Prime Minister Mia Mottley wants there to be more intergenerational interactions across Barbados to deal with some of the emerging problems including the growing concern about mental issues among young people.
Addressing the 2019 prize-giving and award ceremony at her alma mater Queen’s College in Husbands, St James, Mottley expressed concern that a lot of young people were spending more time playing video games and on their cell phones than getting involved in a sporting activity or interacting more with each other.
Mottley, who dubbed her discourse The Pursuit of Truth and The Pursuit of Excellence, said her administration was keen on “creating a nurturing environment” for young people to succeed.
Adding that she was worried there was less emphasis on team sports, Mottley disclosed that her administration was in the process of developing a “major initiative in cricket” that would create an avenue for young people to learn from older generations as they interact.
“If we want to create the platform for intergeneration communication and intergenerational support and interclass support and all of the things that made us a balanced and safe society then we need to go back and create these institutions in our communities,” said Mottley.
Reminding the boys and girls that the pursuit of excellence was “a journey and not a destination”, Mottley said while emphasis was often placed on individuals who did not excel, students that are exceptional in their capacity to learn and reason could also be “at risk” and they too should be encouraged.
“I have been meeting with the fourth and fifth formers, and sixth formers where applicable, [to start that talk with them], because until we learn the heart of listening, until we share perspectives and understand where our children are and let them understand where we need them to go, and why certain values are important, we are not going to get anywhere,” said Mottley.
“The conversations I find particularly enthralling as I move around this country and this region talking to persons under the age of 30 years old is their concern about mental health issues. I believe that a large part of it comes from not understanding how to negotiate and navigate success and failure,” she said.
Mottley said while there was need for parental education and for teachers to help lead, families, communities and the wider society had to do a better job at talking with young people and not [talking]at them.
Encouraging parents to become more active in their communities, the Prime Minister also called on young people to start using technology to their advantage and not to be limited by their geographic space.
Noting that excellence was more than academics and extended to the ability to “manage people, manage relationships and manage friendships, Mottley pointed out that while economic issues were being addressed there was need to examine other areas.
“All of that will come to nothing if we don’t get the equation right for you to be the future of this country, to help us with future Barbados and for you to understand that as you do it, the measurement of your success is not in scholarships and degrees alone, but in the content of your character, your ability to live good with one another, your ability to be able to manage conflict,” she told the large audience.