Like It or Not, Kids Grow with Violence

Like most of the parents, you are probably against guns. Real guns. At the mere sight of them, your knees turn to jelly. A gunless society is ideal but only law-abiding citizens can make it one. If guns are in the hands of goons, who will protect the gunless citizens? Nowadays, it’s hard to tell who are the law enforcers and the law-breakers.

You must be able to enforce “toys for peace” in your home. You should be conscious about this, as your boys and girls graduate from plastic toys that go “bang bang” to water guns. What are popular now are air soft guns using plastic pellets. They are quite expensive.

This is probably one step ahead of video or role-playing games, where one uses the computer or imagination. In war games, they can act it out. You probably don’t notice it but when your kids start playing war games, their relationship skills improve. They become a team with a hobby to share. It’s good, clean fun. Nobody gets hurt. They wear protective goggles or face masks, long sleeves and long pants. (It seems there are some adults who join, not to play, but to hurt.)

The children’s justifications should never change your stand about toy guns. They know they can never ask you to buy such guns for them. (So they’d probably try asking their other parent.) Besides, you reaction is always economic: “How much? That’s a month’s groceries! No way!”

But when violence is deliberate, such as in hazing, then that’s a different story. This is no longer a game. The pain is real. It is not like those “blood pellets” you can wipe away when the game is over. You can actually have blood on your hands.

Hazing does not teach brotherhood. It teaches revenge. So this batch was made to take a gulp of milk, spit it out, and pass the same glass down the line. From a half-filled glass, by the time it gets to the last guy, it’s nearly full. Next year, this same batch will do the same, or worse, to their neophytes. And so the violence escalates.

Is this a rite of passage every boy must undergo to be a man, or a girl to be a woman? A father, especially one who got by without joining any fraternity, is proof enough that fraternities are not necessary. If by brotherhood, it means cheating by test paper leaks and connections, then you shouldn’t want that for your children.

They say the culture of violence is bred by violence in comics, movies and television. That enough exposure to violence can dull one’s sense and one can become insensitive to gore and blood. Power can be such a heady experience. Guns or even a car can give one a feeling of power. You’ve seen houseboys transformed into veritable kings of the road, once they get behind the steering wheel. Can you imagine those out of school youth recruited to be security guards and issued guns?

What can we do about this culture of violence? Parents ask the schools to be stricter with those involved in frat violence. For students, the best thing is to boycott fraternities. Those who join are mostly insecure students from the province who really need some form of brotherhood, as they are new in the city or university. They do not know that one can pass the course and find jobs based on one’s merits.

Fratmen are popular with girls. Well, girls, frat membership does not make a man – especially when the measure is whether one can stand a beating and be able to beat up others in turn. Fraternities will eventually die if there will be no new recruits.

Aside from limiting your children’s exposure to violence in mass media, you have to teach them how to handle power. With power come greater responsibilities. Being a true leader means humility and service, not giving orders to slaves. Moreover, fellowship can be achieved without undergoing or inflicting pain.

You can’t completely protect your children from violence since it exists in their environment. The most you could do is to arm your children with values so that, in time, when they encounter violence, they will know what to do and hopefully make the right decision.


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