About a month ago I was approached by a mother of an 11-year-old girl and asked if I would write a speech for her and three of her schoolmates. Evidently, they would all tackle a piece of the speech. Each parent would contribute R1000 for the 20-minute speech.
My first question was, “Isn’t this inappropriate and shouldn’t the children be writing their own speeches?”
The mother also felt that it was inappropriate to write her daughter’s speech and approached the headmaster in this regard. His answer was that all the parents do it and if she wanted a great speech, she’d have to get with the programme.
This is like saying that competitive bodybuilders take steroids and if you want to compete in those leagues, you have to take steroids too.
So she got with the programme. I refused to write it.
The scary thing is that this was the third time I’ve been approached to write a child’s speech in the last two years.
This can’t be right, surely? Letting your child know that it is ok to cheat. Letting your child know that if she can’t work it out, you’ll buy a resource and solve her problem.
Besides the obvious moral ramifications the child is also not learning to be self-sufficient and resilient. Giving a child everything on a plate will make for a weak, dependent and indolent adult later on.
Surely parents that are complicit in cheating don’t think that they’re developing future benevolent citizens with high morals and values?
I would imagine that the seeds for the many corruption scandals we are currently facing, both in government and corporate, were planted 20 to 40 years ago when the miscreants were in their formative years.
How much did their parents let them get away with and condone in that time?
Some may say that letting someone write an 11-year-old’s speech is a small thing and nothing to get het up about. I say that the giant oaks of corruption that we face today come from tiny acorns.
It is the examples we are exposed to and the tiny actions we take every day that form us into the adults we become. As parents, there are only two choices left for us when it comes to bringing up our children: moral or immoral.
It is ironic that it is those very people who condone and encourage cheating amongst their children are up in arms about scandals like Nkandla, medical parole for folks who are patently not dying, the arms deal and our latest Fifa bribery debacle.
Unless a moral regeneration starts in the homes of the young children we are grooming to take over from us, South Africa’s legacy will be one of corruption, crime and greed.
Moral regeneration won’t happen through the churches, synagogues and mosques or through teachers or the government. It is up to us as parents to say, “No more” and teach our children the right way.