18 Feb Broken Hearts in February: Awakening Passions
“Do you know that there is a female presidential aspirant?” A volunteer asked a group of young girls. “No o!” They replied in unison. “Do you also know that you have rights as a child that you can demand from your leaders?” There was silence as the kids stared on as though their minds had been opened to new knowledge.
These are some of the questions the butterfly team put to the children while speaking to them on political education to channel their understanding to other aspects of the political system.
Once, we met a very passionate little girl who spoke with so much political enthusiasm and confidence. After one of the sessions with the school, she came out to have a mini chat with the team. All she was interested in knowing was the party we each supported. It came as a little shocker to us as this was not one of the questions we had envisaged from kids. She was compelling was undeterred. She posed several questions to us, all of which revolved around the upcoming elections. She desperately wanted to know where our allegiances lay. She put us right on the spot. She had a strong personality and even when a volunteer pointed out to her that there was a female candidate in the hope that it would avert her mind to another reality of the elections, Charity was not interested. Apparently she had made a decision on whom to “VOTE”. Huh? Vote? We took quick glances at each other and smiled.
The mini interview seemed to have gotten more interesting and so we decided to turn the tables. We asked her why she was going to “vote” her choice and her answer was simple and unwavering- her mother was voting the candidate. Then we asked her why she would follow suit. Again, she had her ready reasons, some of which had been tainted by a lot of mixed public perceptions and propagandas from the media. And as we listened on, we saw childlike passion turn into little twists of hate and bigotry. She was on her way to being polluted by the society’s kind of politics- a dirty kind.
She was not alone. There were many other disciples of bigotry. A lot of children interviewed displayed very deep prejudicial opinions. Our journey had given us the opportunity to understand clearly the effect our individual and collective negative actions were having on the younger generation. They were developing strong prejudices. We had come to feel a sacred responsibility of gearing the minds of the kids to positive sides of the mirror.
Determined to do something about it, the team after school decided to engage some of the kids in an interactive session where the opinions and views of the kids were the focal point. We had to get the kids to talk. We needed to help them learn how to express themselves so that we could help correct some of their prejudices while arming them with tools that will help them become future leaders.
Indeed, the moment was powerful and humbling for us as well as it reinforced the belief that positive building of the mind is key to developing any society and that the formative years of a child is extremely important.