As I write, I am acutely aware of the country’s murder toll as at May 10 being 128 persons. This means that there is roughly one murder per day.
I believe that once we are in charge of a family unit, we are ultimately responsible for how society turns out.
I myself, as a single parent, must deal daily with the unnatural but ever urgent task of being both mother and father.
In passing, I heard the results of some study that highlighted the statistic of 90 per cent of some inmates interviewed for a study at a local prison, had a missing father, an abusive father or a father that was mentally removed and uncaring.
Having this sobering piece of information, I then introduced my boys to their new road march as it were, “We have to be different.”
I for one refuse to accept the status quo that says the product of a single-parent home must turn out to be thieves or murderers. If I accept this I have bought into a failed society and the opposite of this, just takes the basics.
Just look at the way in which we drive. We zip in and out of traffic on the highways and overtake indiscriminately, only to reach to our destination five minutes earlier or to meet the same cars at a traffic light.
We cross our children on the roadways with a blatant disregard for our traffic laws by jay-walking and practise discourtesy by not even thanking those drivers that have given us a chance to cross.
When my son crosses the road, you can swear he knows the driver as he takes pride in giving them a big wave and a wide smile.
Entering the malls or a supermarket has now become a chore that entails him holding the door open for anyone who is passing through.
I often need to rescue him as he would be holding the door open for 15 minutes if not.
What is eye-opening about this situation is that if ten people pass through, less than half say thank you and an even smaller number hardly take the time to look at him. How rude!
Or how about when we are at the cashier in the grocery, he pulls me down to whisper in my ear that since someone behind us has one item, we should let them go in front of us.
The whole point of this is that even without a father, I have made a conscious choice to raise two gentlemen.
“Fatherlessness” is also not a pathway for mediocrity in my household. My son is in standard three and has come first in test every term except two and his little brother is effortlessly following in his footsteps.
So what is my point? When we are raising our children, we murder their characters by allowing them to steal and lie, we murder their chances of career success by accepting low standards of school performance, we murder their socialisation skills by not encouraging team play or even physical activity (I allow my boys to ride their bikes during the week before school work) and we numb their regard for human life by allowing them to view television shows with body counts that exhaust our ten fingers.
On a related issue, I do not have cable TV. I have an Internet connection and Netflix. When they watch a show on the television, I can go on my laptop, iPad or Kindle and view what they are watching and censor them as I see fit.
If all of this seems to be regimented, stuffy, old-fashioned or even “concentration-campish”, I would not have it any other way.
My boys are certainly not perfect, but there is nothing wrong with striving for being civil, decent, well-mannered and with a hunger for success.
The murders must not start in my home. I absolutely refuse it to be this way. According to my boys, “We must be different.” And mark my words, if we all strive for these ideals, in 20 years from now, our society as a result will also be different to the one we see today.
So to all mothers in Trinidad and Tobago, single and otherwise, Happy Mother’s Day! Remember, you are not just mothering little boys and girls, but future men and women of our society.