Taiwo Akinlami’s 35 Child Protection CREED (3)

Opening Charge

‘As a way forward, I strongly advise custodians, particularly parents to promote interaction with the children under their care children in the native dialect. We must recognize that the greatest weapon of cultural preservation is the language of a people.’ 

CREED 3

Custodians of the Child must as a matter of necessity EMBRACE the Triple M Principle: MODELLING, MENTORING and MOULDING: This begins with understanding the purpose of raising children…

Mentoring: mentoring is one of the inevitable responsibilities of every responsible custodian of the child. By mentoring we refer to a WISE and TRUSTED counsellor or coach. I will like emphasise the inevitable roles of WISDOM, which must be deliberately acquired and TRUST, which must be build with faith, time, discipline and patience.

Here are the words of Susan Wesley: ‘I am a woman, but I am also the mistress of a large family… I cannot but look upon every soul…under my charge as a talent committed to me under a trust. I am neither a man nor a minister, yet as a mother and a mistress I felt I ought to do more than I had yet done. I resolved to begin with my own children; in which I observe, the following method: I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty, Wednesday with Nancy, Thursday with Jacky, Friday with Patty, Saturday with Charles…’

In accomplishing mentoring I recommend The Susan Wesley 16 Rules with which she raised her children, who included John Wesley, the founder of Methodist Church and Charles Wesley, who wrote more than 6,000 Christian hymns:

  1. No eating between meals.
  2. All children in bed by 8:00pm
  3. Take your medicine without complaining
  4. Subdue self will in each child.
  5. Work with God to save the soul of each child.
  6. Teach child to pray as soon as he can speak
  7. Require all to be still during family worship
  8. Give children nothing they cry for
  9. Give them only what they ask for politely
  10. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed
  11.  Do not allow a sinful act to go unpunished
  12. Command and reward good behavior
  13.  Preserve property rights, even in the smallest matters
  14.  Strictly observe all promises.
  15.  Require no daughter to work before she can read well.
  16.  Teach children to fear the rod.

Before I leave the issue of mentoring, I will like to share with you something we are all overlooking today-our native language. The truth of the matter is that our traditional languages are going into extinction. Nobody wants to touch them with a long pole. We have all fallen for foreign languages. It is considered a sign of civilisation when a child cannot speak his/her mother tongues. We see it as a major disgrace if our children cannot communicate effectively with foreign language. It is a pathetic sign of neo-colonialism. It is call voluntary colonialism.

As a way forward, I strongly advise custodians, particularly parents to promote interaction with the children under their care children in the native dialect. We must recognize that the greatest weapon of cultural preservation is the language of a people. Please note here that when I talk about culture, I mean the values of a people, which agree with the universal principles of how God created this world to function.

I share the lucid thoughts of Olakunle Soriayn that a foreign language should not be the determinant factor of progress in one’s own country. It is important to note that language has been identified as a tool of cultural and national emancipation. Here is Frantz Fanon’s view on this matter of language: I ascribe a basic importance to the phenomenon of language. To speak means to be in a position to use certain syntax, to grasp the morphology of this or that language, but it means above all to assume a culture, to support the weight of a civilization…Speaking French means that one accepts, or is coerced into accepting, the collective consciousness of the French.’

Modelling: It is an established truth that childrenlook to the custodians for direction. Such direction is not necessarily by what the custodians say but by what they do. Let share with you profound principles on modelling:

  • Margaret E. Stephenson in her forward to Maria Montessori’s ‘The Secret of Childhood’ as follows: ‘in whatever country a child may be born is endowed with what Dr. Montessori called the ‘the absorbent mind…’  This absorbent mind does not only take language and reproduce it. It absorbs all that makes for the culture of the country and creates the native, the man of a particular time and place. Did the Frenchman learn to be French, the American, American, the Hindu, Hindu after he entered school? The absorption of culture, of customs, of ideas, ideals, of sentiments, feeling, emotions, religion, take place during the period of the absorbent mind, in the child from zero to six. This quite obviously is going on all over the world.’
  • Dr. Wade F. Horn in his article, ‘Why There Is No Substitute for Parents,’ in the book Profiles of Success as follows: ‘Parents socialize children through two mechanisms. The first is teaching through direct instruction reinforced by a combination of rewards and punishments for acceptable and unacceptable behavior. The second is teaching by example. Of the two, the latter is the more important mechanism since most complex human behavior is acquired through observational learning. Children are much more likely to do as a parent does than as parent says. This is why parents who lie and cheat tend to raise children who lie and cheat, despite any direct instruction to the contrary. As Benjamin Franklin once observed, the best sermon is indeed a good example.’
  • Brian Mast wrote as  about Zig Ziglar as follows: ‘His mother worked hard to keep the family going, and Ziglar adds, “She was not only the hardest-working person I’ve ever known, but she was probably the wisest person I’ve ever known” Though she had only a fifth-grade education, her insight helped shape Ziglar’s thinking. Even at a young age, he remembers noticing that some children had things he didn’t have, but he was grateful for a loving mother who had great faith and raised her children on hard work and character.’

