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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, March 23, 2023


I don't understand why Virgin Islanders are so surprised that our children are in crisis.
Simply put, our children are in crisis because many of the adults in our community are also in crisis.
Just ask people like Michal Rhymer of
the Family Resource Center. She spends her days scrutinizing the level of violence in our families. If our families are in crisis, doesn't it naturally follow that our children will be in crisis also?
Clearly, many adults have not learned effective problem-solving techniques and solve most of their problems through less that constructive means.
We must understand that our children will not do as they're told; they'll do
what they know.
Too many of our children see an unparalleled cycle of violence, unprecedented in Virgin Islands history. Because they are seeking solutions to their own dilemmas, children observe our negative,
destructive behavior and conclude that this is an effective way to live.
Hence, our children die because someone "dissed" them by looking at them "funny." They die because he was talking to "his" girl. They die because he stepped on my brand new $200 sneakers.
To say that this is a national crisis is an understatement. Our community needs to declare a national crisis on behalf of our children and begin to formulate a community-wide response to the travesty in which most of our children are living.
That is why I no longer support programs that will not intervene with the entire family, for the root of our problems with our children lies in the instability and the vulnerability of our families.
The economics of these islands is a leading culprit in this instability. Parents can't supervise and intervene effectively if they're not around. Too many of our parents must work long hours to survive.
Fathers — many of whom are absent from their
homes — must step forward to save their sons from the destructive vultures of crime, ignorance and apathy. Mothers must demonstrate through their constructive behavior that promiscuity and early pregnancies complicate the lives of their young daughters.
Too many of our daughters are now victims of
domestic violence at ridiculously early stages of their lives, even before our
daughters have had a chance to define who or what they are.
A society is judged by the quality of life that it offers its children. How can we continue down this path of self-destruction and point our fingers at the children who are the victims of adult psyches that perpetuate a cycle of violence?
We must say what is true: Our children are dying because we have asked them to join us in our own self-destruction.
We should declare national shame at this situation. Then, let's get going with positive solutions.
One final comment: What is wrong with our children is not outside of themselves;
it is the house that we've built inside that is out of kilter. Therefore, when we look for solutions, let's look for holistic solutions that reflect the understanding that before we build a house, the foundation must be strong.

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