Worries of one born in Europe – part I

i'm worried

I am upset with the sadness of parents who see their kids leave their homes in Portugal to study abroad, a consequence of the quotas at university level in some courses, of the few vacancies in professional areas or of steadily underpaid positions. The ones who stay have to work harder, depend on the good will and hopefully sound character of their bosses/managers because of tenure positions that, due to the economic crisis, are now few and difficult to get. Why can’t people be allowed to have security in their jobs so they may set mid- and long-term goals for family and community contribution?

I am upset with school and college graduates when forced to postpone their joining the workforce, their building a family early in their twenties (not in their thirties or forties), or buying an apartment and making themselves available to help others with their salaries, on a regular basis. Lonely mothers/fathers, widows, ageing people, homeless, addicted, the poor and other disfavoured groups need help, but we have just a few lobbying for them, with reduced government support. Who is going to voice their plights on a regular basis?

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Desmond Tutu

I am unsatisfied with government officials who perpetuate their high salaries, their privileges and perks forgetting those that still have basic needs unfulfilled: of food, shelter, health, help, security, dignity. Are cuts in wages/salaries, or stretching the retirement age or reducing the promised pensions the best policies? If people can’t get a decent pension, if their age to retire is stretched, how can posts be made available to younger people? Showing statistics of lower unemployment rates is easy for government officials: they just need to advise people to enroll in professional courses or training opportunities or get a second degree, one after the other, however not necessarily giving them assurance to get a vacancy afterwards.

I am seriously worried about the wasteland concerning the education of kids and young people in schools, homes, the media. Too much focus on intellectual capacities/academic results, too little on the paramount importance of character education, the need for excellent values to be taught and principles experienced, so that our inbred selfishness may be disciplined. You can fly a plane and still do not care about the lives inside. You can be an accomplished professional, but still care more about your own success and personal conveniences than about the needs and shortcomings of the ones that depend on you.


About the author:

Teresa Fernandes is a teacher Lisbon, Portugal.