Where are the Elders? Our young people need them – By Yvonne Sam

Where are the Elders? Our young people need them
– By Yvonne Sam

I have always been one who strives to speak the truth as it is and not refer to a spade as a garden tool rather than by its correct nomenclature a spade.

I know for a fact that the statements that follow may be a hard pill to swallow but then again pill taking is always a start to situational or conditional remediation. Looking at the recent spate of heinous crimes being committed by young people in Guyana I cannot help but join in the journey towards an answer. Our young people are in desperate need of leadership and for the elders to display guidance in order to navigate through life as it exists in present day Guyana.     

Yes,  many of today’s youth do not respect their elders and truthfully I cannot say that I totally blame them as many elders themselves have not  displayed behaviours that would evoke respect, other than the fact that they are elders. Now read my writing and not my lips – an elder does not mean the same as a senior citizen. One does not have to be a senior citizen to be an elder in the community, but typically a person who has more years behind them than they have ahead of them should be deemed a supreme elder, but there are also younger folks who have experienced things in life and can lend to this discussion and call to action.

While we cannot blame everything that happens on one group of individuals , in similar manner we must also take some responsibility for what we have allowed to happen in our communities especially perpetrated by our young people. There are several external forces that significantly contribute to and exacerbate these issues, while the external resources that are available are in actuality ineffective in mitigating the problem. It is almost like a Catch 22 situation.

Another factor is that many of today’s elders are totally unlike their predecessors who did not sit by idly and use some sort of back dam or back- a- yard type of reasoning to remain silent about the issues that plagued their communities.

As we speak there are many in Guyana who see the drugs being sold in their communities, along with knowing who the sellers are, yet instead of dealing with it in house, the other cheek is turned and things uttered like: ” that ain’t my problem, “let the police do their job” .

Many are also witnesses to  the crimes in their communities, that have taken lives and are disrupting  families on a daily basis, and again instead of dealing with it in house, the same response as earlier is uttered.

Although we may not like to hear the narrative, nevertheless the truth of the matter still remains that Guyanese are killing Guyanese, committing  crimes against one another and it is a  real issue that is negatively impact g communities.. Everyday the local newspaper or media is replete with news about a senseless killing over a senseless matter;  an unsolved murder , armed robberies, home invasions.

Elders must step up and play the role in dealing with this issue because it appears that the elders are of the  opinion that they are no longer needed to educate, equip and empower the young people to prepare them for the current realities of Guyana, and how the country views them.

Pray say, what has happened to the people who looked out for each other, who knew everyone in and everything about the neighbourhood. They were the absolute master and mistress of looking out their window day and night and somehow or other being able to miraculously report to the patents/guardians everything that was going on. They literally put the fear of God in all who  knew them. Let me make it clear. Everyone who was up to no good knew that so and so who lived in such and such a house would snitch on them the moment they saw something unusual. You never saw the curtains pull so you never know when he or she had an eye full.

We are no stranger growing up in Guyana to a neighbour or resident on  our street, and although at the time we may not have liked him or her then, can now come to appreciate what they were doing for our neighborhood and community. The action that he/ she took were (although we did not think or feel so at the time) being done because they wanted to protect us and protect the community they lived in, invested in and cherished.

Whether there are those who may think otherwise or find an inability to accept it, but the neighbourhood snitch saved many if us from making bad decisions and horrible mistakes that could have harmed others and brought shame to parents and communities alike.

Collectively we have been far too quick to blame the government, the media or anyone that looks like we can blame, instead of looking in the mirror at ourselves. We need to stop lying to ourselves about where we are as a people and face it head on. We need to stop pacifying each other and tell the truth about things so that we can acknowledge those things.

We will need to overlook the wrongs that have been done to us or what has been taken from us, so that we do not allow our young people to grow up with a survival of the fittest mentality as opposed to one where we can work together to solve and address many  of the existing problems in Guyana.

Simply put this is a plea for the elders to bridge the gap.

Doing nothing will cause us to remain stagnant or at worse it will cause us to experience even more crime, disengagement and bloodshed. Nevertheless I am still sending an impassioned plea to the elders-‘

You have seen the acts and have been given the facts–  Let this truth ring through – The youths need you.

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  • Tata  On 04/22/2018 at 1:36 pm

    Yvonne! You’ve said what MOST Guyanese think but afraid to say. Sadly, the world is a different place today than what most of us knew and experience in our early childhood. However, we as a people must be willing to accommodate changing times without compromising our personal values.

    Truthfully, we baby boomer shared some of the same experiences of today’s generation because our parents were themselves not perfect beings but the only difference is, we grew up in a different time, where our teachers were our role models. We Had aspirations and goals in life. We weren’t influenced by TV. But sadly today, the influence and impact of TV/social media have certainly and negatively played a major role in the behavior of what we see in Guyana today. However, this behavior is not limited only to “the young people” but has also impacted their mothers, Grand mothers and even their great-Grandmother’s alike.

    Today, the greed for material things has created an entirely new generation of SKUNKS in societies, whom we read negatively in the news today. Sadly, It is not uncommon to read about mothers, Grand mothers and even great grandmothers (because today they come very young) being detained at our airports with huge amounts of drug in their possession. Yes! This is the SKUNK generation our young people have as their role models today.

    Then again, with such break down in lawlessness and greed in Guyana, this society has transcended into a permanent underclass that has impacted a generation near and afar. Sadly, this impact is centered mostly in the lower income communities. Today, we see children on the streets o Guyana with no discipline or paternal commitment and support. Notwithstanding the fact, that this is an old construct, from our colonial past that continues to plague Guyana’s society.

    However, if change must come, we as a people must speak to truth and stop this malady” in society or else history keeps repeating itself. Children need structure and good governance.

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