When Men Act Like Little Boys
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Part of being a “spiritual parent” in Barrouaillie means teaching children the correct way to respond to life’s challenges, particularly for boys since sadly, there aren’t many men in this village.
One cultural truth that has been ingrained into their minds is “lash them back”, which basically means if someone hits you, then the proper response is to hit them back in self-defense.
While I understand the need for this (you don’t want people to take advantage of others) the “lash them back” mentality takes on a life of it’s own.
For many children (boys especially) lashing someone back means responding with anger or violence the first time someone does something to you.
A few weeks ago during game-time after Bible club a young man who had been playfully jumping on other kids backs fell down and skinned his knee when someone else jumped on his back. He responded by grabbing a nearby stone, and attempting to pelt the boy who did it because in his mind “lash them back” gave permission to do this.
Another time I was playing a game with children were they threw a ball to the person on their right, a boy wasn’t looking and got hit in the head with a ball. He proceeded to (you guessed it) pick up a stone and prepare to hit the girl in her head as retaliation.
Thankfully the young men of Barrouaillie are beginning to see responding to any perceived slight with violence is the wrong way to respond….
but the growth is slow because they see adult men responding with violence every day.
Too many times lately I’ve seen men standing in the street shouting obscenities at one another for no reason whatsoever (sometimes with rocks in their hands). Others walk up and down the road screaming at the top of their lungs about an “injustice” they have experienced. It’s incredibly sad to see adults often respond to stressful situations like eight-year olds.
The real problem is so many boys in Barrouaillie don’t know how to act like a man…because the men keep acting like little boys.
I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity that God has given me to influence the lives of young men in SVG. And show them sometimes the manliest thing you can do is to keep walking, while the other man acts like a child.