 In view of the recognition of the impact of modelling on children upbringing, the custodians of the mind of the child must make a commitment that the entirety of their life will be defined by visionary existence, purpose and principle-based living and missionary dedication in The-Best-Interest-of-the-Child.

Moulding: thegoal of mentoring and modelling is moulding of the child in godly image. Mentoring and modelling is to provide a mode for the child to conform to. It must therefore be the ultimate goals of the custodians to ensure that children are moulded into a complete child.

I hope you found your visit and stay here today worth your time. I hope to see you here tomorrow. Stay INSPIRED.

Think the child…Think Today…Think Tomorrow…

POINT 2 PONDER:

‘It is an established truth that children look to the custodians for direction. Such direction is not necessarily by what the custodians say but by what they do.’

NOTE THESE:

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Taiwo Akinlami’s 35 Child Protection CREED (2)

CREED 2

Opening Charge

‘Unfortunately a child being brought up under difficult circumstances is being brought up to live a difficult life. It also most unfortunately that since the state of humanity is in the hands of the child as revealed by Abraham Lincoln, it is not only the child, who is being prepared for a difficult life, it is his/her entire area of influence, it is the entire humanity.’

A child being brought up under any other arrangement is a compromise, which defines a child being brought up under DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES

I will like to begin discussing this creed with the words of Gary Chapman in his book, The Four Seasons of Marriage that, ‘I explored ethnographies compiled by various anthropologists. One conclusive finding of these studies was that marriage between a man and a woman is the central, social building block in every human society, without exception. It is also true that monogamous, lifelong marriage is the universal cultural norm.’

The foregoing corroborates the first creed. I am here to submit today that any child who is not brought up under the environment painted in the first creed is a child being brought up under difficult circumstances. Let me quickly submit that many children in Africa are being brought up on very difficult circumstances. Unfortunately a child being brought up under difficult circumstances is being brought up to live a difficult life. It also most unfortunately that since the state of humanity is in the hands of the child as revealed by Abraham Lincoln, it is not only the child, who is being prepared for a difficult life, it is his/her entire area of influence, it is the entire humanity. Many are children, who are being brought up in troubled homes. By the standard of our society, these homes are not troubled.

I consider children being brought up in polygamous homes as children being brought under difficult circumstances. I consider children being brought up in broken homes as being brought up under difficult circumstances. I consider children being brought up by single parents as children being brought under difficult circumstances. I consider children being brought up under hostile step parents as children under difficult circumstances. I consider children being brought by warring parents as children being brought under difficult circumstances. I consider children being brought up by live-in lovers and same sex couples as children being brought up under difficult circumstances. I consider children being brought up by their grandparents as children being brought up under difficult circumstances. I consider children being raised in orphanages as children being brought up under difficult circumstances. I consider children being brought up under abject poverty as children being brought up under difficult circumstances. I consider children in conflict with the law as children being brought up under difficult circumstances. I consider children on the street as children being brought up under difficult circumstances. I consider child soldiers as children being brought up under difficult circumstances. I consider children who are labelled witches and are being persecuted by their own parents and communities as children being brought up under difficult circumstances. I consider children who are exposed to child sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and abuse by neglect as children being brought up under difficult circumstances. I consider children, who have no access to quality education as children being brought up under difficult circumstances. I consider children who are left to fend for themselves as children being brought up under difficult circumstance. I consider children who are subjected to child labour as children being brought up under difficult circumstances.

You see, the list is endless. The foundation of all the circumstances I have outlined above is the dysfunctional family. A family the does not measure up to the universal definition of families as enumerated in my first creed and the definition given by Gary Chapman. I have in the last three years sat in a Family/Children Reconciliation Committee anchored by UNICEF and charged with the responsibilities of reconciling children on the street with their parents in Lagos State. I must say that family breakdown account for 99.9 percent of the cases of children on the street. Poverty plays a major role but family breakdown play a bigger role.

