An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism
THAT modern 21st century youth in Papua New Guinea has adopted a chaotic lifestyle is evidenced by a current trend of wayward behaviour.
The bulk of our younger generation is being swept away by a tide of morally corrupt behaviour which has become deeply embedded and which cannot be easily broken.
The threatening effects posed by this demoralised generation is of undeniable concern for the welfare of this young nation.
There are various contributing factors that can be identified as underlying causes.
Broken homes create a morally depressing situation in the lives of the children. As a result, these children grow up without the ability to value and recognise their self worth. They tend to direct their sense of identity outside themselves.
They feel neglected and are haunted by all sorts of negativities which create an avenue for the development and adoption of poor character.
The drift from rural to urban areas is another factor. Every year, families and individuals abandon their home villages and move to urban centres in the hope of making a living and experiencing an economically satisfying life.
But if it turns out otherwise, as it so often does, their children will be affected the most. They are likely to lose their traditional cultural identity, leaving no cultural foundation which they can use to adjust themselves to the strengthening influence of Western civilisation.
Sad to say, almost all urban centres in PNG have many youths who have lost their cultural and traditional identities and have developed or adopted a so-called culture that has dubious morals and ethics. They cause nuisance, violence and threat in urban communities.
Most of our young folk who are not well educated are ignorant of the benefits of education. This may cause them to seek unethical pursuits to make up for their inability to find decent jobs.
The devastating effects of these factors on human behaviour are evident in the headlines of our daily papers, television and radio – rape, murder, HIV/AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse, unwanted pregnancies. In short, our modern society is raising boys and girls who have no idea how to become men and women.
If this chaotic behavioural trend continues, I’m afraid its negative impact will go from bad to worse.
I believe there is a solution. The government and other authorities should put aside their self-centred ambitions, especially for money, and work together wholeheartedly as agents of change.
Various groups have endeavoured to address the issue but have been inconsistent in their approach and thus have achieved only temporary, superficial results.
No quick fix solutions will have lasting effects. The agents of change must critically analyse the various aspects of the problem and come up with concrete strategies to implement consistently – strategies that have the capacity to eradicate the root causes of the problem.
Parents must be very mindful of their primary responsibilities because they are the first point of contact. It all starts at home. If parents can provide a morally conducive and disciplined environment in and around the home, their children will grow up with a strong moral character.
Furthermore, parents have to be very conscious of their behaviour and lifestyle as role models for their children. Since children learn and adapt quickly to what they see, it is important for parents not to leave a negative impressions that can destroy character.
I believe good parental guidance in child rearing is good preparation for law abiding youth.
One of the prime life-changing activities can be found in the Christian religion. It is one of the forces by which we are able to live and conduct our lives in a morally acceptable manner.
A strong Christian faith is a positive medium of change for the better.
However, we are free moral agents endowed with the power to perceive, understand, interpret and choose accordingly. Positive change depends on every individual. If we want to change we can.
It is also a cooperative effort. All concerned organisations and individuals must be willing to work as agents of change by promoting ethical behaviour and positive mental attitudes.
If we are all ignorant and take a ‘who cares’ attitude, the progress of this nation and the welfare of its people will be hampered by the chaotic behaviour of our young generation.