The collapse of the family system is the root cause of crime and violence

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By the Reverend Seth Ampadu, Minister Superintendent of the Methodist Church of Saint Lucia.

IF we want to minimize crime in the country, we must tackle the breakup of our families. There is a saying that “violence breeds violence”. Violent families produce violent youth, and violent youth produce violent communities. It is necessary to reconsider our family system. Considering the “Sankofa” family system is the way to go. SANKOFA ”is an African word from the Akan tribe of Ghana where I come from. The literal translation of the word and the symbol is “it is not taboo to seek out what is in danger of being left behind”. The word is derived from the words: SAN (return), KO (go), FA (look, seek and take).

The Sankofa symbolizes the Akan people’s quest for knowledge among the Akan with the implication that the quest is based on critical examination and intelligent and patient inquiry. The Akan believe that the past serves as a guide in planning for the future. For the Akan, there is wisdom to be learned from the past that ensures a strong future. The Akan believe that there must be movement and new learning over time. As this march forward, knowledge of the past should never be forgotten.

Reflecting on this Sankofa terminology in Akan Ghana, in relation to the crime situation in the country, it is necessary to uncover the real root cause of criminal behavior and learn how criminals are trained if we are to fight this threat. growing in our communities. . Obviously we need to go back to our extended family system. Looking at the recent statistics that are making headlines all the time, the future of our communities looks bleak. If we look at the trend of criminal events, it seems that family breakdown and various social issues such as broken homes, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, have plagued our community. I am of the opinion that most criminals and those who cause violence in our communities may have witnessed many conflicts between their parents at home. Most of these people may have been sexually or physically assaulted by their parents. Sometimes it may be that some parents or siblings of these criminals are also criminals themselves and therefore have a very negative impact on the community.

It is therefore important to begin to consider rebuilding families and communities. I know it won’t be easy to rebuild our family system but we can start from somewhere considering our marriage system. I suggest that the “future couple” should go through extensive prenuptial counseling before marriage. Sometimes when these potential couples come for prenuptial counseling, you can see that they are “in a hurry”, some of them let love “blind” them so they don’t try to cooperate with the counselor to find out. some of the weaknesses that will cause them problems in marriage.

It is also important to consider that parents should love and nurture their children spiritually as well as physically. In the absence of religious insight or spirituality at home, she breaks the family system. Parents must start from the beginning to introduce their children to the fear of God whose good book says “this is the beginning of wisdom”. Children at home need to learn to relate to people. It will depend on how the parents relate to them. Children at home should learn by example to show kindness, compassion and also to empathize with others in school and in communities. They must learn to cooperate with each other and to see community as “the backbone of friendship”. Africans have an adage that “it takes the whole village to raise a child”. It is necessary that as a community we see each child as belonging to us so that when we see them going astray we will correct them in a reasonable way. Also, as parents, when our children are corrected for doing wrong, we shouldn’t get angry. In doing so, we will be able to minimize crime and violence in our communities. I believe raising children by both parents is easier, when families live close to each other and can count on the wisdom and support of the extended family, it helps foster cordial relationships in the family. community.

It is a call for all of us to recognize that parenthood is a shared responsibility; it is a common affair – not just the business of single parents or grandparents, but of the extended family. Uncles, aunts, cousins, neighbors and friends all need to be involved and all have a role to play. This is what I call Sankofa, it was what existed before.

As things are going, it is clear that family life has changed enormously, there is no connection between families, and it is like “every man for himself” but God is for all of us ”. It seems that there is a kind of isolation and loneliness that has become the hallmark of our communities. When this happens, it reduces communication and interaction with others. This can create a certain form of individualism and tension which is dangerous for any community that must overcome crime and violence. Therefore, this is a call for all of us to embrace the “SANKOFA” ideology where we look back to the good old days of our extended family system where we support each other. Things are not out of control yet, there is hope, and there is a lot of hope for our future and that of our children. Let us continue to seek God in prayer and at the same time embrace the Sankofa ideology.


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