That many of our children are being brought up under difficult circumstances as a result of the failure of the family system is real. Let me take child labour for example. I hope we know that according to International Labour Organisation Study there are 15 million children under the age of 14 working in Nigerian. 64 percent are street vendors, 13 percent are beggars, 4 percent are shoe shiners, 6 percent are car watchers/washers, 5 percent are scavengers and 8 percent are feet washers. Another 24 percent are mechanic apprentice, mechanic and vulcanizer, 17 percent are bus conductors, iron metal workers are 6 percent, carpenters and tailors/weavers are 14 percent each, hairdresser/barber are 18 percent and caterers are 8 percent. Many whose numbers could not be identified are engaged as domestic servant/slaves and farm, factory and quarry workers.

What about children, who are being brought up in orphanages. Do you know that as at 2007 according to a study carried out by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and support by UNICEF there are 3, 481 children being raised in orphanages all over the country. Please do not get me wrong, though many of the orphanages in Nigeria are not running according to international standard, there are very few who are doing very well and are genuinely committed to the cause of the children under their care. The truth however is this, no matter how committed the operators of orphanages are, it is difficult for them to meet the needs of the child. Children are not designed to be brought up in orphanages. Therefore the best run orphanages do not still have all that it takes to bring up complete children. Please note that I accept completely that orphanages are meeting critical needs in our country today and they must therefore not only be encouraged but also commended.

As the next phase of development I advocate adoption and foster parenting by informed families. I advocate the Charles Loring Brace Model, who removed children from the streets and placed them with willing families. I will like to end the discussion on this creed with the inspiring story of Charles Loring Brace: Brace’s mother died when he was 14, and he was raised by his father, a history teacher. He graduated from Yale in 1846 and then went on to study divinity and theology at Yale, but left to study at Union Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1849.

In 1853, Brace established the Children’s Aid Society. Brace witnessed many children in New York City who lived in poverty with parents who abused alcohol, engaged in criminal activity, and were unfit parents. These children were sent to beg for money and sell newspapers and matches in the streets. They became known as “street Arabs” or “the dangerous classes” due to the street violence and gangs they inevitably became a part of. In some cases, children as young as five years old would be sent to jails where adults were imprisoned as well. The police referred to these children as “street rats”.

According to an essay written by Brace in 1872, one crime and poverty ridden area around Tenth Avenue was referred to as “Misery Row”. Misery Row was considered to be a main breeding ground of crime and poverty, and an inevitable “fever nest” where disease spread easily. Other children who were orphans or runaways found themselves drifting into this destitute area, as well as the old sheds of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Streets. Such was the severity of child poverty in 1854 that the number of homeless children in New York City was estimated as high as 34,000.

Although orphanages existed, Brace did not believe they were worthwhile institutions because they merely served the purpose of feeding the poor and providing handouts. He felt that such institutions only deepened the dependence of the poor on charity. Brace was also influenced by the writings of Edward Livingstone, a pioneer in prison reform who believed that the best way to deal with crime and poverty was to prevent it. Brace focused on finding jobs and training for poor and destitute children so they could help themselves. His initial efforts in social reform included free kindergartens, free dental clinics, job placement, training programs, reading rooms, and lodging houses for boys.

Brace endeavoured to place children into farm families of northern New York State, the Midwest and, after the American Civil War, some southern and a few western states. From 1853 to 1864, 384 children were sent each year to families in New England states, the North Atlantic states and East North Central states. Nearly 1,000 children per year were sent from 1865 1874 to Michigan, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri through Brace’s “Emigration Plan”, now known as “The Orphan Trains”. “In every American community, especially in a western one, there are many spare places at the table of life,” Brace wrote. “They have enough for themselves and the stranger too.” …Brace did away with the centuries-old custom of indenture so that the “placed” children were allowed to leave a home if they were uncomfortable with the placement. Brace’s vision of migrating children to live with the western Christian farming families was widely supported by wealthy New York families – the first $50 was given by Mrs. John Astor in 1853.

The Children’s Aid Society (CAS), the best-known organization finding homes for children, made efforts to screen the host families and follow up on the welfare of placed children. By 1909, at the first White House Conference on Dependent Children, the country’s top social reformers praised the CAS’ emigration movement, but argued that children should either be kept with their natal families or, if they were removed as a result of parental neglect or abuse, every effort should be made to place the child in a foster home nearby. In a report in 1910, the Children’s Aid Society estimated that 87 percent of children placed by the Orphan Train program had done well. While there was occasional abuse, most people agreed that over all, the children were generally better off than on the streets of big cities without proper food, clothing and shelter.

