By Bayo Fasunwon
The die is cast, light, darkness overshadows light, and taboos have become liberties. The parents have sown the wind, and the children are reaping the whirlwind. The various happenings in the country in recent times have laid credence to the fact that the nation frolics in her ambiguities. Sadly, the news filtered in that ‘ambassadors” of Nigeria in an international event in Nigeria have painted the internet red with their incontinent actions. More saddening was the fact that void of the watchful eyes of the adults, the shameful act was performed by Homo sapiens who were less than fifteen years of age. With the obscene videos going viral all over the world, once again the rich is making the nation bury her head in shame.
Before these shameful events, teenagers in the country were reported as being members of notorious cults in and outside the school, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. More disturbing were the confessions of teenagers in the country to various heinous crimes; and sexual perversion. Some teenagers in Iperu, Ogun State, tricked and robbed an older person, who was engaged in honest hustles to make ends meet. They stole the motorbike and killed him. Teenagers! Another fifteen-year-old untamed innocent looking boy was into the ‘business’ of kidnapping children and selling them for N5,000. Fifteen years-old are now booking rooms in the hotels for ‘short term’ with their under aged babes. Sometimes yours truly have to write articles in the comfort of hotel rooms, and the night reveals nudity and obscenity practiced mostly by teens in the dead of the night. Often one wonders, ‘where are the parents?
There are many factors promoting waywardness amongst our teenagers. One is the erosion of our traditional African values, and replacing such with perceived European values as portrayed in many Korea, Bollywood, and Hollywood productions. The values of respect, human dignity, fidelity, loyalty, and submission have been replaced with their vices. Unfortunately, not only do ‘educated’ parents imbibe ineffective foreign child training techniques, school curriculum is also developed to create social activities that promote the lust and lasciviousness of the children. Most content developers in advertisements, movies, songs, and even sports on the tubes have promoted lewdness as the basis for money generation, neglecting character building.
Many are castigating parents without keen observation on government policies and governance that promotes child neglect. In those days, as hard as it was, many women could still afford to remain as homemakers and home train their wards until they start school as day students at the age of six. The public schools were equipped with curriculum and authority to ‘train a child in the way he should go’. Unfortunately, now, the Nigeria economy and environment is so hostile to the extent that when both parents work, they are able to bring enough to the table for their family’s survival. Thus, the pursuit of money to ‘train up the child’ has taken over the actual training of many children. Public schools have been deliberately neglected in order to create rooms for private schools whose founders lack pedagogical skills, and employ staff without basic trainings. Their lapses are covered with programmes that develop the sensual rather than the character of the children, and unfortunately at a higher cost. The pursuit of money has left many children to intermeddle with all sorts of knowledge on the streets and internet to the detriment of their souls.
Our nation seems to run on autopilot, so also is parenting in this globalizing period. Most religious institutions have left the aspects of inducing God-like behaviour in their congregation and have exerted their energy on church enlargement and prosperity. Discipline, which is the core curriculum of pre-teens and teens have been seen psychological torture, and so parents would pray than ‘hurt’ an erring child. Our new-breed fun loving parents are quick to hype on the need for these children to exercise ‘self expression’ as the basis for the development of ‘initiative and creativity’. This warped extremity would have been the motivating factor for allowing ten-year-old exhibit lewd videos on social platforms, travel, and ‘earn’ money without scrutiny.
Self-expression encourages the children to insult adults, sing, and embrace uncensored songs of rebellion and crime. Self-expression promotes the unrestricted advertisements, sales, and consumption of hard drugs by infants. Self-expression becomes an alibi for a slothful parent to deliberately neglect divine duties, and allow children who have not been trained to identify rights and wrongs, make decisions that would affect the entire political system.
What is the national policy on parenting? Government needs to make it public and give every parent as soon as they give birth to children. An evil trend is growing now, in the society, and being promoted by female celebrities. The vogue now is the exaggerating of single parenthood. Many are celebrating separation from husbands, and announcing it on rooftops that they are single mothers. Unfortunately, the public is not ignorant of the persons their products are turning into in the society. Unfortunately, many are buying these pills and are therefore producing whirlwinds as offspring.
The time is ripe now, in this nation to set age restrictions and enforce it. It may sound barbaric, but many delinquencies can be curbed if these restrictions are stated and enforced. For example, there should be enforced restrictions on school starting age, boarding school age, and social media participation age. There must be prescriptions on the nature of social activities that go on in primary and secondary schools, and deterring sanctions on parents, children, staff and schools that flout these regulations. By the way, have you seen the bizarre birthday party dance of children on the internet? It is a shame that adults are clapping and pushing our innocent little children into the pit of hell.
All said and done, the bulk, praise and blames of child training and development lies with the parents. It is high time parents were aware of the fact that blessings come with responsibilities. There is nothing wrong in going for trainings and seminars on how to train up a child. Conscious monitoring of children, even in the Universities has become imperative if we want to curb the production of whirlwinds. It takes a strong heart to train a child. Parents should rise up to this responsibility and embrace the traditional models of child upbringing in which ‘a pair of eyes birth a child, but two hundred pair of eyes nurtures it’.
It is high time the government, schools, religious organisations, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, and parents rise up and take a firm stance against the proclivity of delinquency sprouting in our teenagers. Government should stop killing the public schools that are officially established and equipped with trained staff for child training and development. It is high time we set our priorities right and know of a certain that the nation and parents are unconsciously breeding teenage criminals. The Nigeria economic and social system has crippled the aged; dis-empowered the middle aged; disoriented the youths; and alas criminalizing the teens. It is time compatriots arise and curb this menace.
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