21ST CENTURY PARENTING

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NWACHUKWU JOSHUA

Could the global crisis really be crises of family values? Could it be that when the family cracks, everything cracks with it? The world is comprised of nations, nations are comprised of families–the cell of society. If society is amoral, lazy, plagued with a get rich syndrome, it is because families are messed up. Our chance of building a better tomorrow will be higher if we focus on building up the family by educating the children during their childhood–that period when like a clay in a potter’s hands, they are ready to be molded.

The family is the first school of the child; unfortunately, parents have delegated this duty to the school, social networks and mass media. Behind this parent’s irresponsible delegation of their duty lies the yearning for material wellbeing and social class.

In a world where freedom and equality is misconstrued as licence, parents have abdicated their role as mentors and guides out of fear of being labelled conservatives. Like the fabled ostrich, they hide their head in the sand, claiming that their children are free to live their lives any way they want.

That is not true. Parents have to teach their children how to use their freedom rightly.  True, gone are the days when parent have to scream, beat or command the children to do something or say that something is a sin, all these tricks which worked in the 60’s and 80’s do not work anymore. Modern children have become more exposed, thanks to social networks, and thus vulnerable. The best way to proceed will be for parents to be friends with their children; they have to win their children trust with patient and intelligent conversation that is not authoritarian.

A clear example of this friendship is a little incidence that transpired between Mohammed Ali and his daughter: When Muhammad Ali’s daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that were quite revealing. Here is the story as told by one of his daughters: “When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.
My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.” He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

Am sure that whatever resistance this girl had to her father’s advice fell with such intelligent story. This is the challenge of the 21st century parent.

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3 comments on “21ST CENTURY PARENTING

  1. Thank you very for such a wonderful piece. I totally agree with your views but would like to add a little to what has been said. The value of self- determination and the concept of evolution has always made us strive to be excellent and better than our forbears. When a child is taught something, at a point in his life he begins to sift what he has been told and to select which he would take and which he won’t. Consequently, the child of a wife beater may possibly grow up not to beat women but to respect women. Let’s not underestimate the value of education. Like a friend told me some weeks ago, an educated man is surely a better man..

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