FEED THE BODY, FEED THE MIND
There is a love/ hate dichotomy when dealing with children as a police officer. I love being able positively influence children and am continuously envious of officers whose assignments bring them into the school system as role models. I hate finding children on the losing end of systematic indifference or poor parental/ lifestyle decisions or even worse the victims (or the perpetrators) of violent crimes. Under current conditions, there are struggling families that have no hope in raising productive members of society. With each generation, the compound effect of a horrible childhood is worsened and the uphill battle is steeper and steeper. I am not soft or overly sensitive to the causes of criminal behavior but I have seen the results over the years. Whichever side of the nature / nurture debate you favour, one thing is fact; if we don’t give these children a chance they are doomed from the start.
So, how do we start to fix the problem? It is overly simplified to state that the problem begins with a lack of education and opportunity but we need to start somewhere. My wife is a teacher in the Winnipeg School Division and one of her frustration is trying to educate a malnourished child. It is impossible. We need to ensure that school kids are hungry for knowledge not food. Having a proper breakfast or lunch program that ensures our students are engaged in their education is a must.
Furthermore, there are many jurisdictions in developing countries that have discontinued the antiquated practice of homework. Like any adult, kids need a chance to decompress after their day. They need the opportunity to pursue other interests or, at the very least, social interactions with their friends in a less structured environment. This doesn’t mean that independent learning or pursuing a new skill set outside of school is not important but kids need the chance to leave school behind them at the end of the day and appreciate other parts of their social development.
Education is very important. If school age children are not in school, then they are not learning. If they are not learning then they are falling behind. Falling behind leads to obstacles and obstacles leads to frustrations and further down the hill they slide. I would like to reemphasize the importance of school attendance and treat truancy seriously. We need to ensure that kids are attending school and we have to hold parents / educators / and government agencies accountable. We need these kids learning in the classroom not on the street corner.
We are in the centre of Canada. We need to use this to our advantage. We need to make better use of Centre Port. We need to attract international businesses looking for a distribution hub in North America. We need to identify businesses like Samsung or LG that have deficiencies in their marketplace by recruiting them to set up transportation and distribution centres. Once we recruit these businesses others will follow and job creation will continue to rise. Our diversity is our strength and we need the rest of the world to know that we are an international city that is ready to work with international businesses.