By Malachy Uzendu
Virtually everyone in Nigeria right now, is discussing politics. At public and private fora, it’s either APC did this; PDP did that; ADC did this one; APGA did the other one, etc, etc; Labuur Party said this, CNPP said the other. It is all about politics and politicians.
But, we seem to have forgotten that all those gladiators that do this or that, or that say this or that, are members of one family or another, yet, we do not pay much attention to discussing the family.
So, it has become imperative that we begin once again to discuss those little-little issues pertaining to the upbringing of our children; our family.
The pride of every parent is to see one’s child making it big, climbing to the pinnacle, through honest, God-fearing path. When our children come top in academics, we celebrate them; when they breast the tape during sporting competition, we equally celebrate them. It is now becoming the vogue to showcase our children’s achievements/birthday on Facebook and other social media platforms.
We read: “Join me to celebrate my wonderful son….. on his matriculation today; Junior clocks 3, glory be to God; Abubakar, genius in the making, bla, bla, bla. Volley of endless celebrations, eureka, for the kids that make their parents proud.
But, we often look around us and discover several social misfits roaming on the streets around us. Not just those who engage in pick pockets, or sundry petty crimes. What about those that pick their parents’ car keys and zoom off, probably knocking down whoever is considered to be obstructing their way? What about the obviously-spoilt children who ride on mega CC engine capacity ‘okada’? Or those who sniff cocaine at our university campuses, or who become the Capone of some secret cults groups on campus? These are the different strata of social misfits, but they all come from families.
It is now a common phenomenon for some parents not even be aware of the whereabouts of their children, even around 7pm and beyond. Growing up, it was anathema not to disclose our whereabouts at any given point in time. But nowadays, an average Nigerian parent has no clue of the whereabouts of some of his children at such time of the day. When asked, we often get responses like: Junior will not kill me oooo! He is always outside and hardly returns early; That boy, he is becoming stubborn these days.
Unfortunately, parents have abdicated their responsibility to their children. It is even more ironic that people, who by stroke of providence, get more endowed materially, are the greatest victim of miss-directed children. These set of parents over-pamper their children; they over-feed them and it is common to find large number of children with obese tendencies. They bring them up to possess tendencies for little or no regard for the elderly, weak or the infirm; those children end up exhibiting selfish tendencies.
Families that are not so materially endowed are not let off this modern-time anomaly. They allow their children roam about in the streets. Some of these parents or their religious leaders buy plastic plates and dispatch them to the streets as child-beggars; They end up as street boys and girls, exposed to the vagaries of the society.
And so, it one easily appreciate the sources for the growing culture of impunity, corruption and vices in our society. Parents, unfortunately, have abandoned their primary responsibility of nurturing their children decently in the fear of the God.
The quest to make it at all costs; to measure up in the society. This knack unfortunately have consumed our psyche to the extent that we merely struggle to attain then end, not minding the means through which we got to the end. And so, we have families without humanity; we have people without soul; we have children without a child. And so, these days, more people visit cardiologists more than what it used to be in the past. The psychological frames of our people have been so terribly eroded, and the society is worse for it.
Rather than just engage in self-flagellation, we should get up and reverse this ugly trend. We need to restore the fast eroding dignity of the family. We need to once again take our children through the religious path. We need to restore the dignity of the family. We need to let them appreciate that ‘good name is better than silver and gold’. We have no option than to restore those ethical values that will make them grow up as responsible children, not those that would amount to total denigration of family and cultural values. We need to immediately rediscover ourselves. No time is better than now.