Monday, January 21, 2008

News from Zimbabwe (2)

Part 1
One of the impacts of the deteriorating school system (let me not repeat the long list of reasons for this, it probably bores you and certainly depresses me!) is that the minds of our children are likewise becoming, well, grey! Bright, living colour has gone, the thrill of learning has largely been replaced by the tedium of classes poorly presented within classrooms poorly maintained taught by teachers who are poorly paid and therefore poorly motivated. Our children are growing up thinking that this is education: that doors are not supposed to have handles; that all children are not supposed to have books and pencils; and that broken window panes are not supposed to be replaced. Our youngsters in the schools and streets are growing up thinking that power and position are to be sought in whatever way necessary, in order to be used to advance oneself and to exploit, exercise control and authority over others. Can you imagine the impact upon a nation when these children are the adults, the decision makers, and the ones who form society?

Families are under tremendous strain, the pressures of normal Zimbabwean life often translates itself, at best, into strained relationships within the family, at worst into infidelity and broken marriages. The diaspora, the dispersion of people due to economic hardships, has created within our society "diaspora widows/widowers" and "diaspora orphans". We see often a greater distance between our teens and their parents than before, a lesser involvement of parents in the lives of their children, absentee parents, children being left to extended family or employed maids and a slow drift away from marriage and family as God intended. With such a poor example in their upbringing, how will our children ever be able to form stable, warm, loving and godly families when they grow up? Bar the grace of God, this seems impossible. There is a greater recklessness amongst our youth than before, expressed in a seething rebellion, a pursuit of the distractions of music, sex and friends, and an irresponsibility about their futures. When the future holds forth so little hope, the present becomes meaningless.