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Healing through caring

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'We have scholar patrols. What about moral patrols? The education department mustn't only be visible after the ambulance has been. They should restructure the system.

A screenshot of a school fight at a KZN school.

I RECEIVED a WhatsApp clip showing two young girls in school uniforms going at each other in what could be called a street fight. The sender, an ex-educator, added the despairing caption, “God help us all”.

I think we need to consider not sending visuals like this because they go viral. They feed a vicarious tendency for violence and extreme behaviour that has become our preferred fare on the social media.

Then we ask: where are the teachers?

Not as blame-shifting, but as addressing the hiatus that is clearly evident. Dismissing a class is not an act of relief and good riddance. The teachers should accompany the learners from the last classroom to the gate. They should reinforce the ethic of respect for the uniform, themselves and society.

Parents should pick up the slack between school and home.

My grandson arrived 10 minutes after his “usual” homecoming time. I climbed into him straight away, making him aware of the gaping hole he would leave if I didn’t know where he was at a given time.

If a child goes missing, where does one start looking? In subways? Shops? Canals? Drains? Shallow graves?

There are also chasms of silence at home. If there is an instruction for the child to go to church on a Sunday, that is good. But there are silences. There is no bridge between the church and the home. A hiatus of grim dimensions and dire implications exists. The hiatus is now a chasm.

But let us not paint grim pictures. The young are as stressed as we are. And a good scrap in front of your peers is as predictable as it is undesirable. The hiatus should be negated by bridge-building.

The onlookers should be drilled in strategies of peace-making.

Reward systems should be in place for rapid dispersal after dismissal. Or there should be activity changes where the emptying school building becomes a haven of some sort for those who do not have space at home for study, homework, recreation, creativity.

We have scholar patrols. What about moral patrols?

The Education Department mustn’t only be visible after the ambulance has been.

They should restructure the system and reconfigure job descriptions and salaries.

Teachers, parents, mentors and guardians have a role to play, individually and collectively. It’s not just about instruction; it’s about involvement, guidance and collective thinking.

The newspapers are awash with dark deeds that threaten to flood our existence in excrement.

Now is the time for moral re-armament as a collective social, societal, faith-based, political, educational, motivational (you add the other categories) undertaking.

Create a conscience-based collective. Form a think tank. Channel that energy from a cat fight to gestures of love and companionship and caring.

We desperately need the healing of caring.