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Small Islands Voice Global Forum

The power of communication: listening to young people

Many people have sent in their views on crime and violence among young people in small islands. Here are some responses stressing the importance of education and communication in reducing this problem.

John Maneniaru from the Solomon Islands (Pacific) summarises in a few words the main ideas: We can help reduce crime and violence through education. In the Solomon Islands, education which incorporates religious and cultural values may be the solution. Involve youth in community activities and give them full support within a family environment.

Further developing these ideas, Alex Perrine from Rodrigues (Indian Ocean) writes: I’ve taken note of the comments on how to reduce crime among young people. I think that the best way to attain such an objective is through incorporating human values into education. Young people are part and parcel of the family, educating parents will also contribute to reducing crime. Harsher penalties will never reduce crime because harsher penalties are themselves a crime. Crime cannot reduce crime.

Peter Kaitara William from the Cook Islands (Pacific) takes up the theme of the quality of parenting: Though violence it is not restricted to the Pacific region, it is still a concern for us grown-ups. I think one of the things to be addressed is for the overall population to be aware that there is a problem that needed to be addressed yesterday! I think one cause is the quality of parenthood. This problem unfortunately started a long, long time ago. Without being too judgmental, we now have children becoming parents at a very young age, when they have only limited worldly and parental values to bestow on their children. Then the process goes on and on leading to deterioration in values.

Christian values, although a lot of people frown upon them, have their basis in ‘showing by example’. Therefore, everything that we do or say identifies who we are, where we come from and what beliefs we follow.

The key to the problem of violence among our youth is education, based on spiritual and family values. Love and trust are not only words, but principles, that if followed and drummed into the young ones at early stages at home, at school, and as part of their daily activities will provide a foundation for the rest of their lives. A foundation, that even with the influence of videos and other forces can help turn out balanced individuals.

Continuing along these lines and emphasising religious values and the importance of communication within the family, Maria Masayos from Palau (Pacific) writes: It seems that crime amongst young people is the main talk internationally. I know that if we look at human resource development at the community level we will be able to take small steps to secure our own fears. Families must work together to bridge whatever is missing in their children's life. They must pray together and learn how to forgive one another. Although, we come from the same parents, we are totally different people. God is waiting for all of us individually and as a family to come to Him with our concerns and needs. Please, don't blame TV shows, communities, friends or schools.

Children are dying to listen to their parents. Communication skills are crucial factors in the family, in particular listening skills. Children and young people need us - their parents, guardians, uncles and aunties - to listen to them. We need to listen with an open heart and mind. Sometimes listening without saying anything is really what the children and young people need.

Children need to know they are loved, respected, appreciated, and are very important to the family. I know if we all work very hard to develop our ‘human resources’ our societies will be more secure.

Messages In This Thread

How much more? (crime and violence)
newspaper article -- Tuesday, 22 July 2003
Reducing crime and violence: education versus harsh penalties
B. Conrich, B. Potter, J. Robinson, writers from Cook Islands and Niue -- Tuesday, 5 August 2003
Does television impact youth violence?
G. Marfleet and a writer from Seychelles -- Tuesday, 2 September 2003
The power of communication: listening to young people
J. Maneniaru, M. Masayos, A. Perrine, P. William -- Tuesday, 19 August 2003
Breaking the cycle of crime and violence
Brian Mommsen -- Tuesday, 16 September 2003

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