is better than them. Let them know they are special and they are gifts and heritage from the Lord. Do not compare your children with others. Show them that they are unique.
If they children are struggling academically in school. Don’t make them feel bad. IF you do, you may make the situation worst. Show them and remind them of the areas that they are very good in and let them cultivate that.
IF we do not show them the beauty possess inside, they may end up suffering from low self esteem and depression. They may end up being easily persuaded by others for drugs, the use of guns sex and alcohol.
We need to have continuous dialogue with our young people whether it is the parents or special community groups. For some parents, it is easy to have conversations with their children while for others it is a challenge.
Do not cover up for anyone that abuses your child sexually, mentally or physically. There are too many cases where parents do not even believe their children when their children tell them about sexual abuse. Our children are precious and do not deserve to be abused. Let them know that.
Give Them a Sense of Pride
Encourage them to be proud of who they are. Stand up for what they believe in and do not let peer pressure allow them to move away from their beliefs. Do not let them settle for less.
Allow our young children to have a sense of pride by teaching them about their heritage. They should not be embarrassed about who they are. They have a purpose in this world and we need to remind them about that.
As parents, friends, leaders, I say to you, no one is perfect but try your best to live a corrupt free life and a life of honesty and a life of patriotism to TCi. Hopefully the youths will be attracted to the good life you live so they can have a sense of pride.
It is time we seriously take our responsibility to safeguard our youths who are the future. I know some individuals and organizations are trying but more help is needed. This will require a sacrifice from parents and others in the community. We cannot afford to have our youths to continue to go on the path that is currently trending in TCI and other parts of the world. I believe a change can take place among our young people. It is not late but everyone needs to play their part.