The debate on lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 to 9 years old rages on not only in the halls of Congress but also on social media. This is a good thing because public opinion matters especially when the life and the future of our children is at stake. I don’t know which side are you on but I believe legislations affecting the life of a human being must consider all angles and should not only be based on the point of view of the lawmakers. What they usually provide are solutions to the effects of the problem without knowing and addressing the cause of the problem. What I mean is that there should first be a study to find out the reasons why juvenile delinquency occurs in the first place.
I don’t want to make judgments on the proposal. I’m sure the proponents have reasons for such initiative. What I’m concerned about is that it seems no one is interested in finding out why there are children in conflict with the law. I have my own theories but it could be inconclusive since it is not based on research. I believe problem like these arise because we neglect to nurture them spiritually, morally and mentally. We rarely speak positive words that they can build their future on. Children don’t even know that there is a subject called GMRC or Good Manners and Right Conduct before. We are even doing away with the time-tested Biblical principles on disciplining children.
As I was pondering upon this topic, the co-ops came to mind. There has to be someone who should take an active role in molding the minds of the children. If their own parents fail to assume that role, Co-operatives could be one of the organizations that can appropriately make a difference in the lives of the young people thru the establishment of Laboratory Co-ops, a co-op for minors. Co-ops probably have a very critical role in reaching out to the youth before these minors chose to take the path outside of the law.
This is the reason why we have to push for the organization of Laboratory Co-ops in every primary co-operative. Lab Co-ops could be an answer to this problem. We need co-ops to participate in transforming the youth for nation building. We need to act now. We need to come up with programs that are implementable and attractive to young people. Co-ops should be aggressive in our campaign for youth entrepreneurship. We need co-ops to take the lead in preventing young people to be in conflict with the law.
So, instead of giving band aid solution to what ails the young generation let us provide the preventive solution. It’s not yet late to do something for our young generation. If we don’t involve ourselves, the criminals, gangs and drug addicts are more than willing to welcome them into their group. My point is, we have to address the cause not the effect.
There would be no problem of children committing crimes if we are doing our part in bringing them up to be law abiding citizens. Teach them responsibility. Teach them discipline, physical, mental, spiritual and even financial discipline. These are what’s lacking in our youth. And it’s what they badly need for them to become productive members of society and future leaders. Otherwise they become liabilities.