The Importance of Instilling Self-Worth in Guyana’s Youth

A belief pervasive throughout the world about Guyana is the idea that a sense of hopelessness permeates its people, holding them back from progress.  There is a far-reaching sense of pushback in many areas of Guyanese life- from below-par education, to the belief that a lack of attention is being given to Guyana’s growing trends towards domestic violence, alcoholism, and sexual abuse.  When individuals feel like their opportunities have reached a plateau which is so much lower than that of other countries’ standards of living, it’s not surprising that suicide in Guyana is on the rise.

It’s also no surprise that the largest group identified amongst victims of suicide is the youth, particularly from ages fifteen to twenty-four.  This range denotes the age of the largest sense of confusion- with regards to understanding one’s sexuality, acceptable boundaries in relationships, and self-worth.  The fact that this group accounts for the largest portion of suicide supports that not enough recognition is given to the importance of instilling a sense of self-worth from the moment a child is born, so that when individuals reach these troubling years, they will make choices that do not lead them to moments of despair.  More importantly, embedding a sense of personal value will provide them with the intellectual and emotional tools necessary to rebuild themselves when they do reach emotional lows.

But the mentality in Guyana when it comes to child-rearing is not conducive to generally recognized methods of building a child’s self-esteem from a young age.  This lack of understanding on parents’ part, which perhaps stems from the lack of education on this subject, does not always equip children with the ability to discern right from wrong, or with the comprehension of the importance of warmth and sensitivity when uplifting one’s spirits.  The result is a group of people desensitized to their own worth; to the notion that not only is a better quality of life possible, but that they deserve it.  That there are options other than taking their own lives because it is possible they will get to a better place in life.  Education, not only in an academic setting, but in teaching children about their own value, is needed in order to improve the mentality, quality of life, and ability to form healthy relationships amongst a demographic that is frighteningly vulnerable to giving up hope on improving their livelihood.

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