Hockey match, Saturday morning. Two teams of girls aged 11 and 12 play an official game. Some spectators, mostly parents, bring a peaceful atmosphere to the field. One can only hear the voice of the players, the coaches and the referee’s whistle. All of a sudden, one of the players breaks the monotony of the game, gets one of her rivals off her and dashes decisively into the rival’s goal. A raged father shouts and gets the attention of some spectators, but not all – ‘Kill her!’ is the distinct shout coming out from his face, red with anger.
These kinds of situations are not isolated in our society. They can be seen in hockey, soccer, rugby and basically any other sport activity. However, they are not exclusive to sports or to parents. Violence occurs constantly, every day, in all kinds of situations: double parking, littering, violating traffic rules, political leaders acting as enemies, TV shows encouraging fighting and gossiping. This context of objective violence, which occurs when a person does not think about those next to them or how their actions will affect the rest of society, has become a terrible problem for education and for the development of our youngsters. Children and teenagers are like sponges that absorb absolutely everything we transmit to them, whether we are aware of it or not. Not only school and family are needed for the correct education and development of our youngsters, but also an entire society. It is an adult’s responsibility to create healthy environments for every kid to grow up in a peaceful and tolerant environment. Are we really creating that environment? Are we really taking responsibility for this situation? How many times do we take into account the example we are setting with our attitudes and actions?
It is really alarming, for example, an event that occurred just a few weeks ago in Rosario, when students from a private school apparently vandalized ‘rival’ institutions. Outrage, surprise and accusations could be heard from most school directors, parents and neighbors. ‘These kids are maladjusted!’, ‘They should be studying!’, ‘Where are their parents and institutions?’ were the massive demands. Only a few wondered why kids are acting violently and what messages we are giving them every day.
Our society should understand that we are all constantly educating youngsters and sending them messages with our actions, comments and attitudes. It is irresponsible leave these tasks to schools and families only, or just play aloof because one does not have any children. The correct development of our youngsters should be of our interest, not because of an altruistic reason or social awareness, but simply because of our future’s protection: if we want to improve as a country, we will need future adults to unleash their inner talents to solve problems, innovate, create happy cities, research and give their best to the country they live in. Let’s make sure then to take good care of our best investment for the future. We need our future adults to be much better than we are.
Director El Desafío Foundation