By 1920, the CAS and approximately 1500 other agencies and institutions had placed approximately 150,000 children in the largest migration or resettlement of children in American history. The CAS’ Orphan Train movement ended in 1929, 75 years after it had begun as a social experiment. To this day, Brace is honoured and revered for his compassionate work with the street children of New York City. He helped 400,000 children with the orphan train.

I hope you found your visit and stay here today worth your time. I hope to see you here tomorrow. Stay INSPIRED.

Think the child…Think Today…Think Tomorrow…

POINT 2 PONDER:

‘I have in the last three years sat in a Family/Children Reconciliation Committee anchored by UNICEF and charged with the responsibilities of reconciling children on the street with their parents in Lagos State. I must say that family breakdown account for 99.9 percent of the cases of children on the street. Poverty plays a major role but family breakdown play a bigger role.’

NOTE THESE:

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Taiwo Akinlami’s 35 Child Protection CREED(1)

Opening Charge

‘Children are more of products of environment, more than they are products of instructions. The foregoing Maria Montessori has successfully laboured to establish. The foundation of voluntary marriage between a man and woman, who love each other and live together in unity, is the God-ordained environment in which a child should be born and raised.’  

What is a creed? A creed represents article of faith. It can also be referred to as a statement belief. I have been involved in pleading the cause of the African Child since February 16, 1997.

The mandate is to bring to the very front burner of the conscience and consciousness of individuals, private and public institutions the rights and responsibilities of the African Child for due respect in the best interest of the child.

I will be sharing with you in the work my article of faith or statement of belief, which represents the pillars of my crusade as identified in the mandate above. I have identified 35 (thirty-five) of them, which I live and share often with my areas of influence. This article of faith is core to my crusade and persuasions about Child’s Rights and Responsibilities. They are predicated upon God’s ordained universal principles which are unchangeable.

To make a difference in the lives of children, I humbly propose that custodians in the lives of the child must dutifully imbibe the creed I am about to share. I also believe that children, depending on the state of their development and must be taught the creed to enable them live up to their responsibilities.

I will not take much of your time. Join me as we journey into the land of my Child Protection CREED.

CREED 1

A family instituted by a man and a woman, who are married and LOVE each other and live in UNITY is the best environment to bring up a child.

I believe that children are to be brought up by a family constituting of a man and woman, who are joined together in marriage and live in unity. Please let me deal with the operating words here.

The first is the definition of a family. This has become important in view of many strange practices, which are not acceptable to universal principles established by God from the beginning of creation. I will begin by stating what I believe a family is not. A family cannot be a man and a man or a woman and a woman living together or claiming to be married. A family cannot be a man living with a group of women as wives or vice versa. A family cannot be a man and a woman, who are live-in lovers. The foundation of family is the union of a man and woman, who are joined together in marriage and decide to give expression to the God-ordained mandate to raise children. Please note that the phrase, ‘joined together’ envisages that both parties consented to being joined together.

Another operating word is LOVE. It is not enough for a man and woman to be joined together, they must love one another dearly and selflessly before they are qualified to raise children. I will like to define love here as a selfless commitment to one another and the peace and stability of the marriage institution. Please pay attention to the word, unity. It is very fundamental. The issue is, when parents are not united, they cannot raise focused and disciplined children. As I always say, ‘parents, who are not united, are not raising children, but supporters club.’

I have also said that one of the reasons for sibling rivalries is disunity among parents. Disunity is a spirit and a very contagious one for that matter. Once it is permitted in the family by husband and wife, it takes automatically takes its place among the children. The truth is that if there is not unity between the father and mother, how will there be unity between father, mother and the children?

Children are more of products of environment, more than they are products of instructions. The foregoing Maria Montessori has successfully laboured to establish. The foundation of voluntary marriage between a man and woman, who love each other and live together in unity, is the God-ordained environment in which a child should be born and raised.

Please not that the foregoing definition is without prejudice to single parenting occasioned by the death of either spouse or step or foster parenting, which may be occasioned by many unavoidable circumstances. The fundamental issue is that a child is best raised by father and mother figures, who are married by consent, love one another and live together in unity.

Thank you for visiting today. Do have an INSPIRED Day.

Think the child…Think Today…Think Tomorrow…

POINT 2 PONDER:

A family instituted by a man and a woman, who are married and LOVE each other and live in UNITY is the best environment to bring up a child.’

NOTE THESE:

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Child’s Rights and Discipline: The UNCOMMON Theory (30)

Opening Charge

‘Any time custodians do not make room for the frailties of the young ones, they are not raising children but fearful slaves.  Anywhere children or adults are not allowed to give expression to their humanity creates nothing but siege mentality. The only thing they will be looking for is that day of emancipation. The human spirit is not created to be caged and chastised for what is normal.’

