‘In 2022, the boys in T&T and across the globe live in a turbulent social environment that make them vulnerable to a multitude of negative forces’
THE International Men’s Day movement has generated certain spin-offs that have ensured an ongoing rebuilding of the holistic individuals.
These include International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Men and Boys (observed on January 31) and World Day of the Boy Child on 16 May. These are efforts to rewrite intolerable scripts in which our boys and men are not valued and are victims. Unfortunately, these days are not yet on the annual calendar of United Nations events.
World Day of the Boy Child observances connect the boys to conversations that are occurring in mental and physical conditions. No longer must we view feelings of depression and suicide as adult problems. Boys are also prone to these dark moods. Furthermore, boys are also susceptible to diabetes, cancer, and hypertension. These cannot be classified as “adult diseases”.
There are also ungrateful boys who do not appreciate the work and sacrifices of their parents, guardians and teachers. These are the boys we need to create an environment of trust to nurture this respect and understanding.
In our society some of us aspire to be first, to excel academically, break records and win awards. However, we have to remind our boys that not everyone can be a winner. Somebody will be second, third… and last. If we keep on pressuring our boys they will be more susceptible to nervous breakdowns and feelings of interiority. Of course, we cannot encourage a culture of mediocrity or let boys believe that being the best is not important. During the past years, the observances of WDBC have been attracting considerable attention. The 10 core principles of WDBC have resonated across the globe:
- Educating and mentoring
- Honouring boys who are talented and achievers
- Rescuing boys from poverty and war
- Eradicating illiteracy and underachievement
- Addressing discrimination against boys
- Promoting positive minds and healthy boys
- Offering freedom and safety
- Championing equality and equity
- Maintaining good values and morals
- Empowering boys
Imagine this scenario- boys in a classroom are behaving crass, rude, disrespectful and making crude comments. Some of us would view this as normal and it is something we expected. No longer must we accept boys as underachievers or disruptive in classroom.
Something is wrong in our society if we see it as normal and are unable to correct this situation. If boys were intelligent, eager to assist, cultured, respectful and quiet in the classroom- should this be a new normal? Some observances have tended to focus on the adult male and inadvertently overlook the boys. Some of the problems faced by men are due to earlier situations which were ignored. For instance, a boy who is bullied has a higher chance of maturing into a man who might become introverted or suicidal. A boy who is physically abused will later see physical abuse as a medium to demand respect or as an acceptable form of punishment.
Our society has not given sufficient attention to the plight of boys. Who can provide accurate statistics for the boys and men who are unwilling participants of human trafficking? Or the many child soldiers who are denied basic human rights and have lost their lives in senseless wars? It seems as if we are addicted to violence. Inflicting pain, being violent and creating hurt has become the new normal. This way of life has become entrenched in our societies. We have become desensitized and grown accustomed to violence. Some of us tolerate abuse and it is level of abuse that is tolerated will reflect the dysfunctional level of its society
In 2022, the boys in T&T and across the globe live in a turbulent social environment that make them vulnerable to a multitude of negative forces.
The minds of our children are damaged as they are constantly embarrassed, humiliated and condemned. Those children who are victims of violence and abuse are emotionally challenged.
Furthermore, these young souls who are abused and bullied will become depressed and attempt to forget the ugly memories by turning to medications and addictive drugs. Additionally, the bullied and abused boys are also psychologically challenged as they grapple with low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. We cannot rely solely on therapists, pharmacists and medical personnel to heal these wounds. We are all responsible for helping heal our wounds and those of other human beings.
Dr Jereome Teelucksingh is
attached to the Department of History at the University of the West Ind ies at St Augustine. He has published books, chapters and journal articles on the Caribbean diaspora, masculinity, culture, politics, ethnicity and religion. Also, he has produced a documentary – Brown Lives Matter and presented papers at academic conferences.
Click to read other articles by Dr Jerome Tellucksingh below: