For almost a year now, I have been an assistant for a guidance councilor. Mostly, I’m just a glorified stooge, I just help her in her office all the while listening to the children (and sometimes even parents) who are sent her way with their respective stories. Problems are a fact of life and no one person is ever really free of them. My boss receives a steady stream of disgruntled, unhappy, emotional and traumatized individuals on a daily basis and I can only wonder how she manages to handle it all with a straight face.
Anyway, one thing I cannot help but notice is that a lot of problems arise from the simple fact that a lot of the youth today have a problem with facing facts. Poverty, crime and general misery seem to be just a byproduct of the apathy and delusional ideas that many youths suffer today. It is this inability to accept the difficulties of life and the dual-nature of things that prevent a lot of our fellows from advancing emotionally, intellectually and morally.
But while this is true, when I brought this up with my boss, she only smiled and said: “That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t think you can see the big picture just yet.”
For a while, I was only baffled by her statement and often mused over what I had just missed. But then, one day, we had to handle a tense situation that involved a rather colorful argument between a parent and a teacher. Apparently, the teacher had broken a student’s iPad because the student wouldn’t listen to the teacher during class hours. When my boss asked the student why he refused to put his iPad away during class hours, his reason was that he was playing a game and that if he put his gadget away at that moment, he would have lost.
The argument went on for a couple of hours and the dispute between the parent and teacher even boiled down to throwing petty insults at one another. Eventually though, my boss brought the conflict to an end and the teacher was eventually required to pay for the repairs of the broken iPad which, thankfully, wasn’t all that expensive.
Later on, while eating lunch with my boss, she goes on to remark just how irresponsible parents are becoming. Neither the student, the teacher or even the gadget are at fault in the issue; it’s the parent that is to blame. She goes on to note that it was, after all, the parent’s duty to look after their child instead of giving them free reign.
I’m not a parent (in fact, that probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon) but my boss is and she’s had a lot to tell me over the times we’ve worked together. She has noted more than once that while technology has certainly improved the way we live, not all of it has made positive changes for people, especially us Filipinos. Now, she doesn’t really blame technology for our troubles but instead points to our lack of discipline in properly utilizing it especially when it comes to children and the youth.
My boss isn’t that savvy when it comes to technology and is well over her middle ages by now. So since she doesn’t know much about websites and such, I’ve taken the liberty to show some of her points regarding the youth peppered with some of my own observations and opinions on the matter. I’m hoping that some parents (and would-be parents) will be willing to look at some of these ideas in the hopes of improving the condition of our youth today.
Children are Not Pets
This has been noted by one of the many commenters here on GRP. A lot of parents today treat their children like pets. They seem to think that as long as their child gets food, drink, schooling and toys, everything will be okay. While yes, I know the demand of daily living can be taxing for a lot of parents but neglecting your children is also a form of child abuse.
Unlike animals, children need the love and comfort provided by a parent not just material things and supplies needed for survival. Being intelligent (or at least self-aware) creatures, it is almost impossible for a child to raise him/her self and needs constant guidance, acceptance, nurture and discipline to become a productive and helpful adult. Even among more intelligent animals like monkeys it has been proven through an experiment that a baby monkey would prefer a parent that provides warmth and comfort over a parent that simply provides food.
Worse yet, many parents treat their children like animals, as pointed out by my boss. These parents are often called “zookeeper parents” because they prevent their children from experiencing the world due to misguided fears. Children that are raised this way are often unimaginative and socially awkward because their parents do not understand that making friends and knowing more about the world plays a part in improving one’s personality.
Parental Guidance Requires Parental Participation
Yes, I hear the MTRCB bawling all the time about shows being “immoral” and attempting to censor everything that doesn’t comply with their standards. The ESRB (a censorship organization for videogames that is responsible for rating which games are for teens, children or adults only, for those not in the know), also make similar arguments for some games. Unfortunately, they’re not really the only ones with a problem here.
More than once, I have seen my housemates watch TV programs with their children that have very questionable elements in them. I already cited in some of my articles just how prevalent teleseryes are and how detrimental they can be to minds that cannot openly comprehend them.
Once, in an isolated incident, I caught my housemate’s 8-year-old son watching Moon of Desire (the show with werewolves [which I found utterly hilarious since there are no wolves in the Philippines], typical romantic rivalries and lots of implied sex) because his mother had not bothered to change the channel. I took the remote and switched channels (skipping over Animax even though the boy wanted to watch there because they were showing Hellsing) until I reached the Disney Channel where the boy seemed satisfied.
Similar problems crop up when it comes to games. I have met a lot of negligent parents who simply buy games for their children without first checking what the said game is about as they seem to think that “all games are for children” even though nothing can be further from the truth. Would you seriously want your ten-year-old to be playing Dead Space or Grand Theft Auto? None of these so-called parents even bother to check the packaging to see if the game is even appropriate for their children.
So please, before you buy a game, kindly check the game’s ESRB rating before you decide to buy one as a present.
The Art of Winning and Losing
My boss also stresses the point that children should be allowed to play with other children. According to her, this is important in developing a good personality as this will teach them on how to socialize with others and, more importantly, learn how to play a real game with real children. I too am a gamer (in case any of you here play Warframe, I was grimwald000), but I’ve also come to understand the fact that you can’t win all the time.
While loss and failure are certainly unpleasant, they are unavoidable and are mostly temporary. Playing with other children can impart your children with the idea that they can’t always win but that they can also improve themselves so that they can win next time. Playing nothing but videogames (which sometimes comes with cheats or can be circumvented by buying privileges from the developers) does not do your child any favors in improving themselves, their social interactions and the acceptance of their own failings. In the Gintama anime, I once heard one of the protagonists say something like: “The greatest players in an MMORPG are probably the biggest losers in real life because they live in a world of illusion instead of facing reality.”
Asides from videogames, I think another reason why I brought this up because I have met so many people who refuse to accept their own failures. Determination is good but delusion is both destructive and stagnating. I often hear many politicians who lose elections utter the words “I was cheated” instead of congratulating their opponents. The same can also be said for contests as I often see a loser’s lack of interest in conceding defeat and praising their opponents as if being an underdog automatically makes you a victim.
Then there are those who take their defeat a little too hard. I’ve encountered many jobless and homeless people whose only justification for not looking for a job or helping themselves is that it’s “useless” because they can’t win anyway. It’s sad to note that this mentality that is often prevalent in the lower classes is one of the factors in preventing them from reaching a higher standard of living. It’s true that life can be harsh, but everyone encounters failures sooner or later and even the greatest of men and women have made blunders on their way to greatness. Just because you fall down doesn’t mean you have to stay down after all.
Rizal believed that the youth were the key to saving and improving our nation…
Let’s not let their potential go to waste…
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