Opinion | On the morality of our children

It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child, and that’s what I thought of this teenage girl at the centre of a nude scandal. Most times, parents play their role actively to raise morally upright kids, but peer pressure and the far-reaching media are two domains beyond their reach.

From my experience, it takes a certain miracle to raise an upright child. Some children get severely disciplined and policed by their parents, but yet end up as victims of all the vices the parents had warned them against down the line. Some parents, strangely, don’t have to go through many hassles to raise upright children.

This teenager probably had disciplinarians as parents and had demonstrated to them that she won’t let down her guard so cheaply, living different lives in the open and in the closet. There’s always that corrupting influence of peers and the dangerously democratized media that frustrate, and sometimes even neutralise, “home training.”

I grew up with friends who started smoking, drinking and doing drugs right from secondary schools, and yet they had emotionally present and morally conscious parents watching over them. Their deviation defied the conventional logic of parental guidance as the ultimate moral compass.

I lost my father when I was in primary school, and my mother when I was in senior secondary school, and, based on our theory of morality, that freedom could’ve enabled my depravity. But, unlike my friends who had consistently active parents, I never partook in any vice. I’ve never ever partaken in drinking or smoking, and have also never ever done drug.

I was raised by the proverbial village, and with a society of relatives, teachers and strangers that played a role in molding us. I’m not perfect either, but I’ve listened to the village more than I’ve ignored them. So, I prefer the tone of those who, wondering why a teenager would be sending her nude photos to a random man, said, “Allah ya shirya mu” – for it’s not our wisdom alone that produces model children or protects us from these social vices.

There’s a a turning-point in everyone’s life, and we all deserve a second chance. This teenage girl is rather lucky to have learnt this hard lesson at this age, and it’s my prayer that she’s never going to lose her guard again in her dealings with men.

We are not what we are because we are wise, we are so mostly because we are lucky.

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