Unfortunately, in recent weeks we have witnessed increasingly violent situations in the streets, in front of educational establishments, in health centers and even at sporting events. A few weeks ago, a Chilean soccer classic was suspended due to incidents caused by people throwing fireworks onto the field. Likewise, even the routine of our schoolchildren has been interrupted by events associated with drug trafficking and criminal gangs.
What is happening to us? There is a Cherokee legend that, in a way, illustrates this situation. The story is about two forces that dwell in the heart of every person: two wolves. One represents anger, greed and arrogance; the other is kindness, love, hope and compassion. The grandson asks the sage, “Who wins?” to which the grandfather replies, “The one you choose to feed.”
We cannot normalize violence, especially in spaces that seek to promote both physical and mental health. Likewise, according to existing evidence, sports, accompanied by adults who are role models, can generate protective factors to prevent the development of problematic behaviors in children and adolescents. If we let violence continue to corrupt the different environments in which our children develop, we will allow the wrong wolf to prevail.
But what do we do then? This is where the concept of prevention and training of our children comes to the fore. Respect, active listening, recognition of our emotions and those of others, are concepts that are learned and taught, just as one learns and teaches to add. The future of our country is at stake in the formation of these skills.
The bibliography indicates that when parents are accompanied, they can become agents of change and assume a more empowered upbringing, which has a determining effect on the development of socioemotional skills of our children and adolescents.
Consequently, promoting a programmatic offer focused on a healthy life, which emphasizes emotional bonding and provides spaces for recreation through sports, should be an alternative to influence the positive development of children.
Urgency calls us to prioritize our actions. The prevention of problematic behaviors is the path that we cannot mortgage again. Violence must be banished, it is a path that can only lead us to more violence and we are not in a position to let the wrong wolf prevail. Let us look at the evidence, let us observe those experiences that we know work, only then will we feed the right wolf, all together, to build a better country.
By Raúl Perry, program manager of Fundación San Carlos de Maipo, and Rosario Donoso, sports director of Fundación Luksic.
Source: La Tercera.