Identifying 41 Human Hindrances to the Protection of the Child’s Rights(7)

On September 28, we were received at Ox-bridge Tutorial College, GRA, Ikeja, where we disseminated our ‘I’m D-SMARTTEESST™’ to the entire student. The programme, which has been disseminated to close to 15,000 teenagers and young people, is an attempt to make these young people the number brigade of their protection.

The truth is that parents, guardians, teachers and other stakeholders in the life of the child will not always be with the children they love so dear. Except they are equipped to protect themselves against abuses, they will be cheap victims of predators.

If you cannot boast that your teenagers and young people can proclaim, I’m D-SMARTTEESST™, I want to assure you that you may have a lot to worry about. Knowledge is more powerful than empty hope that nothing bad can happen to your children. If nothing negative will happen to our children, it does not answer to wishful thinking, but deliberate and positive actions. I pray that God will grant us wisdom in these things.

Let me move on as I share with you my story as the conclusion of the 18th Human Hindrance: The head teacher: Dada was a childhood buddy. We were classmates in the primary school and often spent our lunch break together, playing. One of our favourite games was tree climbing. But our regular, delightful game of tree climbing took a turn neither of us expected when Dada slipped on this eventful day.

As one of the fragile branches of the seemingly strong tree gave way under Dada’s young foot, he fell, stomach first, on another broken branch. The branch went right into his stomach as I watched, frightened. I raised an alarm. Dada was immediately rushed to the hospital. Two or three days after, the news filtered in while we were in class, that Dada had died.

The first and only response from my class teacher was, “as from today, call this boy, Taiwo, Esu (Satan or the devil).” This was in my Primary 3. Here was I traumatised that I had lost a dear friend. As I write this piece, I still remember, Dada’s physical features. I needed all the encouragement I could get as I mourned the loss of my dear friend.

I was also overwhelmed with fear, having grown up in a superstitious society, where it was believed that the departed would often come back to take with him a close associate. Apart from the fact that I was close to Dada, I was the last person he saw as he slipped out of consciousness.

My teacher, who should, did not understand any of this. She added a measureless chunk of load to my already overweighed cross. From then forward, I carried that plague of a nickname for the remaining years of my stay in the school. Children are always in the habit of teasing their peers, often, by giving unsolicited nicknames.

When a child does not like a nickname, he would run to the teacher for protection. My case was hopeless because the teacher was the architect of the cruel nickname I bore through school. It was a case of a custodian becoming a predator.

She was a predator over my soul. What about the school authority or the head master? Pupils did not have any relationship with them. Besides my mind was too untrained to seek help or remedy from such quarters.

I woke up every morning burdened by the fact that I would have to appear in school again to be called the devil at will by my class and school mates. My teacher obviously was a Head Teacher and as time went on I live up to his expectations.

I behaved like the devil, before I found help 14 years ago.

19. The inconsistent: These one are not consistent with acting in The-Best-Interest-of-the-child. The decision of the people in this category to raise children right is not predicted upon understanding the nobility of the idea, but on mere emotion or an ungrounded attempt to conform to a new message or thought they have come across.

The inconsistent, as parents do not train children by the rule and are therefore not consistent in the discharge of their responsibilities to their children according to their state of development. In most cases their commitment to their children is according to their position of birth.

For example, in most cases, inconsistent parents do not give much attention and care to their other children like they give to the first child. The inconsistent has many explanations for the foregoing, but I make bold to say that none of them hold tangible water in the court of progressive reasoning.

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