EDITORIAL: What does the future hold for us?
Thu, 08/25/2016 - 4:27am
With just under 100 days left to go until the 50th anniversary of Barbados’ Independence, one might reflect on the changes within local society and wonder how this might impact future generations. We speak specifically to changes at the community level and those relating to cultural traditions, and not socio-economic or political developments as are usually the focus.
A prime example of these differences can be observed in the behaviour of children today. Fifty years ago and up to around the mid-90s, it was a common occurrence to see children in neighbourhoods after school socialising and playing. Popular games included hop scotch, jump rope, catcher, red light green light and several other activities that involved interaction at the group level and developed children’s interpersonal relations in a positive environment.
Nowadays, children are seldom seen outside in these scenarios. With the exception of the odd football match, groups of youngsters instead get together to lime – an act which frequently results in negative behaviours, especially when unsavory elements are involved. In addition, the most recent fad, the new Pokemon game, also involves groups of youths hanging around listlessly and is a far cry from what was considered the norm in the past.
This phenomenon was noted in another section of the press recently, where it was pointed out that children today are losing touch with Barbadian culture, especially traditional games. General observation would support this charge, and point to advancing technology as a major factor in this change.
So what does it all mean? Should we support the call for youngsters to bring back the ‘ole time ways’ or should we leave the children alone to become increasingly antisocial?
Understandably, it would be a shame for future generations to miss out on traditional games like wari, stick fighting and marbles. However, these can be introduced by parents or at various sports and community clubs for those who are interested. Parents should encourage youngsters to be more outgoing and join these clubs, however the use of modern technology for gaming should not be discouraged.
Societies must change and there is no need to fight it. If we want Barbados to be at the forefront of technological advancement, this means that more and more technology must be made available and our younger generation must be familiar with it and be equipped to make use of it. In fact, there are currently several educational courses aimed at making youths more tech savvy and not only using technology, but developing it themselves.
However, parents need to be vigilant and ensure that children are not cut off from the realities of the world because of technology and still maintain vibrant social lives including sports and friends.
It is tempting to want to hold onto the past, especially when it holds good memories, and even moreso when the future looks uncertain. But although some positive elements of our traditions can be brought forward, if Barbados is to continue to thrive as the gem of the Caribbean as it has for the last 50 years and more, then we again have to strike out and be bold about our future.