Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
–– Proverbs 23:22.
The spike in negative reporting and commentary on our very young in our schools in recent weeks will perhaps run into a wall of greater positiveness in the course of this month. As ridiculous and uncomplimentary as some of the conduct of our students reportedly have been, there is no dearth of good child action we can point to in the classroom or outside, nor lack of hope in better deeds yet to be accomplished.
As much negativity as there is to be publicized about our children, there are still many of our very young involved in positive activities, and displaying positive traits, which are worthy of emulation by even some adults.
It would do well to have us as a nation underscore and present in strong imagery this pertinent fact in this year’s Child Month, which is celebrated annually during May –– especially when some entities would stretch it to Family Month as well.
And we have not missed the theme of Child Month 2016.
We warmly embrace the message Healthy Families: A Brighter Future For Our Children, and support Child Care Board director Ms Joan Crawford’s concept of “a continuation of . . . efforts to encourage families to take their rightful position in shaping the lives of the nation’s children”. There is no better time than now –– given the controversies in our schools, and the annual period of formalities –– to have fervent and sincere national focus on our children and the issues that are impacting, or will, their development.
Even as national debate rages about shockingly undesirable behaviour by some pupils in the classroom, we adults –– as parents, educators, leaders and exemplars –– must not be deterred from our responsibilty and mission of fashioning a path which our admirable young would be eager to take, and the allegedly less desirable might be influenced or persuaded to tread.
Of course, a standard that will be central to the success of this is excellence –– a much discarded thing these days –– which can only buttress any dream we have of seeing outstanding accomplishments by way of hard work, a caring attitude, exemplary conduct and deportment. And these qualities ought to be practised by all, if indeed our very young at school will have examples to follow.
This modus operandi should be fervently encouraged by parents, as by teachers, as this is one way of fathers, mothers and educators demonstrating how truly they value their children and charges, and how serious their focus on the learning, progress and fulfilment of the young in our schools is.
Truth be told, our schools are excellent to the extent their students are proud of their learning, their development, achievements and accomplishments.
Our schools are excellent too to the extent their old scholars remember them fondly and the environment contributed to by teachers and parents.
We insist that a school is good to the extent its dreams, hopes and achievements, both within and without, are valued and celebrated; and to the extent staff and students –– present and past –– are committed to its success and caring enough to encourage and inspire positive relationships amongst everyone and develop sound students’ self-esteem and culture of conduct.
As we focus then this month on the child and the family, let us parents and teachers underline to our young the importance of honouring their elders, as these very elders care for and love their charges.
You shall rise before the grey headed and honour the presence of an old man [and old woman], and fear your God: I am the Lord.
–– Leviticus 19:32.
As made clear in Leviticus, honouring elders is more than the practice of good manners or adherence to good etiquette; and more than our acknowledgement
of gratitude for their good to us. Honouring our elders is a statute of God Almighty.
This reverence can only translate into a better quality of life for our older folks and a deeper understanding by our youth of the path they too must ultimately take. A societal benefit from this respect will be the accommodation of the elderly’s continued and expected contribution.
Without our elders none of us would be here. We owe them our lives, our respect and our best wishes. Let us lend them our ears, give them our hearts, and despise them not!
This Child Month –– and Family Month –– we might all join in the refrain:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.