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The Irony Of Knowledge Age And The Modern Family

The irony of knowledge age

We have advanced from the Stone Age due to accumulation of knowledge as the prefrontal cortex of the brain started to grow and our curiosity led us to question and seek evidence. However, we are living our double standards.

At work, we question the employer, engage in analytics and critique our workload instead of blindly working like a widget. We aspire to gain knowledge about the products and services we give and receive to rise to the top of career ladders and master the stock market, but unfortunately, at home, we seek to switch off our brain and turn to mind-numbing content online, prefer to hand over our children to nannies or virtual baby sitters, called media and devices and rarely question what our children’s caregivers and doctor serve up.

Research has not shown any medicinal benefits from alcohol or opioids.  Yet, alcohol is legal for recreational use without any limits on how much one can possess. Teenagers are being regularly prescribed antidepressants that change their brains forever. This is happening in full knowledge of prescribing physicians.

Why are physicians not providing alternative treatments for youth when presented with depression?

Is not depression a sign of emotional awareness and of finding ways to fit in at that age, apart from a few cases of clinical depression?

Why are parents blindly following physician’s advice on prescriptions of brain altering drugs?

The modern family

More and more parents are now relying on schools to provide a home environment to their children. The school boards have started offering Extended Day Programs, so children can eat some snacks and  be under the care of disinterested and overworked staff till 6pm. That leaves parents with just under 2-3 hours to spend with their children, which usually involves 2 hours spent in driving home, eating and preparing dinner, some homework and maybe even driving to another activity and hurrying them to go to bed,  maybe without even a goodnight back rub.

Growing up in an environment of joint family and relatives is becoming a thing of the past (Photo credits: Sarah Musavi)

Did the parents get to hear what their child’s day was like? Did she feel respected, accomplished, curious and energized?

Some parents rarely question the way these programs and daycares are conducted. They like to assume that their child had a good time because it was spent with other children.

After working in some of these programs, I am surprised how little parents know what their child did during the day. They arrive in a haste, with their eyes glued to their smart phones and blurt out “hurry up, bud” without paying any respect to what the child may be in the middle of or asking the teachers how the day went. I have seen painfully, how excited children are at seeing their parents who simply extend out a hand while eyes remain fixed to the phone. It’s painful watching the child try to describe his or her day to an oblivious parent.

A parent was asking me how to help her 6 years old child eat better and how to stop her from acting out, to which I suggested that usually a lack of attention shows up as acting out and that she could simply spend 20-30 mins each day with her simply hearing her out.

She replied: “there is so much to do. Where is the time to do that”?

The reply was rather revealing especially because the mother takes great care in having her children socially involved and being at their best in school grades and behaviour.

Question:

Why are parents choosing to not make time for their kids and be interested in their day

Why do parents feel as if getting things done that directly affect their bank account or social status are more important than paying attention to their children?

Why are knowledge seeking parents more interested in learning what is happening in the world or responding to social media messages than having a heart to heart talk at the dining table?

Conclusion

Newspapers are full of stories everyday that are breaking up young lives and families. To add to that is the social media, overworked parents who have been enslaved by their devices, who prefer to hand a device to their child instead of their ears, attention and curiosity.

Underage is defined as any person under 21 and yet we are seeing these incidents of alcoholism  and drug abuseamong teenagers starting as young as 13, not to mention the under 13 year olds who either sneak a few drinks from parents or older friends and siblings, resulting in high school dropouts, bullies, ADHD and special needs.

The case is similar for underage smoking, though the results may not be so drastic but it’s a known fact that those teenagers who indulge in smoking are also the ones who are most likely to drink before 21. The combination of these two elements is a compounding effect of destruction. The destruction is not merely in the loss of lives, but a huge loss to the society in terms of untapped potential. These young people could’ve been channelized better to take control of their actions, choose better friends and understand the power of their own potential and hard work.

