With the completion of mid-term exams in schools, the time has once again come for our children to take a well-deserved break from routine academic works. While the school vacations are a festive season for many students, it is also the time when they are exposed to risks. It is at this time that they need greater love and support from their parents and guardians to compensate the care and guidance they get from their teachers. If we fail as parents and guardians to give them the time they deserve, there is every chance that they might get carried away by negative influences.
It is very sad to know that juvenile crimes seem to rise when children and youth are on long school holidays. This means that we should have adequate avenues to engage them meaningfully around this time in order to keep them safe from undesirable social ills.
It is unfortunate that some students miss the opportunity to continue their studies after their vacation just because they get caught up in crimes such as drug-trafficking, gang violence, robbery and even murder during their holidays. In July last year, the bus I was travelling in from Phuentsholing to Thimphu was flagged down by police for a surprised highway checking near Tsimasham in Chukha and a class XI student of a private school in Thimphu was detained for carrying controlled substances while returning from his summer vacation. Likewise, another student sabotaged his future when he stabbed a man to death during his winter vacation in the beginning of 2017. He was due to join his school just in a few days’ time when the incident happened. Crimes like these are becoming quite common especially during long school holidays.
The unfortunate incidents like the ones highlighted above are a reminder that school vacations are a critical time for parents and guardians to take good care of their children. Having spent most of their time in the school with their friends and teachers, long holidays are a special treat for them to spend quality time with their loved ones at home. It is during this time that parents should fully support their children and make them feel at home. Otherwise, they might head out to seek alternative means of engagement which may not be always healthy.
As a parent, I always believe that meaningful engagement of children would effectively keep them away from unhealthy distractions that might ruin their future. Although I and my wife have no special plans for our children during this summer vacation, we are taking them wherever we go to give them a new experience and help them spend their vacation as meaningfully as possible.
If the road conditions were favorable, we would have even taken them to village to experience the busiest farming season of the year. My wife believes that we do not have to necessarily send our kids for professional engagement programs to help them spend their vacation productively. She is of view that if we could give them enough time, love and care when they are at home, we can certainly make a difference in their lives. The most important thing is that they should know they are loved, cared, heard and understood in the family. They should know that they always have the love and support of their parents and loved ones, and that they have the moral responsibility to become a good human being by not indulging in activities that might hurt their parents and the nation.
By Amrith Bdr Subba
The writer is a visually challenged counselor at the Youth Center Division, Department of Youth and Sports under the Ministry of Education.