Op-Ed: Rights of the Child Commission says parents and society must support boys

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 May 2023, 16:54 by Writer

Following is a message that was issued by the Rights of the Child Commission to mark International Day of the Boy Child 2023.
That day was observed on May 16, 2023 under the Theme:Boosting Optimism, Restoring Self-worth”.

Boys, being young males, are to be celebrated from birth. They are entitled to enjoy all rights which are to be observed for children. The boy child is a part of the continuation of lineage in families and the continuation of meaningful friendships and relationships with their female counterparts from childhood through to adulthood.

Over the past few years it has become regrettably apparent that some male children are struggling. This is particularly evident in their less than stellar performance in schools. The statistics in recent times and prior reflect that some boys, notwithstanding the opportunities, are not demonstrating by virtue of their results, a determination to excel in all spheres. For reasons which will not be articulated or speculated on here, there has been a decline in educational excellence among some of our boy children, a lack of the once expected intense interest in academics and in leadership.

Our boy child, in many though not all instances, is also not sufficiently in the presence of positive male influences who, through mentoring and general comportment, would guide them in the transition from boy to man. There are some households where the male adult is a resident but is hardly present. Much of the violence in our society is perpetrated by males; this is the example that our boy children are exposed to in the home and elsewhere. Boys need to be taught positive behaviour and attitude in showing respect to others, respecting themselves, and conducting themselves in a manner that encourages others to show them respect.

In the legal system, the larger percentage of children in juvenile centres are male, and in some instances the infractions they are accused of are later found to have resulted from active influence and encouragement by an adult, most times a male adult.

We must however not be discouraged by all that has just been said, but use the information to effect positive change. Our boys have in 2022 performed creditably at all the major examinations. They have also been formidable members of STEM teams representing Guyana. We look forward to them in the not too distant future returning to being the formidable challengers in academia that we know they can be.

Our boys however must be supported by their parents and by society – by all of us. Boys need to be loved and nurtured and to be given guidance and support in all spheres. In general, our world has become even more challenging to live in, and our boys must be encouraged to “step up” and be good boys, good men and good citizens. We must, as the theme says, ‘boost their optimism…’ and therefore restore their self-worth.