EDITORIAL: Uplift, value our boys
Tue, 05/31/2016 - 12:00am
AS we come to the end of another Child Month, we reflect on our children, the challenges they face and how best we can help them triumph. In that vein, it is pleasing to see another successful Boys’ Week at Bay Primary School. The popularity of the event is encouraging and suggests it should be reproduced in other schools. This in no way detracts from the accomplishments of female students, but we do believe the extra attention on young males can only redound to their benefit, and therefore the good of the country.
The Boys’ Week at Bay Primary held for the last four years is an inspirational initiative reaffirming the self-worth of male youth. It is heartening to see children envision a bright future and positive images of themselves, and that the programme is endorsed by teachers, parents, and ministry officials. Teacher and facilitator, Kirt Jordan, noted the event began as a means of hindering delinquency and deficiency at the school and that the week of events “uplift(s) the boys in a holistic manner – socially, spiritually and physically”.
Provide positive reinforcement
All too often, in speaking to and directing boys, the narrative can be overly negative, with repetition of words such as “don’t”, “shouldn’t” and “can’t”. Perhaps in our eagerness to steer them away from trouble and mould them into well-behaved, one-size-fits-all young men, we fail to remind them of what they do right and the best aspects of their personalities. Now more so than ever, they need positive reinforcement that there is always hope and they should never lose it, especially when other sections of the media fail to highlight the many good young people, and choose to instead focus on a deviant minority involved in crime and violence.
We are hopeful that the dynamic nature of the sessions experienced during the week affirm there are still many uplifting avenues for boys to succeed in life and to become, as Mr. Jordan notes, “productive ... and good citizens”. In fact, similar programmes should be exported to other primary and secondary schools, where young men are unreservedly praised for their talents and reminded they too can dream big, regardless of socio-economic background or educational leanings. It also provides a critical opportunity to interact with positive male influences from whom they can draw inspiration. This can assuage a problem with lack of motivation at school that some boys have faced, and which eventually leads to their disengagement, poor skills on leaving school, and in a few cases, influenced to follow the wrong crowd.
Our children are a most precious resource. These types of showcases demonstrate that our young males are valued and have great potential. As we approach 50 years of Independence and celebrate our way of life – even as we are introspective over our future – we commit to the expression of all young people and focus on providing hopeful, positive messages for them to follow. For it to work, the adults in their lives have to be on board, as in the case of Bay Primary, so that it becomes a constant affirmation of their worth.