Looking around at the country right now has made alot of us proclaim in disappointment “there is no hope for Nigeria”. But I beg to differ, there is indeed hope, just not with us the way it should be. In a way, the generation before us has failed us. Our generation is stuck between what should be right and what is right. We can’t seem to makeup our minds. However, there’s one thing we can do. Correct poor impressions, realise where we went off the train and set things right with the next generation. The imagination and the mind is where it all begins. Children are like sponge, they mop up information. Have you ever thought that children these days are smarter than us when we were their Age? It’s not mutation, it’s information. Information is alot more reachable and readily available to the young ones than they were in our times. It is easier to change the mindset of a child than that of an adult who is already set in their ways. Below are a few fundamentals I believe we should be teaching our children if we want the society to be better in the future.
1. Contentment: A child should be taught to be content. This is not to say become less Driven. No. It is the ability to be happy and satisfied whatever their lot might be at each given time. “Does your classmate have the latest Play station? that’s ok, be happy and satisfied with your plastic building blocks”
2. Hard work pays. Devise ways of teaching the importance of hard work. Reward projects completed. Don’t hide your hard work from them. Share, so they can learn how it is that they have what they are enjoying.
3.Teach them to say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’. This to an extent diffuses self importance and encourages appreciation and fosters communication.
4.Teach them to speak up and encourage them to air their views and opinions. Naturally, our pride will take a hit when we do this. It’s hard for us especially in this part of the world to listen to our kids tell us where we are going wrong. However, a generation that speaks up is less likely to accept being treated like they are less. They will demand their civil rights.
5.It is not ok to be rude or to cuss. Whenever we ‘swear’ at the guy in the next car who did not drive to our satisfaction, we are indirectly teaching the kids that it’s ok to be impatient and ok to swear.
6. Teach them to dispose of thrash properly. All the waste problem we have in the country is because adults couldn’t care less. It’s not enough to recite the national pledge, the kids must be taught practical steps. “put your biscuit wraps in the thrash can not on the floor”.
7. Have family values and belief systems and pass them on. Everyone will eventually believe something, it would serve us better to structure the beliefs from home, so social media and the world at large doesn’t do it for us.The Christians shouldn’t just talk The Word at the kids, they should be taught how it pertains to their life in the now.
8. Teach kids to be independent. Holidays should NOT always be spent in one uncles house or another auntys house. Let the teenagers get a part time job. The satisfaction of earning ones own money is going to teach them alot about independence and our hard work as parents.
It is no longer enough to sit with palms supporting our chin, shaking our head in disappointment and tapping our feet on the floor. It’s time to be proactive. It’s time to Do. To Act. It’s time for everyone to pitch in. The Igbos have a saying ‘otu onye anaghi azu nwa’- a child should be raised by all. Wherever you find yourself and there are kids, contribute your quota to raising exceptional princes and Princesses.