The change of Rocky

11 September 2012

How a child with moral values can impact society.

To say that our children in Shelter are not near perfection in terms of moral values maybe somewhat accurate, but to say that they are very imperfect is neither true. We have seen how some of these children came into our homes and exhibited very horrifying behaviour and they were as though without any moral values. They would tell lies; steal and they didn’t want to share whatever they had. Can we blame them? They never had any role models in their lives and since their only provider did not provide for them, they learnt what they only had left - survival of the fittest. With that sort of environment soaked into their minds and hearts for years, rectifying and to slowly mould their mindset to adopt good moral behaviour certainly took up a lot of time, effort and careful guidance from our caregivers and respective managers.

Rocky* was one of our teenage boys who came into our home just this year. He was very boisterous, extremely disrespectful to others (including the management!) and was somewhat demanding. There are a couple of times where he intentionally challenged every staff that tried to guide him or tell him what to do. He doesn’t just challenge verbally, he would slam his fist on the walls real hard and always tried to walk as though he is the boss of the Home! When we first saw him, we couldn’t understand why he chose to behave in such a manner. Eventually, he told us that he admired his brother who was a gangster back in Penang and he wants to be like him. In Rocky’s eyes, that is how he started shaping his worldview and philosophy of living which eventually builds the foundation of his “moral values”.

With the experience & knowledge of the staff and manager, they knew that it’s very common for our new children to behave in such a manner and there is no short cut to helping him relearn his moral values. It would be easy to rectify certain action if it’s merely an action that resulted from a mistake or a bad temper, but in Rocky’s case, it is certainly way deeper than that.

With much patience, love and humility, the staff and manager had to repeatedly tell him what is wrong and what is right. That didn’t happen over days or weeks, the whole process took months! Of course some disciplinary action had to be taken when he misbehaved but he was always told that it is because we care for him. Just like any teenager, he found it hard to accept it initially and would rebel often. When he is caned, he would tell the manager confidently “it is not painful”! Besides the action, the staff and manager were being exemplary in their talk so that he could observe and eventually follow.

Today, he is still not perfect and may somewhat still be far from it, but he has definitely learnt and cultivated some good moral values. He learnt to be humble and submissive when he is told to help wash the clothes, clean the table or mop the floor. He learnt to be grateful when he is given gifts, attention and love, he would verbally say “thank you” and smile bashfully when praised. Rocky learnt to be quiet and practice self-control when in public and when there are guests visiting the Home. Even though he still does exhibit some “violence”, he only does it because he is just being plain playful. From where he was before he entered our Home, it is not an exaggeration to say that it is almost impossible for him to be the way he is right now if he hadn’t been sent to Shelter.

If Rocky never entered Shelter or any other Home, where would he be when he is grown up in society? A typical gang leader that loans money to others? A drug trafficker or a drug addict? A ring leader that recruits secondary school students to join a gang? The list is non-exhaustive and it would only be a natural consequence from the environment he was “nurtured” in. But in the environment Rocky is in now, we can start to imagine how he can be an impact on society, years down the road if he stays on in Shelter.

Rocky, just like any other person has talents, gifts and a unique personality. With the right moral values, these areas of his life can be greatly utilized for the benefit of society and more importantly, for himself. Ironically, not every child ‘out there’ is as privileged as Rocky. They are still ‘in the dark’ and when they grow up, they are usually labeled as the scums of society and fail to recognize that they can be “Rockys” if given the right environment and opportunity to adopt the right moral values in their lives. Hopefully with the help of our society and our dear donors, Shelter hopes to bring hope to these children who deserve much love and guidance.

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