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[Opinion] A cry for help; A case of the seven Ejisuman SHS students

Once, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle mentioned that if we say the children of this age are spoilt then the adults of this age are rotten: after all, the saying also goes that “the apple does not fall far from the tree.”

What seems to be a joyous moment, recorded by some secondary school students which was trending some few days ago, in my opinion is actually a cry for help. We have left them to be formed by slay queens and sugar daddies.

The media proposes to them as models these slay queens who themselves are also screaming for help. And yet when it all goes wrong the media picks on these young ladies for their mistakes as if they did not propose to them the choices that they made by the content of their programs. They are looking for role models and guides in life and when they do not find them, they try to do the best they can.

If we taught growing up as a young person was tough in our time: try this age….it is crazy. They are bombarded with so much information sometimes they can’t tell what is right and wrong. The wrong is clothed in “right” and “what is right” has become so unattractive.

No one speaks about the troubles of young people. We assume they are fine: and how do we know this? Their Facebook pictures look good and they dress well but underneath all that is are screaming souls seeking help and hoping to be listened to. We have left social media to teach them how to handle their sexuality.

Everyone assumes they know how to handle the powerful sexual drive that a young person feels at puberty. Funny enough many of us did not handle ours well but we assume our children would. We have not created avenues for them to speak honestly to us about their relationships: how some of their boyfriends handle them and make them do unspeakable things.

In a conversation with a friend about a related topic, it became clear that we lack adults who would not only give rules and ask the youth to obey but adults who would share their experiences with the youth and by so doing help form them.

So we ask: Who can the youth talk to when they are confused about their lives, their sexuality, and their aspirations?

Who offers an open ear that is devoid of judgement knowing that we all at one point took a bad turn? Who would walk with them in the right direction and not just show them the right direction?

Anyone who has been to a boarding school before would not be surprised at the content of the videos unless we all want to play the ostrich. In the process of growth, mistakes would be made but the problem is that the society and the adult world are not prepared enough to help deal with such mistakes.

It is time to talk about the real issues: are the counseling units in our schools strong enough or are they just there in name? Have we underestimated the roles of chaplaincies and the impact they can make in schools?

Have we chosen to be silent in sharing experiences of our bad choices with the young so that they also do not take the same path, or at least when they have gone down that path they can recognize that since we have been there before, perhaps we may better be placed to offer them advice of “what next”?

Children are like arrows in the hand of a warrior (cf. Psalm 127:4). They are the blessings of parents and the wealth of a nation. So what happens when they are corrupted? The stern warning of a loving Jesus on those who seem to scandalise the young indicates how important Jesus considered the transmission of values to younger ones (cf. Luke 17:1-2).

Well, until we are ready to mentor the youth, be a friend to them, walk with them in the right direction, share our experiences with them, we should not blame them if they try to find their own path because no help was offered.


Source: Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Salifu

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