Friday, May 16, 2008

Boys urged to be responsible

Rudolph Brown/Chief Photographer

Gender socialisation, especially among boys, has been criticised for the marginalisation of Jamaica's males in society.
Facilitator, Patrick Prendergast, assistant lecturer of social marketing at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication, said that women continue to hold positions of power.
"Although the emphasis for the day was on respect for the law and building a non-violent community, we have discussed with the children the way our society is suffering from the marginalisation of our boys," Prendergast noted during the celebration of Boys' Day on Friday, May 9.
He further stated, "The idea is to get them as early as now so that they begin to understand that they are in fact being socialised to think certain things about their female friends and teachers. It is very important in the wider context of our society, when our young males grow up, to recognise their responsibilities."
The Optimist Club of Sunset Liguanea (OCSL) organised the seminar held at the Boy Scouts headquarters in Kingston, for students of Rousseau Primary School. The boys, aged nine to 12 years old, participated in a range of activities and discussions, which explored themes of manhood, non-violence as a lifestyle, among others.
Prendergast considered the day a success.
Feeling Empowered
"The idea is for the boys to go back to their schools, homes and communities feeling empowered and to share with not just their classmates, but family and friends," he said.
Litigation attorney Adley Duncan, 23, who was a guest speaker, explained to The Gleaner the importance of male role models.
"A lot of boys grow up leading less than honest lives and I think it is important to get the message in from early, do the right thing," said Duncan. "I grew up in a family where I had two parents in the home and many young boys in Jamaica do not have that privilege."
President of the OCSL, Latoya Wade, emphasised that her aim was to make a difference.
"At this age, they learn all the ground values and core necessities for life and this is where they decide what they want to do and how they are influenced. This is when the impression is being made and it is up to us to influence them to stick to their direction."
Guidance counsellor at Rousseau Primary, Patricia Howell, agreed with Prendergast that the day's activities were insightful.
"I hope to get information so it will help me to plan and organise Boys' Day so that they benefit. Most of the motivators are male and most of our boys are from single-parent homes, so it is very important for the boys to get this exposure to role models."

Tendai Franklyn-Brown, Gleaner Staff Reporter

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