Friday, 2 May 2014

The Village Must Raise The Child

It is a human tendency to take many things in life for granted. Recently I was required to source

some personal data from a group of young adults. At first I thought how simply and routine such an

exercise would be. However, I was in for a bit of shock.

I asked a particular youngster for her full name which she told me. However, for this specific purpose one’s middle name was optional. Yes, she knew her middle name; nevertheless she was unable to spell her middle name. I was amazed and a bit embarrassed for her. I have always taken for granted that by age 16 all children would know how to spell their names. The best this youngster could do was to tell me her middle name. Her middle name consists of seven letters. It is quite logical to think this young adult would have never seen her middle name in print. How is this possible I ask myself?
One’s name and address are among the first things a child should learn at home. There is clearly a

break down somewhere. Occasionally, one hears of students wandering on the road

and when asked where they live they are clueless. When asked to give the name of their parents,

they are only able to give their parents alias names. “Pam Pam”.  This is certainly not good

parenting! It is necessary that parents and guardians spend more time with their children, especially

during the formative years to ensure that at least every child can at least give basic information

about themselves and their parents. This incident speaks to a wider issue outside of the classroom

setting. It speaks to the breakdown of family life in the society. As parents and guardians what are

you doing to teach your child this basic information? The home should be the first place of teaching

and learning.


Some may argue it is a case of neglect on the part of the parent and or guardian. However, there

comes a time when the child must take some responsibility for the direction of his/her life. There

are too many youngsters in the society clueless and void of direction. In the same manner in which

we berate those parents and guardians who have been found wanting in terms of their

responsibilities. We must also put some pressure on our young adults to become more socially

responsible and responsive. As we make preparations to commemorate Child’s Month 2014 let us

redouble and recommit our efforts in making the circumstances of each child better. It takes a

village to raise a child. It also takes all of us as Jamaicans to move the country forward.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com