The social climate in our country at this time is one of uncertainty and instability where a degree of fear has gripped our citizens. The feeling of vulnerability surrounds us when we look at the prevalence of crime. It is almost like a runaway horse.
Clearly, this problem did not start yesterday and who would have perceived that it would have escalated to the level it is today. For some time now, children have been waking up daily to witnessing crimes, are victims of violent crimes at school and many of them are bereft of parental support at home. When small misdeeds of infants are bypassed by parents, what mould of character is expected of these individuals as they grow up? The reeling news headlines speak volumes of the road they walk. I ask, when parents have abdicated their duty to instill spiritual values into the minds of their children, who replaces them? When Grandma becomes the designated daily sitter, can she totally fulfil the role of mother or father? Where is the parental responsibility? The family unit is the basic unit in any society. When family life disintegrates society falls apart. Need we go far to witness this disintegration?
Once a nation of deeply spiritual people where family, village, community and place of worship played a critical role to our children’s development, our focus has shifted. Materialism has consumed our lives. With the experience of the oil boom a few decades ago, a paradigm shift created a movement from spirituality to materialism. The material wants have surpassed needs by far and our lives are now subsumed by greed. Non-satiated materialism has overtaken family-care in the race to grab. Indeed, this world has enough to satisfy every man’s needs but not enough to satisfy one man’s greed. With greed, almost always, lust and anger follow. These triple gates of hell are the pathways to disintegration of family life, destruction of self and society. Such destruction will continue unabated and so will crimes, if we fail to return to family-focus and spirituality.
Almost everywhere, there are persons who are mentally affected with fear of the negative environment. Fear has made them victims of crime and many are unable to find any workable solution. Some of them suffer from depression, some turn to drugs or suicide while others remain imprisoned in their mire of hopeless dismay, asking when will it all end.
As 2017 comes to an end and a new year dawns upon us, I plead with parents to become more closely involved with your children. Sacrifice your time for them. Instill values into them. Get them involved in their place of worship. The temple, mosque or church should be the heart-beat of the community. It is a home away from home. It is a microcosm of what takes place outside of the home. To all our citizens, we all know that times are difficult. But the longest rope has an end. Let us stick to spirituality. Be positive. Hold on. There will be a new dawn.
A blessed year ahead to all.