Monday, April 15, 2024

THE ‘NETTE EFFECT: Don’t let our children stray


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AS I PULLED INTO THE DARK car park, my thoughts were fixed on the environmental problem at the school.

But the other unfolding events quickly drove my breathing concerns into the back of my mind. A more visible danger was approaching and I didn’t realise.

I surveyed the area since it was so late, almost midnight, as I pulled close to the walkway and waited on my daughter. I instinctively reached for my phone to call and let her know I had arrived, but something caught my attention.

While there were some young people milling around a few yards away, there was one closest to me on his phone and he appeared a bit oblivious to what was going on around him. I thought to myself, your typical teenager. Even when I parked almost next to him, he didn’t look up to see who was this close to him.

I decided to give my daughter two minutes before I announced my presence since she knew I was on my way. I returned my focus to the crowd of lingering young people out of which two emerged heading in my direction.

One young man had a bandana around his head tied at the front, a T-shirt, cut-off jeans and slippers. His companion was way shorter than he and appeared to be way younger, about 13 or 14 years old. He was dressed almost similarly, only his shirt was a bit worn.

I am sorry but I am guilty of profiling sometimes; we should not but that is often the case for many of us.

So I did not like the appearance of these two young men who asked the other youngster who was on his phone a question. The exchange was audible but not coherent and I saw the phone user shake his head in the negative.

They turned from him and with two steps were next to my vehicle but still on the footpath.

Then without warning, the taller said, “I sorry I ain’t got my gun pun me” and with that patted his pockets. The younger boy, presuming his friend hadn’t noticed me, nudged him and said, “De woman dey”. His response was to the effect that that was why he said it. He walked away. I did not know how to interpret his response.

I wasn’t afraid but I was annoyed. My daughter made her appearance two minutes later with a male friend who needed a ride. I obliged him and it was a good thing I did, because he managed to head off my negative thoughts regarding young people. Thank you, Jason.

These two young men so obviously out of place at the school pageant should not have been roaming the streets after dark looking for trouble. After a particular time, let’s say 7 p.m., parents should be able to give account of their children’s whereabouts. You should not easily go to bed unable to say where or what your children are getting up to or with whom.

After seeing that now famous thumping by a mum of her 16-year-old son who attempted to join in the Baltimore demonstrations, I wonder why some parents are not paying attention. The teenager was fully clothed and masked but that didn’t stop mum from recognising him and the danger he was jumping into.

I cannot fault the anxious mother for reacting upon seeing one of her six children, her only son, in a situation that could end tragically. What people thought was an international embarrassment for the young man as it turned out was not since he knew quite well why mother intervened.

It led instead to the semi-ridiculous cry to call off the National Guard and send in the mums to disperse the mob. She does not, by my standards, earn the title ‘Mother Of The Year’, but her effort is a fitting tribute as we mark Mother’s Day on Sunday.

On that note join me on Mother’s Day at the Carlisle Bay Centre, where I’ll be indulging in good food, fellowship and lots of fun at the Emmanuel Baptist Church’s fundraising luncheon Celebrating Mum.

I am expecting to be pampered and so should all good and or half-decent mothers who are making the effort at parenting, even if you have to pamper yourself.

The fare spreads from soups, salads, entrees and desserts and you can take all.

At the seaside there will be free boat rides and water sports for all, especially the children. Diners can also feast on some of the other meals during the live catered cooking segment while enjoying the entertainment provided. If you are coming you know where to find me.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mother, sisters, aunts, cousins, workmates and church sisters. Special greetings to Mother Pearl on this her first without my friend Christine.

• Antoinette Connell is a News Editor. Email


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