On one of the mornings I had to rush out earlier than usual (I had to drop my sister off at the park and pick something up before going to work), I left home at 6 A.M, it was still dark, dawn had hardly broken.
I drove out of the gate and behold right in front of the neighbour’s house, I saw two children seated outside, a girl and a boy who couldn’t have been more than five or six and three years old respectively. Surprised, I called out to them and asked ‘what are you doing here’ and the girl responded, her voice rough either from lack of enough sleep or being upset at having to wait out there in the dark. ‘We are waiting for our school bus.’ I was stunned, at that time? So many questions ran through my head. I asked another question, ‘where is your mummy’ and she said ‘inside’. I do not mean to be judgmental but I wondered, how cruel could a mother be? What school bus comes to pick children at this time, instantly I looked at my clock and it 6:07A.M.
Lost in my thoughts, my sister’s voice brought me back to reality when she asked ‘where is your school’. From the little girls’ response, the distance from the house to school could not be more than fifteen minutes at the maximum. It is certain that the school bus would have a round of pick ups but 6A.M I thought was too early to put young children outside while the adults stayed comfortably inside. It was dark, there could be creeping things, and anything could happen to those children. My sister and I deliberated on asking them to go inside but we decided against it. Who knows? That could be normal to them.
Since I had those children on my mind as I drove on, I deliberately looked for children in cars and I saw so many, some asleep, some looking like they were sulking but for one who chatted happily away with her father.
It is bad enough that some children are made to live adult lives; no bed time, you could go to some houses and children would stay up till 11 P.M watching T.V or playing on a computer. Children do not only attend school: they have extra lessons right after school hours, dancing lessons, singing lessons, karate classes, tennis lessons and all sorts of extra curricular activities. I am in no way condemning this but what has happened to a child playing and just being a child?
The form of games most children know today is computer games. They sit in front of a screen for God knows how many hours in a day. For the life of me, children are being robbed of the joy of childhood. I had a very happy and healthy childhood I would say. I played all sorts of games; I played with dolls, hopscotch, catcher, police and thieves, hide and seek, I played with sand, I ran in the rain, I built sand castles by beaches, I ran around in the snow, I built snow men. I went to school sulking sometimes but I was never made to go outside at 6 A.M. It gives me pleasure to think of my childhood :-)
Not everyone may have the happy childhood I had, but there are some ways that children aren’t supposed to be treated.
We live in a world where life has become a rat race, we work around the clock, we chase money almost all our lives. The people with whom we share the best and worst part of our lives with are not given the best treatment we could possibly give. Instead, we are nicer to people we come across outside our homes. I am not sure what the effect of this act of putting children out in the dark to wait for a bus could possibly have on those children, but I do not think it will be positive. If the child had said her mummy had left for work, maybe I would have thought differently. Why not wait with the children outside if they must be left there? Or ask the driver to honk when he arrives, they would gladly run out. Or the most practical, these parents should know by now what time the driver arrives to bring the children outside right on time.
The misery those children were subjected to didn’t sit well with me and I ask everyone who reads this post to treat their children or children that may be in their care right. 'Children are the future', as I was told when I was a child. What we teach and do to children will go a long way to affect their outlook on life and the world .