Home Opinion and Features Fixing family unit is the first step to salvation

Fixing family unit is the first step to salvation

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Parents were slowly pressured into providing these expensive rewards for promised good behaviour and performance

Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

That our country is in free fall towards total chaos is no longer in doubt. The blame game is no longer a part of the narrative. The basic mutual respect that we should have for each other as newly emancipated citizens has disappeared.

Healthy adult-children relations were destroyed when our struggle for freedom was taken into the streets by the children in the 1960s. Faith-based relevance disappeared when religions were politicised.

Institutional intervention by educators was eroded by suggestions of betrayal, which in turn led to defiance towards the older generations. Remember that the struggle for deliverance started as a defiance campaign.

What can be done to remedy the situation? Start with the family unit. There are as many binding agencies for a healthy nuclear family as there are for fragmentation. Eating together died with the advent of TV. Technology replaced books with battery-operated gizmos.

Parents were slowly pressured into providing these expensive rewards for promised good behaviour and performance.

Oaths of allegiance, sensitisation towards the difficulties that accompany the teacher in her classroom, plus a renewed respect for their efforts would be good places to start. For example, if you can read this text, thank a teacher.

Moving outside the home, we could achieve social cohesion at all levels by formulating codes for survival. We understand that the Constitution sought to protect children from unjustified violence when corporal punishment was still allowed. The government protects the child from a hiding from a parent, but who prepares the child for the hidings that life will inflict if guidance is ignored or rejected? Indeed, who will replace the teachers that are now being killed off in as many ways as one can imagine.

Faith-based agencies should also become more active, proactive and involved. Sermons and preaching, reading and teaching should change from reaction to action.

There should be an ethic of accountability, a tribal rule that protects value of educators, caregivers, service providers.

I am not saying that the ANC should set the example. They are still learning the ropes of governance and the basics of democracy. The very tolerance and protection of some rights have already shown dire consequences. The SRC elections countrywide show a distancing from the ANC. The Western Cape has a pathetic record in school governance. They should recall expertise and not victimise or sideline experience and wisdom.

Disagreement on curricular content, discipline, behaviour codes and dress codes should be revisited, using the whole community. Top-down is belly-up.

We need to speak up, talk to each other and tell ourselves that the solution does not lie in politics, but in accountability.

The children are underlining weaknesses existing in the delivery of education – and there is a case to be made – but neither murder, injury, disrespect nor chaos is the answer. Dialogue is.

There should be an ethic of accountability, a tribal rule that protects value of educators, caregivers