Leng uaisei?

By Gaafar J. Uherbelau —-

A couple of nights ago while waiting to use the ATM at one of the banks in Koror a couple of students we assumed were between 7-10 years old walked past. It was already past 8pm and they were still in their KES uniforms, walking around without an adult with them. One of them stopped near a guy who was waiting in line and asked, “Me tara change. Lak maisei e brad, kau tial el oltobed a udoud.” The man refused to give them money.

So I was wondered if the kid knew the man, but even before that thought reached my mind, I was thinking “Who are these kids? And where are their parents? Aren’t they concerned that their children are roaming the streets at night by themselves in uniform?” It would be worse if they didn’t actually know the guy they were asking money from because then that tells me eng diak el lechuul era blirir.

Another incident that I found truly shocking happened yesterday at the Coconut Hut. After eating their lunch, a group of high school kids trashed the table they sat at, leaving bread crumbs and empty chips packages all over the table and on the floor, expecting the waitress to clean up after them. When this happened we (our group of friends) were dismayed at the kids’ behavior. I was thinking to myself that these kids had probably believed in an adult they heard somewhere saying, “Becherei waitress me bol lo ngedmokl er ngii leng urelel”.

Is this how we want our kids behaving? Calling them our future when their respect for others is lacking and their attitudes ignorant and arrogant? In my opinion, kids aren’t born with attitudes. They learn it from others around them. They see and listen and mimic and experiment and rebel. Lessons and habits they learn are either bad or good but they always come from those around them. Parents, friends, uncles, grandparents, TV, radio, social media, etc. A ngalek a uchul meng dengerengel a diak a ungil osisechakl ma omellach era ulekurulel ma chelsel a klengar er ngii.

I remember my childhood summers in Peleliu where my grandmother would have us sit in a straight line on the floor and lecture us on omengull and omelengmes. She gave us chores and explained why each of us had to carry out our individual tasks meng sebechel el mereched el mo merek a ureor era blai so then we can all go and play. I was five years old.

And now as I look back, I can proudly say that all her schooling were so very worth it. I believe that the principles and ethos I have now are from those early years in life where the osisechakl I received from my parents and grandparents were way more valuable than ABCs and 123s.

And even though I shake my head whenever I see kids nowadays behaving disrespectfully, I actually feel sorry for them because I know they might not have the chance to learn the morals I was fortunate enough to receive early on in life. I keep hearing adults say, “Ng diak a cheldechulel leng beluulechad el mla change. Ng kuk tetelir a rengalek era chelechang el time.” And so I ask you ng meral uaisei?

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