A men’s rights advocate says some of this nation’s young boys are being exposed to guns and other negative influences early in their lives. Many of these young men lack the presence of a strong male to help shape the kind of men they should strive to be.
Veteran journalist and advocate Emmanuel Joseph made the statement during a presentation earlier today to celebrate International Men’s Day.
During the event held at the Dalkeith Road headquarters of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Joseph noted many boys do not understand what being a male entails because when there should be an example in their lives for them to follow, that male is absent.
“Many Boys today don’t know what it means to be a man because they do not have a man in their lives…. A significant percentage of our families are headed by a single mother,” Joseph said, adding that the Cave Hill Wesleyan Men’s Ministry where he is the Director has embarked on Operation Engagement a programme, which targets young males in primary schools.
“Right now, a small team of us men, including a former local gang member who is actually the secretary of the men’s ministry, go every week to the primary school and undertake empowerment sessions [where we] discuss life issues and get feedback from the boys,” he said.
Joseph, a Senior Reporter at Barbados TODAY, and proud father of one and grandfather of two, said, “I have found that out of a class of 21 [students], at least a quarter of these boys have been exposed to real guns in their homes, in the hands of someone on the street or on television.
“Three primary school children confessed to handling a firearm of a friend or relative. [Six] of them also confessed to hearing gunshots frequently in their communities,” he said, adding that some of the young primary school males, when asked, said they were not afraid of the firearms.
Joseph told the audience that a positive role model was paramount as studies have shown that the involvement of a father is beneficial to children.
“Father-child interaction promotes a child’s physical well-being, perceptual ability, and competency for relating with others. Furthermore, these children demonstrate greater ability to take initiative and self-control,” he said. He also encouraged the females in the audience to allow a positive male to become involved in their life.
“Encourage positive male role model involvement in your child’s life if you are a mom. If you are a non- custodial dad, make the effort to visit your children more often [as] you can also teach them important life lessons. If you are an educator encourage fathers to be more active in the classroom,” Joseph said, adding that positive male models can influence the community as well as faith-based programmes.
“Faith-based institutions and programs can bring fathers together with their children. Additionally, they can encourage male role models to engage children. Business leaders can also encourage employee involvement by mentoring boy scouts, big brother, big sister programmes, youth groups, boys or girls’ clubs,” he said.
International Men’s Day, started on November 19th, 1992, is celebrated annually in 70 countries around the world and seeks to promote the improvement of the lives of young men by improving gender relations and promoting gender equality.