Some things are beyond our control. Other things we choose to ignore, often for selfish reasons. We ask ourselves: Whose responsibility is it to steer our youth in the right direction? How do we determine the right direction? And what might be the consequence should we try to set them right?
Anyone with an iota of will power will persevere until his goals are achieved. Likewise, teenagers. They will grab at any opportunity that allows them the freedom to exhale. The shackles that restricted their ability to express their own ideas and feelings, shackles disguised as rules and regulations, are easily unlocked once they’ve discovered the correct access code.
Social media and nightclubs are the windows to the souls of our dear youth of today, the presumed future of our society. Take a minute now and join me in the role of Peeping Tom:
Male Teen A: Watsup dawg?! Wah we doing lata?
Male Teen B: Rolling up north. We checkin’ de girls on da strip.
Male Teen A: Cool. Tings go be hot!
Male Teen B: Yeh, man, irie. Lata.
At a different location:
Female A: Hey, girl, you ask your mother to go cinema already?
Female B: Yes, I coming. We meetin’ by the bus stand? The rest of the crew meeting us deh and we liming in the club after.
Female A: Girl we eh even 16 yet. We cah enter the club uh. The fellas meeting us?
Female B: A-a yes. Dat’s a mus! Doh worry, tonight free-up session at da club! Turn up girl!
Female A: Ok. Lemme go back inside da church. Bible study almost finish. Lata.
So now, it’s Sunday, 2 June 2013. One o’clock in the morning. My friends and I are sitting near a nightclub, reminiscing, laughing till our jaw muscles ache! The past week on the j-o-b merits this release. We’re enjoying succulent fish-burgers, sipping on vodka and orange juice. The music from inside the club reverberates, and eventually we yield to the beat of one of Tommy Lee’s hits. The law stipulates that we have only a half hour left for dancing at the club so we hope to make the most of it. Who knew what awaited us? It was enough to make us sick to our stomachs: on the dance floor, were three dancers: one male, sandwiched between two gyrating females, totally unperturbed by their surroundings. In one hand he held his drink, in the other his cigarette—or what looked like a cigarette.
Leaning against a wall, another couple. Well, the male seemed to be pumping slow-motion against the wall while his female partner leaned over backwards, her hair giving the floor a vigorous mopping . . . In another corner, lying on the stairs, two others were linked by their lips, as if desperately performing CPR on each other.
What a sight! Entertaining for some patrons, unobserved by others in their own worlds while my friends and I looked on broken-hearted. We couldn’t help imagining these teenagers as our own offspring, our nieces or nephews (who we prayed were at home where we left them!) Compounding the blow was the reality that these kids on the dance floor were our students!
They were taught by us; by the example we set them; by the things we continue to tolerate from our leaders. The search continues for miracle cures, when the root of the problem is ourselves. After all, who let them out with no measures in place to ensure adherence to a curfew? Upon their return home, who lets them in at 3 am? Can these teenagers be expected to control their enraged hormones? Who must shoulder the blame when the females cry “rape?” Is there not an age limit for entry into the night clubs? Where was the police presence to enforce this law? Why was alcohol sold to these children? How can they focus on Math and English when their minds are clogged with far more “exciting” activities? To which tier do these students belong? The haves or the have-nots?
Our teenaged youth, for the most part, are persistent, intelligent, talented, creative, expressive. They have voices; they feel; they hurt; they persevere; they endure.
It is therefore iniquitous and futile to gossip about their insecurities and failures. It is even worse to play the blame game! Entrapment in this web of fantasy is deadly! But what preventative measures are being implemented? And then we wail at their funerals, we ostracize the abortionists, the teen rapists disgust us; we crucify the authority figure that dares lend a hand when schoolboys patronize establishments inappropriate for their age!
Oh, but wait! Was the nightclub age-appropriate?