Parenting: Let’s be back to the basics

6D60E6B0CC0B4893B2C8B50058C39498.ashxIt is worth stressing that when the various afflictions that hold Nigeria to ransom are atomized, the root cause of most of them will be found in the home. This is because many homes have ceased from being what they traditionally used to be. How do we describe a home that does not provide home training, where all “training” is received by children from cartoons and foreign TV channels?

The failure of parenting in our lust after lucre is largely responsible for the social miasma that characterises the Nigerian society. Deranged youths hold the nation at the jugular with their relentless bombing campaigns destroying and decapitating lives and limbs. Criminals are getting more daring and gone were the days when they needed the cover of darkness. They operate in broad daylight.

In the rat race and rabid quest for positions and wealth, we miss the target and play foul. The end result is that the youth are disoriented and disillusioned. The distinction between right and wrong becomes thin as traditional values and moral scruples are cast away like the flotsam and jetsam. We are at the mercy of those that good parenting would have put on a noble path.

As George Carlin once said, nowadays, “we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses but smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge but less judgement, more experts but more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.”

Besides, “we drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.”

More importantly, he added, “We’ve cleaned up the air but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever but we communicate less and less.”

For all these contradictions, we pay heavily. It is high time parents made their home to function and appreciate that only subjects are taught at school. My heart sank in grief seeing the photographs of the young men that perpetrated the recent Lagos bank robbery. It wrenches my nerves that those who slit others’ throats and open fire on people at their worship places and business centres also have parents.

To rescue the society from its self-inflicted peril, more emphasis should be placed on home education so that young ones will grow to fear God, have inner peace and maintain social harmony with the others. We must proclaim and project the old maxim that good name is better than gold.

This is what Nigeria needs and the only thing that gave President Muhammadu Buhari the overwhelming support that he received was the strength of his character, his unimpeachable integrity. Character is missing in many young Nigerians because parents that should instill it are missing on duty.

The little education that addresses the mind in our school system is unfortunately being relegated. How can a society progress without a sense of history? It is an irony of fate that History as a subject in our schools is being consigned to the dustbin of history. Religion, or Islamic Studies and Christian Religious Studies, is also being undermined, having been reduced to mere topics in an omnibus subject.

Let’s get back to the basics and focus our attention on the family. Many families are in ruins because of the irresponsibility of the parents.


A TV broadcaster in Hong Kong is said to have addressed the following letter, which also relates to parental responsibility, to his son and I found it relevant:

“Dear son,

“I am writing this to you for three reasons: 1. Life, fortune and mishaps are unpredictable, nobody knows how long he lives. Some words are better said early. 2. I am your father, and if I don’t tell you these, no one else will. 3. What is written is my own personal bitter experiences that perhaps could save you a lot of unnecessary heartaches.

“Remember the following as you go through life:

  1. Do not bear grudge towards those who are not good to you. No one has responsibility of treating you well, except your mum and I. To those who are good to you, treasure them and be thankful. Also you must be cautious. Everyone has a motive for every move. When a person is good to you, it does not mean he really likes you. Be careful, do not hastily regard the person as a real friend.
  2. No one and nothing is indispensable. Once you understand this idea, it would be easier for you to go through life when people around you don’t want you anymore, or when you lose what/who you love most.
  3. Life is short. When you waste your life today, tomorrow you will find that life is leaving you. The earlier you treasure your life, the better you enjoy life.
  4. Love is a transient feeling. It fades with time and mood. If your so-called loved one leaves you, be patient. Life will wash away your aches and sadness. Do not exaggerate beauty and sweetness of love, and do not exaggerate sadness of falling out of love.
  5. A lot of successful people did not receive a good education, that does not mean that you can be successful by not studying hard! Whatever knowledge you gain is your weapon in life. One can go from rags to riches, but one has to start from some rags!
  6. I do not expect you to financially support me when I am old. Neither would I financially support your whole life. My responsibility as a supporter ends when you are grown up. After that, you decide whether you want to travel in a public transport or in your limousine, whether rich or poor.
  7. You must honour your words, but do not expect others to honour theirs. You can be good to people, but do not expect people to be good to you. If you do not understand this, you would end up with unnecessary troubles.

“No matter how much time I have with you, let us treasure the time we have together. We do not know if we would meet again in our next life.”