I was safe under the weather for the whole of last week. I guess my body successfully planned and executed a coup against me after many unheeded demands for some rest. Thank God for the coup. I think I am better off for it. Due to my sabbatical under the weather, I was not able to make it to this page for the whole of last week.

I am glad to be back to complete the topic I began many weeks ago. I will be sharing the 25th and the last core habit of a purposeful, disciplined and effective disciplinarian: do not discipline a child for human frailty.

Children are human and they do make mistakes. We must be in a position as custodians to differentiate between their errors which are as a result of their human frailties and errors, which are borne out of rebellion. Custodians have a responsibility to ensure they helps children to overcome the tendency to be rebellious. It is however an attack on the humanity of the child for the custodians to chastise a child for errors, which occur as a result of human frailties. Let me give some example. Many custodians chastise children on this part of the world for breaking plates in the process of washing them out of our human error. Children are often mercilessly beaten for misplacing money, with which they are sent on errand to buy an item for the family. The custodians are not interested in the events leading to the child’s errors; they are more interest in the value of the plate broken or the money missing.

Growing up, it was an abomination to break plates for any reason. It was an unpardonable sin for  misplace money with which you were sent on errand. You must not spill water or milk. I grew up under an acute confusion and siege mentality. The acute confusion comes from the fact that I saw my parents broke plates countless times also. I expected them to cane themselves. They would not even comment about it. They would even cane me that I did not sweep the particles of the broken plates on time. In retrospect I felt it was double standard for my parents to chastise me for breaking plates and they would excuse themselves. I began to think that considering that they were supposed to be more matured in age and therefore more responsible and careful, they should have received greater measure of chastisement for breaking plates. Alas they did not receive any kind of chastisement.

Any time custodians do not make room for the frailties of the young ones, they are not raising children but fearful slaves.  Anywhere children or adults are not allowed to give expression to their humanity, it creates nothing but a siege mentality. The only thing they will be looking for is that day of emancipation. The human spirit is not created to be caged and chastised for what is normal. I know what I am talking about because this was exactly how I felt growing up. There was no breathing space for human errors and maturation of human actions. Mistakes, which were common to man were treated like capital punishments.

Custodians, these things ought not to be so. I therefore beg you to watch out for this in attempt to raise disciplined children. I know a lot of us have good intentions. But alas, good intention is not enough. My parents meant well but their good intention was not strong enough to shield me from the impact of their wrong upbringing.

Well I think I will like to rest my case on this piece today. I hope you found it worth all the time invested to read same. Please join me tomorrow as I began to share with you My 35(thirty-five) Child Protection CREEDS. I am sure you will find it helpful and interesting. Do have an INSPIRED day.

Think the child…Think Today…Think Tomorrow…

POINT 2 PONDER:

‘Children are human and they do make mistakes. We must be in a position as custodians to differentiate between their errors which are as a result of their human frailties and errors, which are borne out of rebellion.’

NOTE THESE:

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Child’s Rights and Discipline: The UNCOMMON Theory (29)

Opening Charge

‘Only love, even when it is tough breaks a ‘tough’ child. How do I define tough love here? It is the commitment of the custodians to take sacrificial actions which may not be convenient for the child and the custodians and may not be fully understood by the child but is carefully conceived and rooted in the preservation of the dignity of the child and the hope for positive change. Prejudice is a death warrant to the soul of the child. It is a conclusion, which does not give room to the capacity of the child to change.’

Please join me today as I share with you the 24th core habit of a purposeful, disciplined and effective disciplinarian: No room for prejudice

What is prejudice? It means narrow-mindedness, intolerance, injustice, unfairness. It is for all intents and purposes evil, unproductive and destructive. Discrimination, racism and class oppression are all vibrant brainchildren of prejudice.

Our world has lost prohibitively to the evil of prejudice. When I say our world, I refer to our individual, private and public lives. Many are lives, which have been claimed by prejudice. Many are meaningful and fruitful relationships that could not be struck as a result of prejudice. Bright destinies of individuals, families, corporations, nations and continents have been lost to the venom of prejudice. Or what do we think was the real cause of the pogrom of the Second World War, the segregation in the United States of America for which Martin Luther King Junior gave his life, the dehumanising injustice of apartheid in South Africa, the genocide in Rwanda and the most recent infamous activities of different terrorist groups, who are committed to forcing their persuasions on our world?

