Editor's Choice Gender Gender

Exposure of kids to beer dangerous

CHILDREN’S CORNER with JUDITH KONAYUMA
IT is no longer illegal. Bars are all over our townships. Wherever there is a shop, one is sure to find a bar.
In some instances, the same shop will double as a bar as well. Where are we headed to in the name of business? Is this the ideal situation we want to see? Is this what we want to expose our children to?
Exposed indeed they are because it is something we now live with, right in our neighbourhoods, in the shops where we buy some daily supplies from.
Sometimes a mother is too busy to get across the road to the shops, and the only choice she has is to send her child. I am not talking about sending the child to a large store like Pick n Pay or Spar, but just in the vicinity when the situation demands it.
It is not all the time that we have all the groceries that we need. There are dire moments when a mother discovers that she has run short of some item and she needs it urgently.
The indiscriminate presence of bars in the vicinity of residences is becoming a threat to the positive development of the younger generation. It should not surprise us when we have a generation of children who are made to think that beer drinking is a popular pastime activity.
We should blame the older people who want to make the younger ones believe that beer drinking is the in thing and it is “cool”.
Apart from the bars that are open as early as 06:00 hours, the shops amplify the accessibility of the commodity, and easily so as they are sold as part of the groceries.
If it is available within such reach, what would stop an underage child from accessing beer from just over the counter?
Not every shop owner will care that he is selling the commodity to an underage child. His primary occupation is to make a profit and ensuring that he is selling the commodity to undesignated customers may rank last among his priorities.
Moreover, such shops are not guided by the legal requirement on selling liquor to underage children, because in the first place, they exist as grocery shops.
Because of this, there is a large opportunity for the underage to buy the commodity as much as they like in the absence of the restriction.
“But at what point then, did things go wrong”, is the question that is bound to pope up in one’s mind, as one rues the high levels of indulgence among the youth.
While this is not the main preoccupation for now, there is need to get to the root of the problem that is causing the very fibre of society to be eaten up at a faster rate than we realise.
Maybe we need a different institution to be appointed and vested with powers to clamp down on these undesignated shops selling liquor indiscriminately.
Maybe the local authority has failed in its job. The Council is the nearest institution to the people and such indiscriminate selling of beer should never escape its ‘eye’. After all, it regulates the sale of liquor.
Moreover, some of the council workers even buy the liquor from the same shops which stock groceries and I am convinced they see the children buying the liquor as well.
Society has a responsibility to nurture the youth into responsible citizens but going by the easy access of liquor, it should scare the wits out of anyone who wants to see a focused generation whose resolve is to contribute to the development of the nation.
We know the effects of beer and as the Bible describes it, apart from making one’s mind unstable, it is a mocker, it betrays, leads to shame, leads to poverty, it causes violence and leads to other sinful acts.
While the above is just a pinch of the effects of beer, we will do well to ask ourselves the question, “Is this the generation we want to end up with?” Our world is doomed. God help us.
For comments jkonayuma@daily-mail.co.zm

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