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Releasing full potential of Bermuda’s youth

“First build good character and good results will follow” — The guiding principle of the founders of the University of Waterloo, one of Canada's finest institutions of higher learning

Dear Sir,

A fundamental principle in any well-ordered society is to ensure that every young person becomes properly equipped to take their place as a meaningful participant in the work or social environment.

However, many young people do not recognise that they have a full responsibility to learn, just as adults have a full responsibility to teach.

Furthermore, many adults find themselves ill-equipped to properly instil the requisite value structures in their children sufficient to lead them to maturity. As a consequence, it is self-evident that for society to fully succeed and prosper, both ingredients of family understandably require the additional support of the community, which is simply the larger family of which we are all a part.

In essence, therefore, significant additional progress in the development of our young people can be immediately achieved if the many established but purely voluntary extra-curricular and positively oriented youth programmes in train at present instead become part of the required curriculums of each school between the hours of 3.30pm and 5.30pm each school day.

These programmes would start from as young as Cubs and Brownies and continue through secondary school involving other programmes such as Scouts and Rangers, while also involving sail training wherever practicable.

As a consequence, critically essential constructive character-building would also automatically become the norm as part of the standard education of every youngster whereby only those relatively few who clearly yet still required extra attention would become the focus for a specialist highly trained and strongly disciplined youth service.

After all, we already require all youngsters to acquire the requisite education skills to earn a living, so why do we not also reasonably require all youngsters to similarly acquire the requisite character skills to effectively cope with life?

In spite of wonderful successes in thankfully the very great majority of our young people, we unfortunately have too many others of all races and backgrounds feeling totally alienated from society. As a consequence, they are unable to cope with society's reasonable expectation of conduct, and therefore pursue self-destructive activities such as drug abuse, theft, promiscuity, gang warfare, foul language, speeding, mugging, hostility to any parental or adult guidance, and also total avoidance of any responsibility for their actions.

As a consequence, it is strongly recommended that positively oriented character training, headed by paid, highly principled youth leaders be now made an automatically applied educational philosophy to bring about the broadest possible exposure to positive values for all. Indeed, if we can simply get this right as a society, the following major benefits would automatically ensue:

a, Racism would be substantially reduced by requiring all youngsters to constructively participate instead of only a select few, such as those whom the Bermuda Regiment so positively influences

b, Drug dependency would be substantially reduced by creating a self-disciplined positive outlook able to avoid negative peer pressure instead driven by an inherent sense of worthlessness

c, Significant renewed support for existing poorly supported yet high-quality youth services would result from those willing to volunteer rather than instead be conscripted into the more strongly disciplined Bermudacorps. However, the Bermudacorps would nevertheless have ultimate authority similar to that of the Bermuda Regiment over anyone not satisfactorily conforming to the other service's standards if they had perhaps volunteered to simply avoid the Bermudacorps. As a consequence, for those far too many unable at present to recognise the true value of volunteerism, they would certainly be most strongly encouraged to do so before completing their service within the Bermudacorps

d, A greatly improved school and work ethic as well as a “service above self” philosophy would result from a positive reorientation of many youngsters' perspective on life, thus greatly improving the “Bermuda experience” for everyone contributing to our social and economic success

e, Promiscuity and “children raising children” would be significantly reduced because each youngster would be taught to value others both before and as much as themselves

f, Cycle theft, speeding, mugging, handbag snatching, “gang warfare” and foul language, etc, would be reduced because those perceived “rites of passage” would no longer be accepted by their peers as such

g, Littering and poor attitude generally in relation to the environment would be reduced because no one who values others both before and as much as themselves would not similarly value and protect the environment

Respectfully submitted, TED GAUNTLETT

Positive influence: the efforts of the Bermuda Regiment, above, to develop our youth would be supplemented by compulsory character training headed by qualified youth leaders, according to reader Ted Guantlett (File photograph)

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Published August 31, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated August 31, 2015 at 1:36 am)

Releasing full potential of Bermuda’s youth

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