Let children be children

IT is with great horror that we learned that a five-year-old was recently sexually assaulted. What makes it even more incomprehensible is that the accused are two five-year-old boys.

Re-reading what was written above sounds absolutely crazy, but such is the world in which we live. A lot of things, sadly, don’t make sense.

It makes this writer wonder what I was doing at five years old – playing with dolls, jumping rope, playing outdoors. Certainly, sexualised thoughts didn’t even emerge until around puberty. So how could these two boys see it fit to carry out these acts?

The reality is, and we’ve seen it time and time again. Many parents are failing miserably at parenting. This writer will not be drawn into this particular scenario, but it certainly leads to a bigger problem which we have seen emerging over the years.

Children are being exposed to the adult world at an early age. If I’m surrounded by a lifestyle, over time that automatically becomes my primary point of view and reference point. So whereas people don’t see it fit to shield the gaze of their children from certain acts or behaviours which may be inappropriate or illegal, in the long run it will get out of hand.

This writer’s mind always goes back to Kadooment Day. In my opinion, it is no place for children. Children are sponges and soak up everything that they see and hear. When these actions start to manifest itself at home, or at school, parents swear they have no idea where it came from.

Additionally, many people don’t see the mistake in calling little boys, “big man” or “soldier”. We see pre-schoolers scantily clad, going to parties and acting like drunken adults on the dance floor. Let these children be children. Give them a chance to grow up to be solid adults, and then they can make their own decisions about which direction they will take. Hopefully with the right grounding, they will choose the right path.

We often hear people casting blame on the Church for not doing more as it relates to confronting social ills facing the society. This writer will agree that there only really is one denomination that actively goes out into the community to “capture souls” as it were, however for the most part that group is treated with disdain and disrespect. At least they are trying.

However, while many of us today might have fallen off in our church attendance over the years, most of the “older” generation would agree that attending Sunday School kept us in good stead. In addition to the positive messages in the biblical stories, there was a reverence associated with church that was undeniable.

My hope is that the five-year-old victim, who reportedly is still traumatised, can get past this assault. We also hope that the teacher, parents, or the authorities will get through to the two boys so that they can understand what they did and why it was wrong. If we don’t change hearts and minds at an early age, we shudder to think what will happen later in life. In fact, it’s already happening.

Barbados Advocate

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