By DEXTER NJUKA
A LOT has been said about pregnancies among our school-going children.
And much more can be said.
But it is time to put our words into action if we are to save the rest of our young girls from this vice.
There is need for more efforts from both parents and educationists to put stringent measures aimed at addressing this problem.
The cases of pregnancies we have heard about in recent months give a picture of how our sex education is not effectively implemented if ever it exists.
We are beyond the 20th century and a lot has changed.
The world has not remained static. Neither have our biological mechanism. Biologically, our children are developing at a quicker pace.
Today, a girl as young as nine years of age can begin to menstruate.
Similarly, a boy of the same age begins to have his copulation hormones racing about his body.
And before we realise it, our children are getting more information than they can handle.
Sometimes they end up being confused because they need to make certain decisions there and then.
One day I eavesdropped on a conversation between my daughter and her (boy) friend.
I think she was confirming the talktime voucher he had sent her via SMS. These were just nine-year-olds!
She blushed when I asked her who was on the phone and that taught me to pay closer attention to my childrenâ€™s sexual development.
I think once or twice I have asked her if she has packed pads for any emergency in case she started menstruating whilst she is in boarding school.
And sexual education is important for our children as soon as it is appropriate.
It is amazing the questions children have about sex, but are so afraid to ask their parents or teachers.
As parents we should not live in denial that it is a taboo to sit down a child and tell them about the bare facts of sex.
It is surprising that most parents would want to believe that the otherâ€™s children are capable of involving themselves in premarital sex and not their own.
Since I started working as a chaplain for these school-going children, my eyes have opened and I have been able to see things from their point of view.
The problem is that most parents are too busy for parenting.
This role dictates that you spend quality time with your children.
Parents should be the best friends of their children whilst maintaining their grip on authority.
If anything, they should be interested in why their children choose certain friends and not others, and do a little digging about the background of their childrenâ€™s close friends.
I admire a friend of mine, how he relates with his children.
The daughters are so free with him that they would ask for his opinion and advice when a guy asks for a date.
Isnâ€™t it said that most of those children who have gone to cohabit have been pushed into it by cold or lack of love from their parents.
I want to believe that in a home where there is love and open communication, if a child ever makes a mistake or engages in premarital sex and, worse still, gets pregnant, she should be thinking of her parents and not the woman next door as the first person she should tell about it.
It is saddening to see these young girls and boys hung out in the night at all sorts of joints around the cities.
One wonders whether parents are aware or these children just sneak out when everyone else is asleep.
God, please give us, the parents, the wisdom to bring up our children in a responsible way.
The author is a chaplain at a Christian school on the Copperbelt and a journalism student. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By DEXTER NJUKA