As much havoc as prejudice has caused our world, unfortunately, the world is yet to learn its lessons. This is one area where most of us have become the addressees of George Bernard Shaw’s lamentation that The lesson of history is that we don’t learn the lessons of history.’ Shaw found corroboration in the words of Aldous Huxley when he submitted, ‘that men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach” The result is clear. ‘Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,’ says Sir Winston Churchill.

My mission here today is not necessarily to convince the world about the evil of prejudice and to get us to learn from history.  Though, I would have loved to do that, but I think it is wise for me to focus my energy on the number one brewing ground of prejudice. My mission here is focus on the family, where all the seeds of prejudice are sown either by direct abuse on the child or the children being treated by the custodians with prejudice. I hope we know that the likes of Adolf Hitler and his fellow criminals against humanity were raised in families. The seeds of prejudice were sown in their lives in their homes. Some of them were subjected to outright abuse while some were tagged and treated with prejudice.

I hope we know that when a child is abused, he grows up to become and angry adult. One of the major attributes of anger is bitterness. Bitterness breeds intolerance. Intolerance is the ever effective fuel which helps prejudice to ravage a mind. Please note that the more peaceful a man is, the larger his heart is going to be and the more accommodating and receptive to other people’s ideas he is going to be. But an angry mind is closed and embraces any means that will help him give the world a taste of his bitterness.

Having addressed how child abuse leads to prejudice, I will like to focus the rest of my attention to how tagging and treating a child with prejudice ends up giving to our world the undeserving gift of prejudiced adults. I mean when children become prejudiced in life because they were treated with prejudice by their custodians. It is important to note here that one major source of prejudice is the experience of prejudice. Many custodians today treat the child with prejudice in the name of instilling discipline.

This is how it works. A child is tagged stubborn by the custodians because of his/her consistent records of disobedience. The custodians begin to relate with the child from premeditated responses. The written conclusion of the custodians is that the child is irredeemable and can never do right. It is so bad that if something goes wrong and the custodians are not able to find those behind it, they will automatically conclude it is the child tagged, stubborn. In fact the custodians, in most cases will not make any efforts to investigate a matter before they point accusing fingers to the child christened, stubborn. He is permanently guilty. He is guilty by the premeditated judgment of the custodians.

Such was my story when I was in the primary school. I was named the devil by my teacher when I was age 9 in Primary 3, when I lost a friend during our tree climbing game. By the time the name gained ground, I had become labelled. One day, I was in front of my class playing with sand when female pupils stood in front of me and pointed me to a teacher and said, ‘he is the one.’ Without asking me any question, the teacher bundled me to the staff room and gave me the canning of my life. Till today, I did not know what I did wrong. All I know is that I never had any trouble with anybody on that day, not even in my dreams or nightmares.

The other way prejudices plays out is that a child, who is considered stubborn, gets stiffer chastisement than his/her generally obedient counterpart. At that point the child knows that it is not his wrong that is being chastised for but for his person. The custodians have equated the child with his/her wrong. The implication is that the child must act wrong. He must produce after his/her kind. He must answer the name he/she has been called by the prejudiced custodian.

What is if the stiffer chastisement is to break the child? Good question. I must say that prejudice is a tool of dehumanisation. Dehumanisation does not break anyone, including a child. It hardens him/her. It robs the child of his/her humanity. Only love, even when it is tough breaks a ‘tough’ child. How do I define tough love here? It is the commitment of the custodians to take sacrificial actions which may not be convenient for the child and the custodians and may not be fully understood by the child but is carefully conceived and rooted in the preservation of the dignity of the child and the hope for positive change. Prejudice is a death warrant to the soul of the child. It is a conclusion, which does not give room to the capacity of the child to change.

Prejudice closes the door against repentance and turn around on the side of the child. It gets the child to make up his mind to live according to the belief of the custodians. When the child senses this he/she gives up on himself/herself and signs up for the conclusion of the prejudice, which in real terms is nothing but a myth predicated on the incomplete experiences of the custodians. The truth is that with the right coach, change is an ever present possibility for any living soul, who is inspired to take responsibility.

The story was told of a boy, who was christened stubborn by the custodians in a school. He was brought to the staff room by a classmate. As his teacher sighted him, he stood from his table and shouted, ‘you again? Didn’t I tell you I don’t want to see you in this staff room again for the rest of this term? You are in hot soup for being brought here again.’ As he approached to the child, the classmate, who brought him, said to the teacher, ‘he is seriously ill. He has been vomiting. I brought him so that he could be granted permission to go home.’ One would have thought the teacher would eat the humble pie, apologise accordingly and release the child to go home. The teacher responded, ‘why wouldn’t he be sick, when he is too stubborn.’ The child at that point burst into tears and so was his classmate. Yet the teacher did not bat an eyelid, he just walked back to his table, scribbled the permission and gave it to the child.

