Luab: Children deserve their youth-A A +A
Saturday, October 5, 2013
THOSE of us who belong to the 70s or 80s age bracket have been blessed. We were given so much space to enjoy our youth.
In school, we played all kinds of sports and games. We had softball, soccer, volleyball and dodge ball for major sports. For games, even during recess, we had takyan, hide and seek and jolin.
At home and during weekends after our daily chores (we kids each had assignments of chores to do) we could play. We loved the game of rubber bands, skipping rope (the large version in which two people held the ends of the rope, and others would jump and skip in the middle of the rope).
We played syatong. It was a fun game that used coconut husk and stick. The losers would shout “syatong” while holding their breath all the way home. At night we could go roller skating on pavements using old-fashioned skates with four rollers.
We could always go to the beaches because the beaches were still open to all. There were really a thousand and one things we could put our energy to use while our parents monitored our activities and sometimes even they would join us. Our fathers even made us tops from thick guava branches and taught us how to play our tops.
I still remember the coolness of the streams as we waded through its waters to look for shiny, smooth, white and gray stones. I could really go on and on about the best time of our lives. However, I realize that gone are those days.
Why then am I pleading for the children? In the early 60s we started introducing them to business. Many of us started going into business and those who were already entrenched in a stable business made their sons and daughters work after school and during weekends. The children were in the forefront tending the hardware outlets, the large sari-sari stores or they were working at the back office writing invoices or making daily inventories. After some time, even high school students were given store branches, bakeries, restaurants to oversee. Before the children and parents had realized what they were missing, the time for youth and its benefits had vanished.
The media, television shows and movies have stolen away their youth. As early as Grade 3, in a co-ed school, kids already have crushes. If parents are not vigilant and are too permissive, they might see the very young ones hooked on the telephone, boy to girl talks, aping teenagers in Tagalog movies.
Some young parents, mindful of their children, involve them in activities to counteract the trend of the times. They encourage and motivate their young ones to join competitive sports. My 11-year-old Kate and five-year-old Kiko are enrolled in a tennis course. My 10-year-old Manny is enrolled in swimming lessons. During weekends, they are encouraged to bring their respective friends home where educational games like scrabble, Pictionary and science-inspired games are distributed. Cheap prizes are prepared and a good time is had by all. My grandchildren are allowed their iPods, their Nintendos and their computer games only on certain days. Mostly they are encouraged to go walking, jogging or biking with their parents.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 06, 2013.