DEPENDENCY IN THE GHETTO

by SHANE SHUE

In my first blog I tried to introduce you to some of the challenges faced by the youth in a Jamaican inner-city community.  I still ask Father, many times, why things have to be like this. Now I know it’s not me alone feeling this. There are lots of us going through these phases. If we can accept life for what it is we’ll know that there are only three chances in life:

  • a chance to live longer
  • a chance to see things clearly
  • a chance to gain a lot of knowledge and understanding of life itself

I look at life differently now thanks to the help of those around me; both near and far away. Even though I don’t have any qualifications, plus I’m not working for a while now, I’m still thankful because the impact and teaching I am receiving changes me.

There are many inner-city youths who speak as I do, and we would love another opportunity to accomplish our goals. Most of the time many of us don’t have confidence in what we are doing and those around us don’t motivate us to do the right things. So if we don’t firm in ourselves we will always be confused and used. People will always lead or try to put us in danger. There were those who tried to motivate us but most of us denied them and only a few listened. I’m sorry that I didn’t listen from the start, but the greatest thing is that some of us come to the realisation of this and would love to get all the help we can to accomplish something right now, as we speak, in this life aspect.

We want to get rid of these:

  • Ignorance
  • Violence
  • Bad mind
  • Selfishness
  • Impatience
  • Insubordination
  • Dishonesty
  • Laziness
  • Lack of co-operation
  • Informer (chat too much)

 

When the youth of the inner-city see no hope there is a strong tendency which leads to dependency.

 

Why do youths prefer to be dependent?

Youths prefer dependency because many of them lack education. I have researched on this and the results do not look good. When we lack education we lack many of the things that life has to offer. Education is the key to success. If we have education it will make us independent. Without education we will always be dependent – always waiting for a handout. With dependency comes lack of self-esteem. Many of us who didn’t get to finish school, if we were streetwise, we would look on life differently. Otherwise, the next thing in life, if we lack understanding and are not trying or willing to make that difference is that we become a stumbling block.

Many youths love to demand. People do things for them free of charge. Many of us grow up with respect, but meanwhile, some don’t. A youth who is soft will let people take advantage of him. There are those who take advantage of others – there are those who lack humility, simplicity, curiosity, honesty etc. Why? Because of the lack of knowledge. If we lack knowledge it simply means that we don’t look for any progress and there will be no change. Remember – you can bring a donkey to the river but you can’t force him to drink. What we don’t like for ourselves we shouldn’t do to others. What goes around must come back round. Many of us do to people what we would not like done to us. Yet still we know that it’s not right.

How many youths can realise that the life they are living is not right? Are they willing to make that change? Children live what they learn. If the parents, the mentors or the guardians don’t do their work in the right and proper way then the youths will become a danger to society. How can we not have any pride inside of us? Why do we prefer to be dependent? How many of us are willing to be independent? How many more youths have to die before we can come together and take a stand for what is right?  THERE ARE A FEW OF US.

When youths are dependent they become illiterate. When they are illiterate and have a lack of education they become a menace to society. One of the worst instances of this, for example, is the use of ‘old iron’. How can someone feel good by taking a life? We know it’s not right yet we still do it. When we should be finding time to do the right thing we end up finding time to do the wrong thing.

When I really observe life I believe we were born dependent. It’s our parents and friends (and our schools and colleges) who should be there to teach us the principles of life. But how many youths are willing to learn? Then again – if the older generations are not setting any good examples and the younger generation are not willing to learn we all stay dependent. What about our grandparents? Did they pass on useful principles and disciplines that should give us good governance?  As a young man I believed that everything I wished for in life would come to pass. But if you sit down and wait every day you fail.

I was once lost because of a lack of respect, self-esteem, honesty, humility and much more. Dependent people are always trying to belittle each other. Is it because they feel a power over the ones they belittle, or because they lack the knowledge to see how destructive this is?

Every day I live I learn. I always hear this saying

    ‘The greatest weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.’

In other words, the only thing we control is ourselves, and most of the time we cannot even do that. But that is not a reason to allow another to belittle or oppress us. This weight that we all carry, we must remember that we’ll always be confronted with opposition. The only thing we can use to conquer our opponent is love. Anywhere you find love, it simply means you’ll find life also. Where there is love there is life. Knowing ourselves is the beginning of wisdom.

'There is a difference giving up and knowing when you have had enough.'