Please note that it may be necessary to take into consideration the history of a child’s disobedience in dealing with a fresh case. I however believe that such consideration must not lead the custodians to deny the child the open-mindedness that is required to give the child justice. Custodians must have the discipline and maturity to dispassionately look at every issue on its own merit without prejudiced generalisation.

Please note that since the child learns through observation, he/she learns prejudice from the treatment he or she receives from his/her custodians.

In conclusion, I must address the issue of tagging a child stubborn. I will like to say that the roots of what we call stubbornness are discussed as follows: The instability of the custodians to provide leadership to the child. It is important to note that a child has five basic needs and the number one is that a child needs someone to believe. The second cause is that the child is when the custodians because of their lack of knowledge of child development become agitated for what is normal. The third source is when the child is following the footsteps of the custodians. I guess the point I man trying to make is that the child’s stubbornness is directly traceable to the doorstep of the custodians. My story earlier told also teaches me that in some cases the tagging of the child stubborn or notorious may be a pure but pathetic product of the imbalance and error of judgement of the custodian. The issue is I was named the devil by my teacher not because of my records of disobedience but because of something I did not do. My undoing was that I was with a friend when he fell from a tree and died. The foundation of my labelling was wrong accusation and I had to carry the cross dutifully though painfully for many years. It is so sad. Give every child a chance to change. Stay INSPIRED.

Think the child…Think Today…Think Tomorrow…

POINT 2 PONDER:

Please note that since the child learns through observation, he/she learns prejudice from the treatment he or she receives from his/her custodians.’

NOTE THESE:

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Child’s Rights and Discipline: The UNCOMMON Theory (28)

‘While my father’s diaries were not mainly designed to keep the offence of the children, it created a picture in my mind of how many custodians keep mental diaries of the wrongs of the children under their custody for the purpose of continuous  anger and chastisement.’

Please join me today as I share with you the 23rd core habit of a purposeful, disciplined and effective disciplinarian: Do not keep record of wrong

While growing up, my father kept diaries. They were diaries of offence where he religiously kept records of my mother’s wrongs and possibly that of the children. He kept the diaries to his very chest to ensure that the secrets therein and the deepest of his opinions were not revealed. I guess anytime he wanted to get angry, he would visit his diaries and pronto he would be inspired to get angry

While my father’s diaries were not mainly designed to keep the offence of the children, it created a picture in my mind of how many custodians keep mental diaries of the wrongs of the children under their custody for the purpose of continuous chastisement. I have worked with custodians of differing influence in the last 15 years and I can say only few are free from keeping the records of wrongs of the child for further chastisement.

In respect of an institution of learning, should the school keep the record of a child’s wrong? I believe an institution of learning should keep the records of the child’s development, containing his/her challenges and strengths. The purpose must be to monitor improvement or otherwise. If improvement is noticed the child is encouraged. And if deterioration is noticed, the school keeps finding the best way to help the child until the child gives up on discipline. The purpose of keeping the records of the child’s behaviour must not be to rob it in each time he/she does anything wrong in the school. The behaviour of the child, no matter how notorious it may be must not warrant double jeopardy, which is how I see keeping records for the purpose of torturing the child.

It is my charge that once a matter is dealt with in respect of disciplining a child, it should be considered dealt with. Even when the child displays a related attitude, we must do our best to treat it as an independent matter that it is. We may take note of the trend to help us in the treatment of the matter, but not by necessarily mentioning to the child. And if we are going to mention it at all, it must be in the process of reasoning with child to find a solution to an attitude, which is becoming an unproductive habit. In situation like this, we are approaching the child from a position of concern and using the tone of care. The goal here is to analyse the trend of behaviour to the child, perhaps he/she has not been able to trace it that way and the impact therefore.

When the foregoing exercise is skilfully and carefully done, it helps the child to make necessary adjustment. The foregoing exercise must take into consideration the age and development of the child as this may only apply to grown-up children, particularly of teenage age.

I may not spend too much time here today. I feel I have been able to drive my point home. All I am saying is that we must not keep record of wrongs of the children under our custody. It will only lead to anger and double jeopardy, which in turn will create nothing but anger and bitterness in our children. Stay INSPIRED.

