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So to speak
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
FEEL no horror or shame in wearing your wrinkles as if it were a coat of steel. It makes sense, mighty true, to everyone who has survived the slings and arrows of adolescence.
Adulthood, no doubt, can be awful with its challenges lining up like ants. No less risky, however, are the heydays of being both carefree and choked with teen angst.
While depression rings a bell, death may as well dance to the tune of Justin Bieber (“Baby, baby, baby oohh…”).
No music to parents’ ears is this revelation from an American agency called Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. It results in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year.”
Time and again, the American malaise can also hold a mirror here this sunny side of the equator, even if only to a lesser extent. Despite the scarcity of data hereabouts, an unsettling pattern can be grimly gleaned from the news.
The alleged suicide of Ramil Adaya, 14, is the “second incident recorded this year in Cebu Province after an 11-year-old girl in Toledo City was found hanging with a rope tight around her neck. Both were reportedly “reprimanded by their parents” over some issues about discipline and learning. In 2011, two suicide stories involved a 13-year-old boy in barangay Minglanilla and a 12-year-old girl in barangay Pardo.
If these occurrences were merely isolated cases, what’s definitely dire is to go about shrugging it off as far from happening again.
Recurrent, of course, is the way we groan under the groundswell of adult-instigated wrongs about our world. That the kids are not all right seems inevitable, considering the whole caboodle of anxieties that grown-ups scatter around in the midst of all the pressures, these syndromes of modernity.
The clichés—unconditional love, unstinting support—are easy to prescribe; more problematic is translating these concretely into acts of constancy in homes and in schools, especially in the larger context of drift in governance and breakdown of guidance. Could these be the unintended consequences of our collective effort in keeping up with the breakneck pace of progress?
Step back, stop awhile. Find time for each other to talk things over, as if nothing else is more enriching. If this sounds too naïve, it speaks as well of the woe that echoes the extent of our waste, our accumulated loss of innocence, our collective deficit. That’s enough reason for the young to be sick and tired of us till death.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 19, 2013.