21 Apr 2008

Bad parenting, or fighting the odds?

There are good parents, and then there are not-so-good parents. How do we know? Obviously, to look at the way the children turn out, which is directly related to the lessons taught from infancy to teenage years basically.

What brought this thought to my mind this morning was an article in the Express, indeed the lead story.

fifth time unlucky

...Teenager drowns after surviving many mishaps

The story describes one 15 years old Brent Straker who was knocked down twice, burnt while 'bursting bamboo', falling off stilts in a moko jumbie race and surviving YTC.

All I could think was that this child had very bad parenting, or that he was one of those 'harden' ones who just couldn't take larning as the older folks use to say.

I mean, knocked down twice? Doesn't that clue you in that he wasn't observing road rules, especially since on one of those occasions he was playing in the road? Bursting bamboo? Hell, my uncle and a neighbour's son both lost eyebrows doing that, not to mention burnt facial skin and having scars. We learnt not to do it.

So where were the parents in all this? Typically, for a child from Afro-Trini background, the father is not mentioned in the story. I can't say whether he was part of the child's life or not, but again, something you rarely saw in Indo-Trini families - absentee fathers.

So do I look at the mother as a bad parent? Or the child as a harden son? Or a combination? Or a series of unfortunate events?

A mother raising several children alone, maybe without a father figure to look up to, possibly absent most of the time herself trying to eke out a living in an already hard land - no Manning freebies here like basketball league handouts, you see. I can see here another child slipping through the system, and paying the ultimate price.

But it's okay, one less harden child right? I mean, Manning, Tattoo et all don't know him, and come tonight, when their heads hit the pillow in whatever mansion they sleep in, the thought won't even cross their minds to say a prayer for him and all the others who suffer daily.

If I sound bitter, it is because as a parent myself, I am aware of the awesome potential of children, and to see the state and parents slip up time and time again is sickening.

Good parenting may be necessary to realise the potential of the youths, but sometimes I feel the state can offer a bit more support to those who struggle to keep up.

I'd be whistling 'God Save The Queen' out of my arse before that happens though. Lemme go find the lyrics...