Think the child…Think Today…Think Tomorrow…

POINT 2 PONDER:

‘It is my charge that once a matter is dealt with in respect of disciplining a child, it should be considered dealt with. Even when the child displays a related attitude, we must do our best to treat it as an independent matter that it is.

NOTE THESE

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Child’s Rights and Discipline: The UNCOMMON Theory (27)

Opening Charge

 ‘One of her attributes, which caught my attention, was her readiness to admit her wrong and apologise accordingly to the children. She sometimes would hug the children and would weep in compassion as she apologises to them or takes time to explain her point of view. You would have thought that the children would take advantage of her kind-hearted disposition. No, they did not they appreciated her for that. In fact they love her dearly. When we deliberately admit our humanity and foibles in our relationship with people, including children, it wins us honour and cooperation. But when we shield them and the people find out, which they are bound to, they lose respect for us.’

Please join me today as I share with you the 22nd core habit of a purposeful, disciplined and effective disciplinarian: Apologise if wrongly accused the child

Mrs Elisabeth is an unusual custodian. She has taught in the college for some years. She is the hero of many of the pupils, who have passed through her. She is not perfect like every custodian and she is quick to tell you so. The question is, why does she stand out in the midst of all her fellow teachers? Well, it is very simple. She has no point to prove with the pupils. She is simply naked and not ashamed. She is strict and yet tender. She is firm and yet humane. She is decisive and yet considerate. The pupils celebrate her in no small way. Despite her firmness and strictness, the pupils want to be around her all the time. When the school goes on break, the pupils are not too happy because they would miss the company of Mrs Elisabeth.

Mrs Elisabeth is also a mother and grandmother. She sees the children like her own children and treated them so. One of the pupils was asked, what he would like to become when he grows up. His response was very instructive, ‘I will like to become Mrs Elisabeth kind of teacher.’ As Mrs. Elisabeth once said, ‘it is an indictment on us teachers that many of the pupils, who have gone through us, do not want to become like us or pursue the teaching profession. It simply means we are not their role models.’

I think Mrs Elisabeth just hit the nail on the head. One of her attributes, which caught my attention was her readiness to admit her wrong and apologise accordingly to the children. She sometimes would hug the children and would weep in compassion as she apologises to them or takes time to explain her point of view. You would have thought that the children would take advantage of her kind-hearted disposition. No, they did not they appreciated her for that. In fact they love her dearly. When we deliberately admit our humanity and foibles in our relationship with people, including children, it wins us honour and cooperation. But when we shield them and the people find out, which they are bound to, they lose respect for us.

The story of Mrs. Elisabeth is very instructive. It teaches us to be ready to acknowledge our humanity and foibles in our dealings with children, particularly in the process of discipline. Since we are human, we are bound to make mistakes. We are bound to commit errors of judgement, even when we have done the best of due diligence and apply caution. In most cases mistake is not a result of carelessness. It is a proof of our humanity. That is why we must know how to differentiate between mistakes and foolishness. Mistake is nothing to be embarrassed about. When we do not accept our mistakes and apologise accordingly when we try to discipline the child, it simply means we are not disciplined with our emotion. It is also means we are teaching the children not to admit their mistakes too in their dealings with others, children and adults. It means we are teaching them to deny their humanity.

Why do we find it difficult to admit our wrong when we discover or it is pointed out to us by another that we are wrong in our judgement in matters relating to child discipline? Or why will a custodian not be able to stand a child coming to him or her to respectfully question her judgement? I think the only answer I have found is lack of insecurity on the part of the custodian.

Once a custodian is not secured, he/she gets into point-proving with the children under his/her care. And once point-proving takes root it gives birth to unhealthy competition and unhealthy competition gives birth to tension and tension gives birth to chaos and chaos gives birth to bitterness. It is important to say that once a custodian begins to get into point-proving with the children under their care, the children will not respect them enough to take instructions from them. In fact once point-proving takes the centre stage, the custodians have lost the child completely and would never be in a position to influence the child.

I think I should round off here. I hope your visit here today has been worth the time. I believe God to be back tomorrow. Do not forget my admonition today; when we find out that we are wrong in our judgement or assessment upon which we based our chastisement of the children under our care, we should not only be ready to apologise, we must also be ready to give reason for our apology. Stay INSPIRED.

Think the child…Think Today…Think Tomorrow…

POINT 2 PONDER:

‘Once a custodian is not secured, he/she gets into point-proving with the children under his/her care. And once point-proving takes root it gives birth to unhealthy competition and unhealthy competition gives birth to tension and tension gives birth to chaos and chaos gives birth to bitterness.’

NOTE THESE:

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