Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
Dear Raphael and Namukolo,
Of late, we have had a disturbing increase of street gangs especially on the Copperbelt. These youths are terrorising their neighbourhoods and doing despicable things, which until now were unheard of in this country. Some of them are calling themselves ‘Sons of the devil’! How can these youths take pride in identifying themselves with the devil? What is causing such bad behaviour and how can it be stopped? SOG.
The advent of street gangs in the country cannot be attributed to one factor. It is a multifaceted problem, which should be analysed critically. Let us look at some potential root causes.
Never before in the history of our country have we seen so many street kids. Ideally, every child is supposed to be brought up in a home. God created human beings in such a way that they need to be parented from childhood to adulthood, before they can become independent. It is the parents’ responsibility to teach children morals, discipline and to educate them. Sadly, most of these gang members hail from dysfunctional homes. It is either they were abandoned by their fathers at birth or at a tender age. This ‘breakdown’ in the upbringing of children is usually as a result of the death of parents or, more commonly, being born out of wedlock. Their mothers could not cope with the responsibility of bringing them up in the absence of their fathers and so they end up on the streets.
This is compounded by not only the breakdown of the nuclear family, but also the breakdown of the extended family. In the olden days, one could count on uncles and aunties to bring them up if one’s biological parents are unavailable or simply unable to cope. Unfortunately, in the modern set-up, extended families have disappeared.
As if this is not bad enough, street children do not spend much time, if any, in schools. Schools are there to complement the work of parents. Education facilities have a duty to impart knowledge to children and equip them with skills to take up various careers. In the absence of parents, street children usually drop out of school due to lack of care and support from family.
They, therefore, enter life without any academic qualification and without any survival skills. In the absence of academic qualification, one can be self-employed using practical skills like carpentry, plumbing, sewing, chicken rearing, etc. Like education, these skills need to be learnt from either parents or an institution of learning.
Out in the cold, these vulnerable children’s plight only grows worse as they are denied not only an academic education and skills training, but spiritual and moral education. Instead, they get their moral education from watching morally corrupt movies, imported from foreign cultures via the electronic media. Now more than ever, there has been a proliferation of violent and immoral movies, which are easily accessible to the young people. Such content portrays insulting, violence and immorality as fashionable, coupled with substance abuse.
Faced with starvation and a harsh life on the streets, these kids take to drugs and alcohol in whatever form available to them.
From a spiritual perspective, the behaviour we are seeing in the street gangs is an indictment on our society. Society has denied these children parents and an education leading them to surrender themselves to the devil as their father. The Lord Jesus warned the Jewish leaders that their bad behaviour was a product of a bad spiritual parentage. John 8:44, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Without human parents, most of the street gang members have grown up without God and without hope in this world, Ephesians 2:12.
As the country craves for a quick end to the barbaric behaviour being exhibited by the various street gangs in our towns, we should look beyond the law enforcement agencies as the final solution. Yes, they should bring back law and order, but the ultimate solution lies with society restoring the role of the family in child nurturing, closely supported by learning institutions, the Church and Government.
Once again, our society should become one big village, where all the children will be everyone’s child. No child should grow up in the streets at the mercy of the devil!
Choose someone who motivates you (iHeartsquotes)
Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA