Identifying 41 Human Hindrances to the Protection of the Child’s Rights(6)

Welcome to this page today. Good to know that children returned to school this week. Protection issues keep coming up. Most rampant are cases of kidnapping, sexual, physical and emotional abuses. Our field experiences in the last 14 years have shown that the most effective antidote is enlightenment as we do here weekly.

So as the schools resume, our major interests as stakeholders in the life of the child (parents, guardians, school owners, teachers and all) should be if our schools are prepared to protect the children.

On our part, we have continued to reach out teachers in schools with our TeacherFIRE™ program, aimed at raising the consciousness of teachers on child protection. Why teachers, you may ask? The Economist Magazine of January 4, 2011 provides an answer, “BUDGET, CURRICULUM, CLASS SIZE– NONE HAS A GREATER EFFECT ON A STUDENT THAN HIS OR HER TEACHER.”

In the pursuit of the foregoing, we have taken the protection message to more than 3,000 teachers within and outside Lagos in the last 1 year both in private and public schools.  The program has been hosted by Lagos Empowerment and Research Network (L.E.A.R.N), a non-governmental organization initiated by the First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Abimbola Fashola on April 15, 2010 for 600 public school teachers in Lagos State.

I make bold to say today without fear and favour that the program, which is highly commended and recommended by UNICEF’s Education Specialist has become a credible yardstick to measure teachers’ child protection compliance in public and private school today.

As you are urged to ask your children’s schools if they are TeacherFIRE™ compliant, joint me as we continue our journey with the 17th human hindrance to the protection of the rights of the child.

17 IMPROPERLY CONSTITUTED SCHOOL BOARD: a board is the mind of a company or organisation. The peace of a company or organisation is dependent on the soundness of its board, both in terms of integrity, intelligence, skill and experience. Therefore the area of core business of a company should determine the membership of the board.

For example, the law firm that I led registered businesses, incorporated companies and social works for clients. It is a non-negotiable requirement of the Corporate Affairs Corporation that for you to register a professional organisation either as company or social work, you must have an expert in the area of your endeavour on your board of directors or board of trustees.

It has been found that beyond meeting the requirement of the Corporate Affairs Commission, many schools do not take time to select the board members of their schools according to the needs of the child for excellent, enduring education and the best interest of the child. It is common practice today for schools to be run by one-man board or in some cases by a board of two. Many are schools that are run by a passive board.

Many schools, who make this mistake, do not understand that the dividends of a school system are the lives changed and that they have a duty to give to the society finished products and not factory rejects. Since the board represents the mind of the school, a school without a properly constituted and active board cannot boast of proper policies, which protect the interests of all and every area of the life of the child. I must quickly add, before I leave this point that it is the responsibility of parents to find out what and how a school is being run before registering their children there.

18. THE HEAD TEACHER: A HEAD teacher is the one, who doesn’t understand that he has a responsibility beyond ministering to the head of the child. He focuses on the head and doesn’t care about developing the heart of the child. He does not understand that he is a social worker in whose hand lie the responsibility to develop a complete child, the head and the heart.

The head of the child is touched with knowledge while the heart is touched by compassion. Thus Roosevelt said and I verily believe him, ‘nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.’ The HEAD teacher does not understand that when the head is full of knowledge and the heart is not refined, the head uses the knowledge against its owner, against his family, against fellow children and against the society. Someone said intelligence without emotional balance will lead to wickedness. My teacher in Primary 3 did not understand the difference between being a HEAD teacher and a HEART Teacher.  I will share with you my story in full next week.

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Identifying 41 Human Hindrances to the Protection of the Child’s Rights(5)

Welcome to the most beautiful weekend you ever lived. We are set to continue the journey, as we began four bus stops away, four weeks ago. I guess it is a critical journey, which none of us must vow not to miss.

For those, who did not start with us, please send me a mail, I will reach out to the comfort of my magnanimity to send you the soft copies of the editions you missed.

Last week, we stopped at the 12th human hindrance. Please, put your minds together as we take our journey from the 13th human hindrance, and make it a point of duty to watch out for yourself as we go on in this journey and make up your mind to make necessary adjustments.

13. The Perfectionist: These ones do not take it easy with themselves or with their children. They consistently forget that no one is perfect and that their children do not expect them to be perfect. All that is expected of them is to be comfortable with their mistakes and teach the children under their care to do same.

The perfectionist sees the child as a balm with which to massage his ego. Their first error begins with the fact that they want to be perfect custodians of the life of the child. Therefore, they find it difficult to analyse their mistakes, immortalise the lessons as a keys to better decisions in future, and above all forgive themselves.

Their second error is that they want to raise perfect children. Therefore, they become snares to their children, loading them with rules that no man, even an adult is created to follow. The irony is that if they have just stopped to take a look at their own lives, they would have found that they themselves have not been able to follow the rules they load their children with. While we have a responsibility to raise our children well, we do not have the responsibility to be perfect or give our children the impression that we are perfect or give the children the perspective of life that they have to be perfect or relate with only perfect people.

