Thursday, April 9, 2009

Impacts of speculation on young children

I have grown up sharing a huge bed with my three sisters. Now that one of the sisters is married, I still share the bed with two of my sisters. They are still in school (and I still have no plans to get married).

I know it sounds weird but I am used to it and I just like it. Of course, most often, I wake up in the middle of the night feeling uncomfortable just to find my youngest sister’s legs on my chest and sometimes even the second youngest sister’s. It is annoying at times, especially when my sleep is disturbed but a slight spank does the trick.

My sisters wake up early as they have to go to school and though they do disturb me with giggles and sometimes quarrels, I just ignore them and go back to sleep. This morning, I woke up while they were dressing up for school as I had to come to office early.

The other day, I had carried Nu 800 in my purse and surprisingly finished Nu 400 by the end of the day just splurging on junk food the whole day.

Unlike myself, my sisters, though they are very young, are very careful about spending and it’s a shame but honestly, they are my lenders when I am flat broke.
So, I was telling my second youngest sister about how I finished the money. She first grinned at me and before she could pass any comment, my youngest sister blurted out with a sigh: “I know that you can do whatever you want to.”

I retorted, just as a big sister should, by saying: “Honey, even you will be able to do what you want in future. But for that, you will have to study hard, get a good job and start earning.”

“No, sis, that day will never come in my life,” she promptly replied.
I asked: “Why not?”

You will not believe what her response was.

“The world is going to end in 2012. I will be in just class VII at that time. So, where do I have the time to finish my degree, get a job and do what I want to do?” said she.

I froze like a person who was dropped in the Antarctic without any clothes on after hearing these words from a 10-year old.

I don’t remember what I told her next but the conversation made me think deep about the vulnerability of young kids being exposed to things that are factually incorrect.
We know that children of my sister’s age would not read newspapers thoroughly nor watch news on television. Now, the question is how do they manage to hear such speculations? Who is to be blamed?

If we dive deep into our conscience and analyse by the book, we realise that irrespective of what or who the source is, in a way, it is the media that blows it up.

I remember an article that was published in my very own paper (though it was someone else who wrote it) about this particular speculation. I never realised its intensity when it came to creating fear and worry in the minds of the younger children until I heard it from my little sister.

Through it, I even pointed fingers at myself and sulked for not being a responsible journalist myself. The incident has made me realise the important role that media plays in a society. Everyone goes by what we write, irrespective of whether it is true or not.