The recent increase in gun violence while very serious should not really come as a surprise to people who are really paying attention to some of the social issues that have been occurring here for quite a long time regarding the families of Cayman.
The issue of violence among the youth of our community is not unique to Cayman by any stretch of the imagination. In my belief, this particular social problem stretches beyond simply bad behaviour and poor judgments by a group of adolescents. It falls on the childhood and family structure or lack thereof that has caused many of our youth to view crime and violence as part of normal social behaviour.
The family structure and particularly the role of a father is one of the most powerful elements that can have an affect on young children. When that family structure is either broken or not there to begin with, children will almost always look elsewhere for some sort of structure. Some young males will look to gangs for not only the structure but also guidance in what it means to be a man. Some young females who grow up without a father will subconsciously be drawn to old men as a father type figure in their lives, who a lot of the time do not care beyond sexual gratification from that woman.
I am not saying that the lack of a father in a child’s life will always lead to the above mentioned events because I know that there are many single parents who should be commended for the type of children they have raised under extremely tough circumstances, but there is something to be said for the role of a father strongly involved in a child’s life.
What I am urging is for the fathers of this country, who through life’s circumstances may not be able to form the traditional family structure as we know it, to continue to try as hard as possible to be involved in your sons/daughters life as the benefits will be seen not necessarily in their childhood but as they grow into young men and women.
The same applies for all of us in the Caymanian community to not simply look the other way when it comes to certain behaviour being displayed by children but to seek to try and be a positive example and try to steer that child in the right direction before its too late.