Note: This post published 4 years ago, titled: What Now? Our Youth. I decided to Edit because I feel it is very timely to post again and brought the relevant issue in Parenting.
The rain pours heavily and people are running in the street with newspaper cover in the head, some are using an umbrella and some are not. The street is busy everybody wants to go home.
It is so hard to go home now, I can’t even ride in a taxi. “Oh my! Where are you now? You are always late, not now!” I am thinking of my brother who is going to fetch me. I feel like crying because I feel so tired and really want to take a rest, my hand is full of plastic bags with all my extra sort of income in there, and on the other hand, is my umbrella. I am almost wet, cold and starving.
The situation is getting worse because the rain continuously pours and the wind becoming stronger. As I look around, the number of stranded increasingly growing. I feel irritated by what I see. Ah! With the weather like this, some are becoming optimistic about gaining more income, some have clashed with a taxi.
My attention caught by a child standing at the other side of the street looking in a restaurant, I see the envy on his eyes; as I can see the boy is starving and cold. I can see in his eyes that he wishes that someone will give at least a small amount from their plate. He goes inside the restaurant begging for food but the person in charge pushes him away.
“Hey! Go away! The beggar is not allowed inside.”
I forgot what I feel about the rain and the taxi because the scene caught my interest, I honestly feel mad about it; it really needs to push him away? In my assessment, the boy is just 10 to 12 years old. I saw him going to the cars parked near a restaurant on the other side of the street and ask for a penny.
” Sir! Please, just a penny for bread I am hungry.” He said.
But the man pushes him away and looks at him like he was a disease carrier. Stay away from me! You’re so dirty.
My eyebrow rise in dismay, I don’t know what is exactly I feel for him but one thing is for sure I am feeling angry with the man.
I call the boy and I shared some of the bread that I bought for my youngest sister, he grabs it and says thank you. My heart filled with different emotions. The boy is thin, you can assists that he doesn’t have enough nutrients in the body, he stands 5’0 ft, thin wearing ragged, thin t-shirts, no caps or jackets, and no umbrella or raincoat. I saw him chilling and freezing because of the weather.
I look into his eyes, I see so many emotions that don’t know how to voice out or don’t want to because nobody wants to hear. I admired his determination to live with dignity because he asked instead of doing something bad to survive. And I am wondering why at his age he lives in the street and suffers this kind of life. Even I don’t want to feel pity for him because I know this is the last thing I could share with him.
” Boy, what is your name? Where are your parents?” I asked him while waiting for a taxi to loosen up my temper. I’m still mad because of what happened.
He said Chad. I am waiting for him to add some more but he is keeping his mouth shut. I looked at him trying to analyze his every action.
“How old are you?” I am trying to make a conversation between us; I forgot my temper, my focus now is to know something from him. But he bid goodbye and run fast to call passengers for the Jeepney.
While I am on my way home I fall to deeper thought and emotions; I don’t know if it is anger or dismay. Still, I am thinking about the boy named Chad. And behind my mind, I am becoming judgmental about the boy’s parents. Where are they? Why there are children like him lives in the streets or working in the streets or asking penny just to survive? I fall to so many questions and wanted to go back and asked him all of it.
And I don’t know if it is the weather brought me with this kind of emotion because I feel bad and keep asking myself why our government doesn’t have the programs for children like him?
On the next day, I decided to tour around, I have nothing much to do on that day. I went to church to pray. This place gives me inspiration, hope, and peace. I looked around hoping I will be able to meet him again.
I can see lots of street children asking for a penny, vendors selling flowers and some are selling candles, TokNeneng (egg coated by flour then fried) and other street foods.
I took a deep breath because I feel a sudden flow of emotions to all children working instead of studying in school. Children deprived of youth and early learned how to work just to survive. Children should have been playing more and enjoy being young.
I asked one of the children selling “Sampaguita” because I wanna heard her story. Where are your parents? She answered, His father died early and her mother got sick. I asked about her siblings and she answered me as the eldest out of six she is responsible for their needs.
I stared at her, I can relate to what she feels because I came on that situation and the difference was, I was a bit older back then and have the capacity to work.
I was able to interview the three other children who sell Sampaguita and based on their answers some of the reasons are having so many kids and don’t have the power to support their needs. Unemployed and some are just plain irresponsible parents.
What is OUR Basic Duty as a Parents?
We, Parents, have the responsibility to:
- Support our children
- To give their basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothes
- To teach them the good values where they can use someday
- Mold and develop them to a safer environment
- Give them the best education
- And lastly, let them feel and experience the wonder of being kids
What will happen to our future? Yes, our government indeed has the responsibility to give us jobs, to give us a better life, but we are not going to wait for something from others or a miracle hoping someday everything will be fine. I feel so sad that there are so many children like Chad who needs to work at their younger age to survive instead of going to school and mold their future.
I am a parent now, If times get tough, I will sell “TokNeneng”, Dried Fish or anything on the street just to raise my child and give him the best future a parent could ever give to their child.
I know it is not an easy task to become a parent. Parenthood does not end with the birth of our baby. It has affiliates responsibility to our children to shape them, mold them to become better and someday become good citizens of our country because they are our hope and our future.
- Street Children or Irresponsible Parent (socyberty.com)