“Life back then was easy, simple and safer.”
So says Lavea Iuni from the village of Safotu Savai’i.
Aged 60, Lavea did not hesitate to share his views about how life has changed over the years in Samoa.
His opinion was mainly directed towards the changes in the behaviours of the youth nowadays compared to his younger years.
He said, “I can start off by telling you about how life was for me growing up in our village in Savaii.
“Everything started and began from our families.
“That was where we learned how to walk, talk and sit in a true Samoan way, it was where we learned how to cook, respect, say a prayer and where we learned how to love without boundaries.
“You start you day with a morning prayer by the elders in the family, and then you pick up the rubbish before you get ready for school. “Back in the days, we didn’t have to buy food from the canteen at school. All we had was papaya and coconut but we were always happy and everything was simple. “We all had to walk to school as well. In the evening, our parents made sure that we all had to shower and be ready for our evening devotions.
“Even for the other adults in the family, they all had to join the whole extended family in giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for his blessings for each and every day.
“After the evening service, then our elders back then used that time to talk to us about ways to improve our lives and duties within our families.
“That was also the time for them to tell off anyone of us who has done something bad that day.
“To us back then, all we had to do was to listen and obey. And if we try to talk back or try to act smart towards our elders, then the only thing we get is a big hiding from them.
“And no one could stop them, even if you run fast, they would still throw you with whatever they could see. “But you see, that was how life was for our generation. And we grew up to be respectful and our lives are great because of the way our elders treated us and how they brought us up.“And to me personally, I can see that a lot of these things don’t exist in Samoa anymore.”
He went on to say that the behaviour of the youths and children nowadays are different and difficult because of their parents. “I know that a lot of children these days don’t listen to their parents anymore. They do whatever they want and they don’t obey and respect their parents.
“That wasn’t the case for us when we were young.
“Back in the day, a lot of kids were close to their parents and they loved spending time at the pastor’s house.
“We didn’t have any gang groups back in the days. The only groups we had back then were youth groups.
“Parents back then pushed their children to go to Sunday Schools and youth groups because it helped them with their reading and learning about God.
“But nowadays, parents don’t do this anymore. Most of them rather have their children at home doing their chores than send them to Pastor’s schools and Sunday schools.”
Moreover, Lavea said people should stop blaming alcohol for the bad behavior of the children and the youth.
“Alcohol was there during our time when we were growing up as well.
“But we knew how to control and we knew our limits. This was mainly because we understood the rules and guidelines of our village and we were careful with our actions because we didn’t want our parents to suffer because of our behaviour.
“Children these days don’t think like that anymore. They don’t care about their parents’ and their families. They only want to show off and have a good time.
“Also back in the day, we didn’t have many bars. It was just the R.S.A and a few bars, but nowadays, we have heaps of bars and this is encouraging our youth to keep drinking.
“It’s not bad to drink. We all drink for all different reasons.
“But we should never drink to show off to others that you are the strongest man on earth.
“That’s why a lot of children are involved with a lot of troubles. They drink for the wrong reasons.”
Lastly, Lavea believes that parents should really consider looking at the behaviour of our children for they are the future of Samoa.