It Takes A Village

June 15, 2022

By Grace Wandia

I was invited to give a talk to a group of Secondary School students on the need to be hospitable and considerate to other children in their school with special needs and those that come from very poor backgrounds. The talk came about because the teachers noticed that a group of students were not being kind and making snide remarks about the unfortunate situations of their peers. The school invited parents to the talk to share with them the concern and to encourage them to instruct their children on being mindful of the less fortunate.

One of the unfortunate students was a girl who lost her father two years ago and just this year, unfortunately, also lost her mother. It did not occur to the other students to be mindful of her situation and to be kind and sensitive to her needs. Whenever things went wrong for her, the girl would retreat to a corner of the school and cry her heart out. Instead of showing concern for her plight, her classmates nicknamed her ‘cry baby.’ This hurt her so much that she wrote a note and put it in the suggestion box at school saying she felt all alone in the world, and she wanted to drop out of school.

 When the note was received by the school principal, she asked that whoever had written the note come to see her, so they could talk. The girl did not acknowledge that she wrote the note, but her teacher saw her crying as the note was read, and automatically knew she wrote it. The teacher called her aside and asked her if the note was from her, and the girl replied: ‘Yes.’

The teacher requested the principal to call all the parents of the students in her class and when they came, she briefed them on the incident. Some of the parents took it upon themselves to talk to the girl and asked how they could help her stay in school. She said she feared being chased away, since she had tuition fees in arrears, and her name was always on the list of those sent home for failure to pay. She said unlike the other students who had parents that would work hard to pay the fees, she had no one and felt helpless and all alone. The parents regrouped and agreed that each one of them would come up with the money to clear the arrears of her tuition fees. Before they left school that day, half of the fee’s arrears had been cleared with the remaining balance to be paid within a week.

This gesture reminded me of how fortunate we were growing up in the rural areas. The community would be responsible for all the children in the community, and this included disciplining them when need arose. No one reported or quarreled with a neighbor about putting the children on the right track.

The parents coming together to help an orphan was a huge blessing and taught the rest of the students to be kind and helpful to those in very difficult situations. The girl was able to smile and not panic when students’ names were called out for non-payment of tuition fees.

My invitation to the students was to remind them not to be caught being mean to their fellow classmates or others in their community who need love and support. Children can be very mean, especially when they are in groups. They do not know if their actions and words could lead someone to destroy their life by being suicidal.

There is a need for all schools to form a P.T.A (Parent Teachers Association) where the teachers can ask for help from parents when they become overwhelmed with issues at school. Most schools have huge numbers of students, and their school administration cannot tackle all the issues. The association liaisons with parents to help find a solution for children needing help.

Raising children takes collective effort.  No one person has a formula on raising a generation with so many needs and problems occasioned by poverty and everyday hazards. It takes a village to help raise these kids.

Students being helpful to one of their own make’s life bearable to the affected student.

Teaching children at an early age to be kind is very important.

Children perform better at school when they feel loved and appreciated by all concerned groups.

Comments are closed.

Go Back
WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin