Letters & Opinion

Let Us Not Rely on Time to Teach Our Youth

Image of Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

Not everybody in life sets out to be a teacher, or an advisor, but often experience gives the right to caution and advise others. A major problem today is that few people listen or admit to themselves that the advice given can be enriching, even helping them to see things from another perspective.

One does not always expect that the present should be like the past, but there are always lessons to be learnt from past experiences. Likewise, the purpose of giving advice is to help people avoid having to learn the hard way.

In the olden days there were certain demands that our parents made of us, as children growing up. Although some seemed harsh at the time, there were always positive intentions. For example, many of us had to go to church every Saturday or Sunday, wash the dishes, tidy up the yard as well as your room, say grace before meals and never forget to wash our hands before eating.

All too often we heard the phrase “early to bed early to rise”, or were told to “go and play outside so you can get some exercise”. We were cautioned against lying, stealing, cursing and being disrespectful to others.

Of course it was also only “by the sweat of thy brow you shall eat bread”, and if we wanted to have a hat to use for later, we should refrain from hanging it higher than we could reach.

There was no short supply of advice or lessons for life, and even though we sometimes grumbled, in time we grew to understand the reasons for those parental commands.

Today, unfortunately, many of those commands and directives are not adhered to. Rarely do you find people young or old who are humble enough to take good advice. The end result: unruliness and bad behaviour, even in people who are supposed to be “grown”.

Scolding although sometimes too severe was necessary, as being deprived of certain privileges as punishment for not doing as we were supposed to as children, helped to develop the sort of good manners and respect we were always told we’d need to get anywhere in life.

Sadly young people of today do not listen, and many parents do not bother enforcing standards and values in the home. It is like many are satisfied with letting life just take its course, letting time be the only teacher, and this contributes to the sort of social decay that we see today. We can only hope time will not only teach us what proper guidance should look like, but that it will also heal all of our wounds.

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