If a child is raised by a perfectionist he becomes fastidious and if care is not taken, he repels people.  I urge the perfectionist, the words of Dr. Henker: ‘stop trying to perfect your child, but keep trying to perfect your relationship with him.’

14. The Child Silencer: These ones do not see the child, not to talk of hearing him/her or respect his/her opinion. They believe the child has no opinion. As far as the Child Silencer is concerned, the child is a robot, who must answer for a programmed command. Tyler Perry said of his father, ‘his only answer to everything was to beat it out of you.’

There is no room for the child to participate in matters that concern him. They also promote the Yoruba philosophy, ‘ki lomode mo?’ That is, ‘what does a child know?’ They forget another Yoruba philosophy, ‘Omode gbon agba gbon la fi dale ife.’ That is, the Ife town came into existence by the combined wisdom of the young and the old.’

15. The Exploiter: These are wicked men and women who milk the child for pecuniary interest. They are the dull brains behind kidnapping, child trafficking, child prostitution, child labour, and every other form of child exploitation; their hearts are seared with hot iron. Their conscience likewise is deadened.

16. The Deceiver: These are people, who out of their search for food for the belly chose to preach the gospel of children rights crusade. They are often NGO merchants, who delight in robbing gullible donor agencies by presenting before them for funding shoddy projects that are not designed to take off.

They are agencies of government who are feeding fat on the innocent blood of the child. They are in fact drunk with his blood. These ones pretend to love the child but they hate him. It is only someone they use as a pawn in the trade of deception.

Identifying 41 Human Hindrances to the Protection of the Child’s Rights(3-4)

On Thursday, September 1, 2011, same day we metamorphosed from Gilgal Partners to Taiwo Akinlami INSPIRES, I was at Ibadan, Oyo State to inaugurate the Child Protection Network, Oyo State on behalf of Roseline Akinroye, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF. We were hosted by the state ministry of women affairs.

The issues of Child Protection have become major in every part of our country, and Oyo State is not different. Cases of abandoned children, child sexual molestation and the rest, top the list of cases in the state. I am however positive that with the inauguration of the Child Protection Network, the state is about to witness a new order of child protection.

For everyone who is interested in Child Protection, I invite you to join the discussion in progress as I kick of today with the eighth human hindrances to the protection of the rights of the child in Nigeria.

8. The undisciplined/visionless: These are people without regulated standard of behaviour. Their lives are not lived on principles and universal laws of human conducts. They are like a city without walls, providing easy entrance to all trespassers. Since they cannot give what they do not have, they are not able to stuff their children with discipline, values and virtues.

In fact, they spoil the child and make him a victim of the challenges of adulthood. These ones raise children by impulse not by laid down rules and regulations well explained to the child as the acceptable standard of behaviour for his own good.  These ones also do not teach children under their care responsibility. They encourage them knowingly or unknowingly to be liabilities.

9. The timid: These are people, who to a very large extent are aware of the rights of the child but they are not bold enough to speak for the child. They see people trampling on the rights of their wards, they are not bold enough to confront the situation and rescue the children from the hands of oppressors. Often, these are parents, teachers, heads of schools, etc.

10. The careless: These are people who leave the destiny of their wards in the hands of people they cannot vouch for. They leave their children with nannies, whose character they cannot vouch for, whose health history they do not know and will not care to find out. They register their children in crèches, which hygiene and that of its operators they do not verify.

They enroll their children in schools without asking for a checklist of behaviour. They employ teachers, who they cannot vouch for, leaving the collective destiny of the children under their care to chances. They just believe all things on the face of it and put their treasure, their children through same.

11. The selfish: These are small men and women, who think only of today and not of the future. They think about their personal interest first before they think about the child and his best interest. Naturally they don’t see any reason why the boat should be rocked because of the child. It can be rocked about business deals and struggle for political power but not because of the child. There is no war in the world today being fought because of the child but there is no war today that the child is not a victim.

12. The impatient: These ones are in the habit of been shocked with what is normal in the cause of human development and life in general. They are shocked and angry that the child is being a child. They expect the child to assume maturity not because their desire is investigated and found to be supported by nature, but because their patience cannot accommodate nature taking its normal course. They simply frustrate the child. They confuse him and make him a jelly of himself.

Thank you for joining us today. Remember, awareness is superior to enforcement. Therefore if I have you as a believer in this message, win your areas of influence.

Identifying 41 Human Hindrances to the Protection of the Child’s Rights(2)

Welcome to this page today. It is a sober moment for me. My sorrow stems from mindless the bombing of the United Nations Building, Abuja on Friday, August 26, 2011. My sorrow is triple in nature. First, many lives were lost.

At the last count, 23 people have died and 81 injured. Second, one of the most perfect and humble gentleman, who I have worked with in United Nation Child’s Funds on many projects, Geoffrey Njoku was injured. Thank God, he is recuperating.

Third, our government seems to have more to say than to do about this urgent matter of national security. It is frightening that even the much they have to say lacks sincerity and coherence.

I sincerely believe we need to pray for our dearly beloved. But our prayer, we must add credible works. Bob Marley long warned, ‘emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.’ Shall we proceed to our discussion, which we began two weeks ago? Today, I begin with the sixth human hindrance to protection of children’s rights in Nigeria. Sure you are taking notes.

