The threat to our future as a nation

The threat facing our future as a nation is not a nuclear reactor disaster or a Tsunami or some natural disaster. What is an imminent threat to our dear nation is the indiscipline of our young people who are the future leaders of our country.  

The whole nation has been shocked by videos on social media by students in final year of senior high school who are writing their WASSCE and the unacceptable behaviour they demonstrated.  

Teenagers having the guts to insult not just an elderly person, but a whole President of the nation, and having the guts to record and post it on social media, is just mind boggling.  It gives the impression that there is a deep-seated underlying issue that has to be addressed in order to resolve this lack of respect for adults in our society.

Since the issue broke out, there has been a lot of talk about what is happening to our youth that has led to the deviant behaviour of these youth.  The rationale behind it is that these are the people who in the near future would become adults and not just adults but people who would hold leadership and sensitive positions in this country.  

If such people have questionable ethics and moral integrity, only God knows what will happen to our country.

The issue of human rights and the way some people in this country adopt certain ideas has to be critically examined. There is a perception that this phenomenon of human rights in all sectors of our secular and social lives is a contributing factor to the indiscipline being displayed by the current generation.  

Those of us who attended school in the 70s and the 80s can testify that the happenings among young people in the primary and secondary schools now, was not happening in those days.  It is unthinkable how a student in those days could muster the courage to openly insult an elderly person, let alone the President of the nation.  

The agenda of certain non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is a contributory factor to this problem of lack of proper or acceptable behaviour among our youth. They have been harassing and lobbying government officials as well as Ghana Education Service (GES) officials and teacher organisations to grant certain rights to the school children.  

This has resulted in prohibition of caning as a means of correction in schools, contrary to something that even the Bible advocates as a means of correcting the errant child.  There is no scientific proof that caning a child as a means of correction or as a punishment for wrong behaviour, will affect him psychologically.  

Somehow, they have managed to create this perception and people have bought into it, so all of us have accepted their assertions and have decided not to correct children the way they should.  We should, therefore, not be surprised at the way things are going with our youth.

The proliferation of foreign movies is also one of the major causes of the indiscipline attitude of the youth.  The culture of the young people in the movies is so alien to ours and it gives our youth the wrong impression that they are being restricted in the way they wish to express themselves.  

This begins to cause them to gradually develop a kind of rebellious attitude which ultimately results in the display of wrong behaviour towards the elderly.  What they fail to realise is that, the parents of the youth they watch in those movies are frustrated in how to effectively deal with their wards.  

The parents in the foreign countries have become frustrated because they are restricted by law on how to effectively guide their children by exercising the right parental control.  They cherish some of the methods we in Africa employ in our parenting approach, but unfortunately some people here have copied wrongly and believe that we should give children unfettered freedom.  

Peer pressure is another cause of the indiscipline in our schools and this is where we need the cooperation of the teachers and school authorities in general to be up and doing.  Peer pressure is a very powerful influence which, if not properly addressed, would cause some students to go wayward.  

It is not so serious at the lower levels that is, at the primary and junior high schools.  It is more prominent at the senior high school level where the students are in their teens and are psychologically most vulnerable to such influences.

Technological advances have brought in its wake another problem in the form of social media platforms.  The internet has provided an avenue for children or young people to be exposed to all manner of negative influences.

The conversation on those media has the potential to influence young people who see them as the new way to speak your mind to the elderly people who they view as always trying to restrict them from speaking their mind.  

People use insulting language on these social media platforms almost all the time, especially against political leaders.  No wonder the recent incident involving some SHS final year students who put up despicable behaviour of insulting the president.

There must be a review of the disciplinary regime in place in our schools where caning should be reinstated as a means of correction.  

The regulations must include a legal action against parents who invade schools to attack teachers who cane their children as part of the normal disciplinary measures when students break school regulations.  

These attacks on teachers have negatively impacted on the implementation of discipline in many schools in the country.  The teachers as a result of these attacks develop an attitude of nonchalance and, therefore, gloss over the negative attitudes of the students in the various schools.  

The wrong antisocial behaviours of the students go on unchecked and these habits degenerate into bad characters and the resultant effect is the display of insulting behaviour.

This get-quick-results mentality that has become imprinted in our mentality as a nation also has something to do with this dishonourable behaviour among our youth.  Some of the messages being preached from the pulpit also have something to do with the decadent conduct of our youth. 

You hear of preachings that promote the sale of pens which ostensibly have miraculous powers to let students pass their exams.  Handkerchiefs and other paraphernalia which when applied can assist one to pass his or her exams are being sold by so called prophets. 

Instead of teaching people the value of hard work and that to pass an exam, serious studying is what is required, these one-man-church prophets propagate these false teachings. 

The youth have, therefore, been sold a lie and have been conscientised into thinking that there are short cuts to success.  When they find out the hard way that there are no short cuts to success, then they become frustrated and vent their spleen on the leaders in society.  

The quicker laws are enacted to deal with such so called men of God, the better it would be for all of us, especially the youth. 

Laud Kissi-Mensah

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