Who in the world wishes evil upon a child? I mean, I know there are some sickos out there but have we really gotten to the point here in Saint Lucia where a parent or guardian would say to a young boy no older than six that she wishes, just for the sake of him staying out a little past sunset, that a sexual predator would kidnap and sodomize him so he'd learn a lesson? Well, I'm putting it very lightly here. Nevertheless, my mind was blown when I heard a woman saying those words in more graphic detail to a young boy this week. He was walking with a friend who looked about his age on a brightly lit basketball court filled with other kids. Children were playing and running about, a basketball match was about to begin, when out of nowhere comes this woman who appeared to be his mother or some other guardian screaming expletives and making threats. She didn't seem the least bit concerned about who was around her, let alone the impact her words could have on the child.
As I walked past, I heard a teenaged boy say to his group of friends, “How that woman can talk to a child so?” Still, no one wanted to intervene and face the woman's apparent wrath. What transpired proved yet again there really is a thin line between discipline and verbal abuse. Even further, in related situations of domestic abuse where people rarely step in because “that's the people private business”.
But back to the matter at hand. It's hard for me to wrap my head around any parent letting a child that young play out on the streets alone, but we know that's just the way things go here. To think that a guardian would say something that unthinkable to a child, whatever the reason, is downright disgusting. Rape is not uncommon here. Sexual assault against minors is in the news nearly every day. Young boys and girls are assaulted, if not by strangers then by their own family members. These kids are often left scarred for life. The last thing any of us needs to be doing is planting that seed in any of their heads that they deserve something like that to happen to them, and that if it does, it's all their fault.
Some of us need to watch what we say, or refrain from interacting with children. I would go further to say that some people really need to think twice about having children in the first place if they don't have the patience, or are otherwise unfit to be parents. It's no secret that children are shaped by their environment. We're all products of the way our parents raised us, just as much as our children, for those of us who are fortunate enough to have them, are in some ways reflections of us. The youth will forever be our future, and the best we can do for them is feed them words that are uplifting, support them, and redirect them when they go off track in ways that will not do more harm than good.