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Girl code: Save our children from banana back

Readers Lounge By Beryl Wanga Itindi
‘Back to school’ got me thinking of how tough education has become especially for the young ones (Photo: Shutterstock)

‘Back to school’ got me thinking of how tough education has become in recent years, especially for the young ones just joining primary school. I see how early some of these children rise and the weight of their school bags.

Back in the day when some of us joined primary school, the latest we would leave class was 12.45pm. I actually cannot forget that time as I had crammed it. When the bell rang, it was all song and dance as we walked back home from school to either have lunch or sleep.

The weight of the bags our children carry to school these days cannot allow them to even walk upright, leave alone dancing while at it. You see the bags literally making them bend over backwards. They end up looking like bananas in an upright position -- the curved end being their bellies. Just what are these young one learning that we didn’t?

We had fun walking to school but with the current generation of children, if they are not wailing, they are sobbing or dead asleep in the school buses as they head to school. By the time they get there, I am sure their mood is right at the edge of a cliff. All they need is slight provocation to hit the roof with one tantrum after another -- or else withdraw to a lonely and scary world.

Then come we, the parents. Some of us are a hard nut to crack! We are in that generation where no one touches our children without our permission. By touching, I mean even a small pinch in the way of discipline when our children go to the extremes breaking school rules at will.

Perhaps it’s because of the number of cases when some teachers have gone over and beyond when disciplining a child. Now we are left with no option but to carry along paranoia when dealing with these teachers. We will even call the school to enquire how many times our children visited the washrooms and the names of the children they played with during the day.

There's a disconnect between parents and teachers when it comes to bringing up children (Photo: Shutterstock)

During my time, my parents did not even know my friends’ names, leave alone the direction of our washrooms in school. Maybe it’s because the world was much safer then unlike the current world where everyone looks like a suspect, including the people we entrust our children with.

I’ve been thinking for a while and, honestly speaking, I wouldn’t wish to be a child in this era. I can’t seem to place a finger on it but I am pretty sure there’s something amiss about how we are bringing up these children. There’s a disconnect somewhere that has blinded us all. We give our children our all and take the ‘all’ from them unknowingly.

Last week, I heard a statement that broke my heart. There was a parent who had posted online about how disappointed she was because her child had developed a habit of stealing. She was blaming the teachers for not guiding her child the right way.

In response, several teachers came out guns blazing, “Our work is to teach what’s in the syllabus and go home. The rest we leave to you.”

This statement may or may not reflect the reality but such statements are proof that there’s a disconnect in all the adults bringing up these children together.

Could it be that we parents have pushed some teachers to the edge such that they can never go the extra mile or are we just too busy chasing our dreams? I will not even talk about the rising number of children who have resorted to withdrawing themselves to a dark and lonely world.

Children are generally supposed to be curious, excited and outgoing; not tired, quiet and withdrawn after walking like bananas the whole day in school. There’s just something wrong somewhere in how we are bringing up our children and if we don’t nip it in the bud, we will have ourselves to blame.

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