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A necessary change

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Monday, January 29, 2018

THE manners of children, teenagers and youths in our Fijian society nowadays is one of the most talked about issues.

It has generated a lot of open discussions on the social media, on local radio talk shows and even in our daily newspapers.

Some of these discussions are fuelled by a lot of elders in our society and it has generated quite a lot of interest.

But the question to ask is, where did all this come from?

Why have children's behaviours changed a lot compared with the olden days? Who is to blame? What can be done to improve such behaviour? Whose responsibility is it to teach our children manners?

Reverend Sitiveni Kua of the Methodist Church in Fiji shared his own personal view of the issue and stated that social changes are very complex and have affected our culture and belief which resulted in the changes in the patterns of behaviours of individuals.

"The two main contributing factors of changes nowadays are mass communications, mainly internet and television and education," Mr Kua said.

"In Fiji, we have our own set of culture and belief that has been passed down from generation to generation. However, these changes have forced many of us to change what we preserve and what we believe in and adopted the new behaviours we may have learnt or seen on social media and even through what we may have learnt in schools.

"Then we have the different rights and freedom which have also been major contributing factors to social behavioural changes."

These many changes, according to Mr Kau, play a pivotal role in the lives of youths which lead to them changing their mind-set and behaviours.

"The Bible in (the book of) Jeremiah 6: 16 says, stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it'," Mr Kau said.

There are some people who feel some children lack a lot of respect for their elders.

There are so many other related incidents we encounter daily that reek of the deteriorating morals and values, especially in public places.

When a baby is born, he or she is given the best care by his or her parents. Growing up, their parents will or should ensure the child has good moral values as everything should begin at home.

Apart from wanting the best care for their children, they will also want the world's best, good and well to be associated with their offspring; a good child, a well-mannered child, good manners and so on.

Children, for the most part, will reflect their upbringing wherever they go.

It is sad to note that some young people nowadays have failed to take with them the values instilled in them from home, values taught to them from a young age by their parents and elders.

The attitude prevalent among young children in Fiji is something that has changed a lot compared with yesteryear.

A frank response to this type of behaviour would be — it all begins, or should begin, from the comfort of our own home taught by our very own parents and elders

Health Minister Rosy Akbar, at an event she attended when she was then the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, reminded those who were at the event that a child must be given moral education from a very early stage.

Ms Akbar had said moral values were necessary for developing healthy and friendly relations with everyone and its absence was a loss to a country.

"A child must be taught the importance of moral, ethical and family values," she had said.

"I earnestly request the students to enrich their moral vision by putting these values into practice.

"It doesn't tax one's pocket to use them but it increases love, affection and mutual understanding between people."

She said it was through moral, ethical and family values that one became an exemplary leader and a good Fijian citizen.

"These moral values are not one-sided but give immense content to those who exercise them and those for whom they are exercised. This shows the manners and also the quality of our background."

She encouraged children to live for others and increase their love and respect for those around them

It is time parents, guardians and elders look at their core responsibilities, against the background of the times we live in, and ask themselves while talking with their children what they can do better so children will more often be associated with the world's best and good.

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