AGAIN, the nation was shocked. In a tragedy, 21 students and two teachers of a tahfiz school perished when they couldn’t escape from their hostel, located on the top floor of the school’s three-storey temporary premises in Datuk Keramat as fire raged.

Worse news followed soon after when it was revealed that the fire was a deliberate act by a group of teenagers who were allegedly motivated by revenge following a name-calling incident between the suspects and students of the school recently.

Social media users went crazy, with many questioning the lack of fire escape plans. Some even called for immediate shutdown of all other tahfiz schools. They turned their sights on the seven suspects, condemning them and their parents for such an unbelievable act.

To me, this is a three-in-one tragedy. No doubt it’s a tragedy for the victims and their families. It’s also a tragedy for the young suspects whose lives would no doubt be cut short. It’s also a tragedy to all of us who may have turned a blind eye to the social problems faced by our youths today.

Generally, teenagers lack rational thinking and tend to be moved by emotions. Coupled with drug influence and the negative desire to exact revenge, these youngsters were probably blinded to the consequences of their action. They still need to be nurtured and guided by their parents.

EMOTIONAL CONNECTION

But where were the parents?

They may have been busy working to earn a living. They could also be facing huge problems and pressures. However, that shouldn’t be an excuse to neglect their children. There are many families who suffer economic hardships but their children turn out fine. In fact, many of them excel in life. We must learn from their strategy.

Raising a well-balanced child requires parents to have at least three quotients —emotional, intelligence and spiritual. Never break the emotional connections through negative parenting styles such as excessive nagging, yelling and scolding. Ensure that our children remain in school in order to nurture their intelligence. Most importantly, ensure that they have a solid religious background to guide them on the right path. All these appear to be lacking in those perpetrators.

Before we start pointing fingers, let’s look at ourselves first. What’s our role in educating society? How have our actions and words affected others? Do they just add to the problem or offer solutions? From the comments I read online, many seem to be adding fuel to the fire with their blame game without offering anything constructive.

It’s time we put our differences aside and work towards saving our future generations. I admit that I’m guilty of that as well. I’m “powerless” to help those in need, who may be residing in my neighbourhood. I may have been too busy pursuing my own selfish dreams without much knowledge about their challenges and problems.

Let’s stop the blame game and start taking action. We can begin with ensuring that our own family receives our best treatment before we spread the love to society at large.

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces. Reach him at zaid@smartparents.com.my

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