Editorial: Go back home

Go back home Let’s reflect on discipline and family values and navigate the changing times with traditional wisdom Back in the day, if we tried to run away from home,
15 Sep 2023 11:06
Editorial: Go back home
Photo: Leon Lord

Go back home

Let’s reflect on discipline and family values and navigate the changing times with traditional wisdom

Back in the day, if we tried to run away from home, we’d be reeled right back in for a mother of a monster hiding.

Just as our folks in those days knew no other way but to use the rod – and not so sparingly – so too did we as children abide.

We wore our battered black and blues to school, to athletics training, to the shop.

The intensity of those beatings would reflect the level of worry our folks endured when we ran away from home.

Those lashings were the worst; they’d feel like you were dying.

But it toughened us up and taught us to respect elderly authority.


If you made a second attempt to run away from home, police intervention would drag you back home, only to meet with another round of ruthless belting with the leather strap or hosepipe, because the sticks were either not long enough to reach you as you danced around, or they broke midway through the ordeal.

It was harder for those who came from broken homes, where even when the struggle was real, complaining was not an option.

The only form of occasional violence would come in the form of parental rage, as folks juggled on one hand to provide the level best to the brood, while instilling values and discipline on the other.

It was the style of handed-down know-how old-fashioned tradition.

In those days, we knew nothing about me-time, down-time, or quality time that the new age has since brought with the dawn of advancing technology.

Everything was central in the family; every moment together was quality time.

There were no social media influence then.


The only technology was probably the landline, typewriters, Telex machines, radio cassette players, the Walkman, Discman, the Gameboy console for a game of Super Mario, pen pals from around the world to catch up with, stamps, envelopes, and public phones that some would ‘tap’.

Even as families struggled, children would collect coconuts to make toffee that we sold at school tuck shops, exchange novels or Marvel and DC comics with classmates, trek through nature for guava-picking only to be chased down by hornets.

As we reflect, we realise we are better for all those experiences.

If you fled from home, you would do best to flee as far as possible to where you hoped the long arm of the law would not reach, and make a name for yourself, because there was no coming back from that if you did it the second time.


It was like running away from God; we dared not.

Just as Jonah of Nineveh fled from his true calling – only to be swallowed by and puked out by a whale – so too must many heed their own. But running away is not the answer, even when the going gets tough.

It is, however, a force to reckon with, thanks to the children’s rights, human rights, freedom of speech, and all other liberties that induce a selfish sense of being owed a living.

If you want to get children off the streets, send them back home, and put their parents behind bars. See how that works out.


Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj

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