Nurturing Our Future Gentlemen
Adolescence could be the best time of one’s life. It is full of the conflicts between excitement and anxiety, happiness and troubles and in addition to all about discovery and bewilderment. For me then, as a teenager, I knew very little of this phase of life. Now, with a little experience dealing with this precious group of people and having children of my own, I realise how fragile they are. I believe they need us to guide them through this difficult path.
Parenting is a complex process, involving much more than a mother or father providing food, safety, and comfort to an infant or child. It involves a two way relationships between the parents and the children. There is no one way of implementing a good parenting, as each child is unique in their own ways. It is easier in the early phase, but when the child grows into a teenager your relationship with them changes. You will find yourself switching from relatively simple parenting to a new parent-adolescent relationship mode.
Teenagers face physical, mental and emotional changes. They must begin to separate from their parents in this transition of growing up. This process I believe is as painful for them as it is for the parents, even though it does not appear so. Parents have to be on their toes in guiding and being a constant support to their teenagers, and at the same time keeping equilibrium between responsibilities of guiding and not being interpreted as nuisance.
Talking about the current issues of violence against women, including domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape and teenage pregnancy, girls and women have been blamed to be the weaker sex. Much effort has been put in for women empowerment and enormous campaign on to ‘Stop Violence against Women’. Now what about the boys and men?
I think we need to adapt the philosophy of ‘Focus on the donut, not the hole!’. We need to focus on strengths, not problems. Building up the positives in boys in my opinion is the way. We need to inculcate in the boys self-respect and as a result respect towards girls and women. These values need to be embedded in their hearts as early as possible. To change a generation, we need to start cultivating these values at an early age, ‘Strike the iron while it’s hot’.
I believe that education starts at home, while school will be the centre of its continuation. To mould our boys to be respectful towards girls and women, parents have to be the role model. Thus, in turn I hope will reduce the incidence of misconduct towards girls and women.
(Elya Zetti binti Hamdi)