6    THE NAÏVE: These ones take things and life on face-value. They do not read between the lines, understanding that there is more to life than meets the eye. They are too simple to make a difference in the life of the child, as reading between the lines of life does not make sense to them.

These ones do not understand the admonition of the Holy Writ that ‘be gentle as a dove and be wise as serpent.’ They do not also identify with the wisdom in the Jesus Christ philosophy of human interaction, which is that, ‘He knew all men and He did not give Himself to any.’ They are not able to understand and interpret the signs of the times and how they affect their children. The people in this category look but they do not see; they see and they do not interpret; they interpret and they do not act; and they act and they do not act fast enough to salvage a situation that poses danger to their children. The children being brought up by this group of people also see life like them and they are therefore unprepared to face the real challenges of life.

•THE HOPELESS:  these are people, who do not know how to stand by the child in difficult circumstances. They do not believe in the child. They distance themselves from him at the slightest inconvenience. There is no single fibre of hope in their make-up and are easily driven into despondency. They cannot give direction to a troubled child.

They add to the child’s problem through hopelessness and leave him to believe that change is not a possibility. They do not understand that according to Clare Boothe, ‘there are no hopeless situations, there are only hopeless people.’ These are the types, who abandon their physically challenged children. These ones will not stand by their children when they run into trouble. They blame the child for everything.

They do not train their children on how to respond to the challenges of life. The other day I was at a popular secondary school in Lagos, I found a senior secondary school pupil weeping profusely in a corner. I approached her and asked her what the problem was. She responded by saying that her classmates were teasing her because she has ‘k-legs.’

I pulled her out and encouraged her. The pupil may be in a position to help herself if she had been trained by her parents on how to respond to the perception of others to her seeming disability.  A girl child once confided in her lesson teacher that she was tired of attending her school because she had been given a nickname as, Ori.

It was shocking that when the lesson teacher brought this to her mother, she did not empathise with her daughter. She only insisted that the child must continue in the school.

Our time is up and we have been able to discuss seven of the forty human hindrances. Join me next week as we continue this interesting journey.

Thank you for joining us today. Remember, awareness is superior to enforcement. Therefore if I have you as a believer in this message, win your areas of influence.

Identifying 41 Human Hindrances to the Implementation of the Child Rights Act, 2003 (1)

We are about to embark on a very long journey. But I want to assure you it is going to be a very interesting journey. What I am going to be sharing with you is a product of 14 years of field experience and research since the Child’s Rights Act, 2003 was promulgated.

The whole idea of sensitisation predicated on the realisation of the fact that the success or otherwise of the law in protecting the rights and upholding the responsibilities of the Nigerian child is predicated on the attitude of the people to the law. The saying that ‘law is made for man and not man for the law,’ is ever true.

It simply means except man is ready to work the law, the law in itself becomes weak to regulate human behaviour in a sovereign state. I have long concluded that the key to the people’s respect for any law in modern society is social policing. This is a situation where the majority of the citizens are involved in the enforcement of the law by holding themselves and fellow citizens accountable to the provisions of the law.

Social policing, I must say is only achievable through an enlightenment exercise, which focus on educating the generality of the people on the relevance of the law to their social and economic well-being. In the case of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003, our people must understand that the peace of our nation is determined by the peace of our children.

You see, that the human factor is the blood of any cause or project, noble or ignoble is further corroborated by Paul Romer of Stanford University, who has long argued, “great advances have always come from ideas; ideas do not fall from the sky; they come from people. People write the software, design the products and start the new businesses. Every new thing that gives pleasure or productivity or convenience …is the result of human ingenuity.” I think the last sentence is very instructive.

I am of the view that if we must get the cooperation of all the custodians of the life of the child, in protecting the rights and upholding the responsibilities of the child, we must run through what I have come to identify as the forty human hindrances to the enforcement of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003. The goal is for the custodians to know where they stand in the equation and how they can make credible commitments towards improvement.

I am of the honest view that, if we are ready to face the reality of the human hindrances to be shared, every custodian will find himself in at least four of the human hindrances. Here are the forty-one human hindrances:

1. THE SOCIALLY TROUBLED CUSTODIAN: due to the failure of the state that makes the custodians of the mind of the child to carry the social and economic burdens that are meant to be carried by the state, many custodians become crowded and are not able to live up to their responsibilities. The implication of the foregoing is that the custodians of the mind of the child are distracted and caught up in the rat race of survival.

It is a very difficult task for the custodians of the life of the child to play their roles when they are made to carry loads that are meant for the state to carry for them as citizens, from whom the state receives tax. It requires deft discipline, consistent sacrifices and absolute trust in God to survive and make credible impact as custodians of the life of the child.

2. THE VICTIM: Many parents and other stakeholders in the life of the child today are victims of wrong upbringing. The unfortunate thing is that everything produces after its own kind. Therefore, parents and other stakeholders in the life of the child must examine themselves before they embark on the painstaking journey of giving a life, hope and future to the child under a proper parenting plan.