He was finishing his lunch at the cafeteria when she saw him. He was absent from class. Correction: he wasn’t allowed to enter class because he arrived 20 minutes late. Talk was he’s really smart but she never really glimpsed that shrewdness. Every now and then he’d hit upon the correct answer. Was it sagacity or pure coincidence? She couldn’t tell although she was certain he needed to work on his vocabulary.

“So, shall I see you in class tomorrow morning,” she asked.

“Yes and no.”

“Yes and no?” she asked.

“I’m caught in a dilemma,” he replied.

“And what dilemma is this?”

“To wake up early or not,” he answered cavalierly.

She flashed him a wry smile. One of the children of the future certainly has the definition of priority sorted out. The future never looked so bleak.

One seems to hear Whitney Houston, in her heyday, belting out her signature song, Greatest Love of All. The lyrics are poignant: “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess inside…” Many have waxed lyrical about the innocent children that must be protected from the deleterious elements in the world – the future of the world. The children could be our future – at least some of them who haven’t been swallowed by nihilism at one end or hedonism at the other or caught somewhere in the middle as would-be soulless careerists. The tragedy lies not in when they’ve grown up, but when they’re still children that should have been developed into responsible, thinking, conscientious and feeling individuals.  This is, of course, assuming that those responsible for them are dependable, thinking, conscientious and feeling persons.

The tragic hue darkens with the adults’ refusal to recognize that these children are turning into undisciplined, unthinking and desensitized youth wallowing in mediocrity. That they lay the blame on other people makes the landscape sinisterly black, arguing they are innocent, unaware of their faults and wrongdoings because they’re children. That they’re children is precisely why they should be supervised closely and taught, among others, accountability. Assumed innocence is the reason why innocent-looking fiends are created.


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