The school system has become a comfortable haven for parents to send their children to while they go to work. Parents are relying heavily on teachers and nannies to educate them, make them capable of earning good money, learn manners, become leaders, and magically make wise choices consistently, by showing them love through expensive gifts and allowing them to access social media and internet without much guidance.

Your child could get lucky and get a few amazing teachers. However, the school board policies in North America have put down so many rules that teachers find themselves tied working on a grid system rather than use their instincts passion to work with children, pull out their expertise derived from several years of understanding students and subject matter instruction. As a result, students have power over teachers and get away with bad marks, losing in the game of life while winning the policy of “no child left behind”.

Result: children coming out of high school, yet unable to construct full sentences, unable to read or write, make simple computations, unable to understand complex subjects, short attention spans and unwilling to be curious about subjects to learn and solve the world’s problems. This leads to a young adult with very little life skills, unable to see the difference they can make, feeling unaccomplished and therefore, getting attracted to drugs and alcohol, so they can shut that gnawing feeling of being insignificant.

Solutions available and to be developed

In 1980, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MADD was born as a response to cut down drunk driving death rates that had crossed war casualties in statistics. Their mission: “to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking”.

Youth Build is an excellent program that teaches life skills to youth who have already fallen between the cracks and helps them get educated, build confidence and get back into the mainstream and affect other lives positively.

Boys and Girls club of ottawa are making a positive difference by instilling a sense of self esteem in these children from broken homes. Their mission is “to provide a safe and supportive place where children and youth can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop confidence and skills for life”.

YMCA-YWCA has a mission “dedicated to improving the quality of life for children, youth, adults and families through programs that build spirit, mind and body”.

NEXT Canada’s mission is to increase national prosperity by providing an ecosystem to support the country’s most exceptional entrepreneurs and innovators. We believe that harnessing the potential of big thinking Canadians is key to success on a global stage.

Needless to say, parents are the epicentre of a child is life and also the first school the child attends. First impressions and First words have a powerful effect. Parents have to accept the natural advantage they have in making their child build a great future. However, as the African proverb sums it up nice,y, “it takes a village to raise a child”, we have to accept that not every child will ever be gifted with such parents, so this commentary is not meant to make parents go on a guilt trip. Rather, the intention is to bring some awareness to the fact that parents have the potential to raise brilliant teenagers and they can make it their priority, if possible. How ere, life can throw up strange surprises and hopefully some of these questions will serve to give a lens that you could use for partnering with the school, community, friends, extended families and your own intelligence to question and listen to your child and teenager, so they can feel secure, loved and grow up to make a difference.

Vision and Mission of The Teen Project – Raising the bar for the teenager

I see a light, primarily because there are many parents who are involved in their children’s development and my goal is to bring them together at the table to Inspire every teenager to become their personal best version in values, mental agility, physical fitness, responsibility, maturity, education, charitability, respect for all humans, the planet and leadership (in home, school, volunteering, playground, public places and finances)

Every teenager deserves to explore his/her potential to perform, hold their head high and walk this planet fearlessly.

Mission: To provide a breeding ground for every teenager to become a world class leader in health, education, values and finances.

What can you do?

If you’re a parent, your first step could be to figure out which parenting style are you following and then become knowledgeable if that style is supporting your values and

Goals for your teenager or even a child at any stage.

Awareness of our habits will always be our guide to where we are leading our youth because “children see. Children do”.

If your teenager is making you proud, then you do have an obligation to share your story with other parents or offer a hand to some others struggling to bring leadership in their teenager’s life.

Get involved with your community to create programs that provide leadership and growth opportunities for your children both in school and in your neighbourhood.

Encourage your teenager to think about their goals, and find out what resources or tools they need to accomplish a meaningful, challenging purpose.

If your teenager is already involved in some promising work, then have them teach others in the community. It could be as simple as helping an elderly person or another child who might be feeling left behind in health, society and happiness.

Lastly, seek out resources at school, community and other leadership groups, and coaches to support your teenager.

Together we can all make this world a place worth living for me together we can all be winners of one big Teen Team.

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