"If there’s a child in your home, start there and start now. Encourage them to remain children for as long as they can," writes Alex Tabisher. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)
Last week’s column about our laaities, "Dear coloured parent, our laaities are dying.
" evoked a heart-warming response from a mini-tsunami of readers from every walk of life. I feel so blessed that I had touched a common chord that binds us all in a show of humanity.

I replied to each correspondent by e-mail: Elise, Ruben, Judy, Carol, Robyn, Agnes, Isaac, Shukri, Ayesha.

They range from chief executives of institutions who work in this field, to concerned parents, to PhD researchers.

One e-mail was from the son of a known gangster. Another heart-wrenching one was from a single mother in Bonteheuwel, who joyfully announced that the youngest of her three children would soon graduate as a lawyer.

I thank you all humbly. Hopefully, we can achieve a turn-around.

We are losing our children to the drug lords. We are losing them to renegade educational planners who want to introduce explicit sexual material into the school curriculum. We are losing our children because we don’t insist that God’s word is stronger than a 25-year-old Constitution.

We lose them because we bend to the subverting ethic of human rights. We lose our children because we neglect telling them that respect towards elders is a vital building block and link to responsible adulthood.

We lose our children when we reward recalcitrance and under-achievement with expensive and undeserved gifts. We lose our children when we abdicate from our God-given right to stop a wayward child and set him down and read him the riot act. It is better to ignore the ANC injunction about punishment than risk disobedience to the law of God.

But, revenons à nos moutons. Let us return to our sheep.

We will reclaim our treasures - the children - right in our homes. No national undertaking with rah-rahs and sweaters and looting. If there’s a child in your home, start there and start now.

Encourage them to remain children for as long as they can. Use affirmation, encouragement, praise, validation, motivation, religion, love.

Encourage bonding activities, like collective reading, planting a herb garden, getting a pet, joining a good society like one reading to the residents of old-age homes.

Join a choir, a karate club, start a skiffle group, learn another language. Children are precious, fresh, inventive, imaginative, beautiful, fun, devastating mimics and just such a blessing. If they are straying, pull them back. Love them back into your bosom. Display an interest in what they are saying.

This template presents a hard row to hoe. Maybe it’s close to being too late. But affirmation of the self is a starting place.

It’s not a race-based or gender-based undertaking. It crosses borders. The Qur’an and the Bible promise heaven for those who speak truth to children. We have a right to say who we are.

Let’s go.

* Literally Yours is a weekly column from Cape Argus reader Alex Tabisher. He can be contacted on email by [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

Cape Argus

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