Whither to?—– Respect & Morality – By Yvonne Sam

Whither to?—– Respect & Morality

By Yvonne Sam

“To educate a man in mind and not n moral is to educate a menace to society”. (Theodore Roosevelt)

Permit me to respond to the impassioned plea for a return of moral values made by Mrs. Paula Hamilton the headmistress of St. Rose’s High School. (Caribbean Life, October 24, 2017).    

Needless to say, not the appeal, but such an appeal forced an unprecedented activation of my lacrimal sacs. In the history of secondary schools in Guyana, St. Rose’s High among a few others were touted as top secondary schools, wherein the attendees (exclusively females)in addition to academic prowess were expected to display superior comportment, compared to others attending less renowned  higher places of learning. Sadly this is not the case at present which has certainly evoked serious concern.

Stephen Carter, Yale Law School Professor, in his book Carter’s Laws for Civility, states that we must express ourselves in ways that demonstrate our respect for others. According to Merriam Webster’s lexicon,respect is defined as, an act of giving particular attention, high or special regard, or the quality or state of being esteemed; a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way”. Not so long ago in the only English speaking country in South America, not only did children respect adults and also their elders, but respect was reciprocated from one individual to another.Such behavior is no longer seen and practiced by the so- called new generation. In its place is a blatant lack of respect not just for authority figures and elders but all the way around.

Permit me to elucidate that the respect to which I am referring may be interpreted in divers ways, not just bottled into speech but actions, common decency and attire.

In days gone by, responses to adults were plain and simple, “No madam, Yes ma’am, or No sir, Yes sir”. Today these types of responses are tantamount to some form of a foreign language.Unless you had bidden abrupt leave of your senses, parents would never under God’s green acre allow a response to elders be thus: Uh!, Huh!, O K,Wha-at, Eh! or any of the responses that spew from the mouth of young peopleto adults.It is utterly imperative that parents fully understand that teaching their children simple values, such as respectare very necessary, taking into serious consideration the era in which we live.

Granted, it is utterly impossible for a parent to be with his/ her child round the clock, twenty four on seven, nevertheless the training, values, morals, ethics and teachings taught and practiced in the home should in some way, shape, form or fashion display itself whether a parent is present or not.Nowadays, the prevailing attitude is one of “every man for himself” and hopefully God for us all.  On the other hand, while the spotlight is on the child/children, the inherent irony is that some of these parents, although considered as adults with children attending a top rate secondary school, yet they are equally guilty of the same behavior as their offspring(s).

Plainly put, they are poor role models.  Children learn what they see.  There are still some parents with the held belief that the schools are responsible for the moral education of their child, without actually realizing that the values come from the home and everything comes from family.

Now the clarion is being sounded for a speedy return to instilling thebasic values in our children, as gone are the days when children were taught the basic fundamentals of respect and morality from the community and the leaders within the community. The traditional African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”,  is no longer applicable, as the village has been pillaged.

Further compounding the issue is the contamination of minds with commercialized versions of reality.The fashion, speech patterns and actions demonstrated on television should not be an example to our children. Facebook is controlled stalking andnetwork gossiping, of which time spent could be better utilized especially from an academic stance.

This situation must be taken seriously for if the children are our future then a gloomy future looms on the horizon.

So together let us stand with the resolve to take the matter in hand and save our land

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