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Giving childhood back to our kids

By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood

The news that a mother dropped her child at a government school in Bahrain on a public holiday and drove off, not bothering to check if the child went into the school (the gates were locked), sent alarm bells ringing.

I am sure parents and care-givers sent up a prayer that their similar carelessness stayed undiscovered.

Because this is not an isolated case.

Okay, perhaps not in front of a school but many adults mix up dates and times for extra classes and activities and kids are left standing in front of locked doors in karate uniform or special math tuition.

Call me old-fashioned, but I see this trend as an adult parenting drawback .

In my boyhood, I admit we had fewer subjects to master in school but we did it largely without after school extra tuitions.

Only the most talented among u s took lessons in the arts or specific sports and the rest of us were never compared to them derogatorily – after school, the parks were full of boys honing their football skills and the streets and homes were the stage for traditional games built around life events such as the start of a pearling voyage, the return of the pearlers, celebrations of pilgrims returning from Hajj, weddings etc.

Of course, the days when the whole neighbourhood kept watch over kids and when these activities were part of our lives is long gone.

But for parents to replace these with a relentless carousel of classes is incorrect.

Why are most parents doing this?

Is it for the child’s sake or to be able to boast to friends that their children play the piano or are top of the class in academics?

Our children, over-stuffed with information are barely able to process all these extra skills.

Let us return our children their simple and innocent childhood days.

Parents too must step back and take responsibility for some lessons – a family that learns together builds a bond over knowledge and a fund of happy memories that will enrich us all.


Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the Arab-African Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism