Home Opinion and Features All part of growing up

All part of growing up


Imagine when we let them out into the big, bad world. How are they going to react?

File image

READING about the initiation which took place at Kimberley Boys’ High School (KHS) recently took me back to the days when I was in Standard 6, now Grade 8. That alone should tell you how long ago it was.

What happened at the KHS camp was appalling to say the very least. Forcing boys to kiss boys? Seriously dudes, what were you thinking? Did you think there were hidden cameras filming a 2019 version of Katy Perry’s “I kissed a ‘boy’ and I liked it?”

And if the Grade 8s didn’t want to participate then the crap was beaten out of them. I doubt if the matrics would remember – hell I wasn’t even born yet – when Carl Douglas released Kung Fu Fighting. In the song Douglas says: “Everybody was kung-fu fighting, Those kicks were fast as lightning, In fact it was a little bit frightening, But they did it with expert timing.”

Maybe it wasn’t quite kicks the boys were meting out at the camp, but you get the general idea. Maybe the hidden cameras were there for that? Whatever it was, where do the kids come on it?

Going back to my Standard 6 year, I remember we were all assigned a matric to whom we had to be a skivvy. Whatever they wanted they got. You just had to hope and pray you were outside their class before they exited when the bell sounded at the end of the period so you could carry their suitcases to their next class. If you weren’t quick enough you had to do some embarrassing thing like changing your shoes around or belting out a song in front of everybody.

Now, if you don’t have a singing voice – something which I don’t have – it was pretty darn humiliating. What must also be remembered is that when I was in Standard 6 corporal punishment was still in full force and if you were bullied you gave back just as hard as you got.

The only time teachers or parents would become involved was when you practically lost a limb or an eye. But, if you were caught fighting – I’m talking hammer and tongs here – you felt the wrath of the principal or teacher’s cane.

These days it is not so simple. Kids are wrapped in cotton wool. Nowadays bullying construes even a snide remark. You can’t even say to your friend, “Your pony is skew.” She might turn around and scream “bullying”. And then wham, bam, thank you mam you’re suspended.

Now, don’t misunderstand me and think I’m saying bullying is OK. It isn’t. I mean you just have to go and Google and see how many kids have committed suicide as a result of bullying. There are some really scary stats out there.

All I’m saying is kids need to toughen up. Parents and teachers for that matter should stop mollycoddling them.

Imagine when we let them out into the big, bad world. How are they going to react? Will they also expect their work colleagues to be suspended if one of them says your pony is skew? Or will they speed dial the equality court or human rights commission?

All I’m saying is that initiations should still take place, but in a controlled environment like we had, instead of parents spending hundreds of rand to send them to some place out of town.

This is all part of growing up and it’s time we let our kids do just that.