The world would think that Leonardo is a regular teenager, but what the world doesn’t know is regular is an adjective that cannot be applied to Leonardo.
Leonardo is 18 and still struggling to find a place that he can call home. His mother passed away when he was 13, leaving him and two other siblings to fend for themselves in an unforgiving world.
He wasn’t alone, in fact he had a grandmother who loved him and his siblings dearly but she had her own way of raising children; one that he wasn’t accustomed to, coming from a single parent home. He fought her at every turn and when she finally gave up, he still wasn’t satisfied.
Considered an outsider by his own family he began to look elsewhere for a sense of family. What better place than the streets? After all, he had two siblings that looked up to him and he needed them to respect him.
The streets, a place that we tell our children that there’s no place for them, is the only place that he found comfort, the only place he considered home. The streets took him in and gave him the feeling that he belonged. For once he felt as if he had a family. But everything comes at a price, does it not?
He had no idea how much of a price until he ended up behind bars. Unlike living at home, accepting the streets as your family often came at a high price. Leonardo is no longer a person, but a number in a society that treats prisoners like animals.
Essentially, Leonardo was raised by everything else other than his guardians. His story is different because he had a choice, he simply preferred to do what his peers were doing. Without someone to rightfully guide him, he began to draw from the media on how to live life, how to dress and how to fit in an unforgiving society.
The only problem with the media raising him, was he wasn’t taught right from wrong, he was taught that everything belonged to him and if it didn’t, he was entitled to it. A train of thought that belongs to generation Z.
Generation Z are the children typically born around 1995 to the present year. To everyone they’re out of touch, lazy and uninterested. But unbeknownst to us, they’re more in touch due to the technological advances of the world, currently. What goes by unnoticed however, is their sense of entitlement. Their simple disregard for human lives, their ruthlessness and their extreme apathy.
Who could blame them? Being born in the digital age with everything at their fingertips due to technological equipment such as; iPads and iPhones, why shouldn’t everything else be theirs? Why should they care about having to earn anything or wait their turn, when the environment they were raised in, exposed them to otherwise?
With virtually anything they could ever want at their fingertips, a fierce underworld is unveiled. A world where they enact what they see from the media, unaware of the harsh consequences. To mere observers, it can be described as children gone wild. However, to young men and women that dedicate their time and efforts to mentoring young people, this is an epidemic that is simply disheartening.
According to T’shera Gaitor, assistant district manager of the Youth Empowerment Program in the Bahamas, “Children are growing up in an age of technology where everything is accessible. They constantly see opinions, advertisements, stories which can force them to conform to a certain type of image of how they are supposed to be.”
You can listen to the full interview here:
Certainly because of what has been available to members of this generation, it is a cause for concern as to whether this in fact, forces the attitude of self-entitlement as apparent in the crime wave in the Bahamas. The Bahamas is a country that is made up of 700 island and cays. It is a known tourist destination, however lately it has resembled a bloody paradise.
Living in a country where children do not act as children and there is a blatant disregard for human lives; the Bahamian public must find a way to reach out and mend the gap. However, faced with headlines that would rattle anyone, the question arises whether people are so desensitized to the situation, that they simply ignore it and carry on with life?
According to a survey, which gauged the reactions to horrific crimes; most Bahamians aren’t desensitized. Instead they are disturbed that crimes of this nature are taking place on an island where everyone knows everyone. An anonymous participant in the survey said, “The lengths to which young persons are going to acquire material things and cheap things is simply disturbing. Every shocking crime seems to be on the onset of a number of horrific crimes, there is never a time to adjust.”
See the results of the survey here
Results of the Survey
Although, most of the participants of this survey are disturbed, the way the public communicates with their peers often tells a story of how different age groups react to the criminal wave.
The question remains, what measures can the public now take to properly raise their children, so that they are simply not a statistic in Generation Z? According to Arianne Richardson, community service chair for Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc, “As the saying goes; it takes a village to raise a child, clearly nobody in this village cared enough to positively influence these young criminals.”