Single Parenting: Another Definition (1)

One voice counts. Someone needs to blow the whistle for action; hence I crawled out of the comfort of my luxurious bedroom to do this short advocacy.

Have you noticed that the term, ‘single parenting’ has taken a new dimension in our country today? We have no thanks to give to the rat race in our country and lack of planning on the part of the most supposedly educated in our country. Many do not make plans before making children. In my work: ‘Taiwo Akinlami’s 35 Child Protection CREED,’ I submitted that one of the greatest tragedy that can befall our world is to bring to this world children without a concrete plan to meet their five (5) basic needs.

People complain that the state of the nation is the reason why parents abandon their children. I beg to disagree. The state of the nation has been with us now for more than three decades. Most of the parents of today were born into the state of the nation. We should have considered the state of the nation before inviting children to this world. It is not by force that we should bring them here. They are safer with God than being brought here to be miserable.

Today, the new definition of single parenting is that though a man and woman are still married and living under same roof, the responsibility of parenting has been delegated to one of the parents, in most cases the woman.  In some extreme cases, which are becoming very common these days, the single parent is the nanny, house helps or both. These people have more influence on the children than the biological parents. I speak at Parents’ Fora of schools from time to time. I have had the privilege of doing this in some of the leading schools in this country.  If 50 people are in attendance, 48 will be women and 2 men. Out of the 48 women at least 10 will be house helps and nannies. I have to leave you on this depressing note though my goal is to inspire. I will continue on Monday by God’s grace. Have an INSPIRED Weekend.

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Children are not Vulnerable, Adults are only Irresponsible

The subject of child vulnerability is on top of my mind this day. It is often said that children are vulnerable. Children are not vulnerable, I beg to declare. I believe that the vulnerability of the child is not in his fragility but in the inability of the custodians of his spirit, soul and body to rise to the defence of his existence either by commission or omission. Children are not created to care for themselves. They are created to be cared for spirit, soul and body. The tragedy of our day is that many people, who bring children to this world are either not aware of their responsibility or are have abandoned same. Therefore the children, who did not write an application to this world, are left in the cold.

The first set of custodian, who set the tone of the life of the child are the parents/guardians, who must not only be aware of their responsibility in this regards but must also be committed in performing the divinely assigned role.

What we call child’s vulnerability is simply adult’s irresponsibility. There are 18 (eighteen) categories of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC). None of them is an act of God. Everyone is traceable to human action and irresponsibility of adults.

Permit me to give an illustration. Consider a building loaded with treasure and situated in densely populated area. The building does not become vulnerable by virtue of its location and the contents therein. It only becomes vulnerable where proper and professional security measures are not taken to protect the building by its owners, caretakers or occupants. Any time there is a break into the house, it will always be as a result of a security breach or security lapse. Relate this example to our children. May God grant us wisdom to give a future and a hope to our children.

Thank you and have an INSPIRED day.

http://www.taiwoakinlami.com

WHAT IS IN A NAME?

I have noticed that Nigerians are very deep thinkers when it comes to giving our children names…Consider: Oluwatamilorenla (God gave me a precious and invaluable gift), Oluwatobiloba(God is awesome in royalty), Oluwafunmike(God gave me to treasure), Odinakachukwu(It is in the hand of God) and so on

As parents, until our commitment to the names we give our children becomes empirically demonstrated by the way we treat them in terms of Mentoring, Modelling and Moulding, which answer to Wisdom, Character and Sacrifice (Time, Energy and other resources), the names as meaningful as they are, are nothing but huge jokes as they will have no iota of impact on the present and future of the children.

I therefore urge you today that as you deal with these children, you must ask the per-second question: are my actions (in words and deeds) towards my children in conformity with the values in the name I gave them at birth.

I think a child’s name signifies the intention of the giver. If this is so, the givers of the name must not only act towards the child in conformity with the values of the name given but must also become the police and ambassador of the name to all and before all.

Have an INSPIRED Day, Taiwo Akinlami INSPIRES CHANGE http://www.taiwoakinlami.com

 

Our Teenagers/Youths: The Falconers have Lost Falcons (2)

Dear custodians, permit me to bring to you the conclusion of the piece I began yesterday.

The painful truth is that many custodians are not aware of their influence and therefore do not place a demand on such massive influence. Unfortunately where the custodians do not place a demand on his/her influence, the influence must go to usurpers, the enemies of the souls of the young people, who are experts in sowing thorns. Nature is not known to abhor vacuum. Unfortunately, once the thorns are sown, it becomes almost impossible for it to be uprooted except by divine intervention and a determination of the young person and the custodians to humble themselves and reach out for superior knowledge.

I understand the dynamics because I experienced what I am writing about today. My parents and teachers were good people but clueless about their influence on me and how to positively used same to prepare me for the challenges of life. Unknown to them a dysfunctional child will become a dysfunctional adult. There are four ways a child could be abused; I suffered them all in abundance. My childhood was a bountiful basket of abuses. I was abused physically in the name of disciplined. I was abused sexually as I lost my virginity at the age of 6 to a neighbour, a woman, who my mother left me with when she went to the market. As a child I had started having sexual relationship with other children. As a teenager, I had become a paedophile. I was abused emotionally as I was chastised for everything I did wrong and never commended for anything I did right. I grew up with a siege mentality.

At age nine, my teacher in school had nickednamed me Satan or the devil when I lost a friend during our favourite game of tree climbing. Unknown to my handlers for every one wrong word you say to a child, you need seventeen to correct it. I was abused by neglect. My handlers were not available to lead me. I had begun the habits of drinking and smoking before I became a teenager. I learnt both habits from my father.  I grew up with any knowledge of life skills. Simply put, I was not prepared for the challenges of life. By the implication of my upbringing, I was destined to be under the slavery of life.

When I became 18 and left home, I was supposed to have attained maturity, I was yet a child. Age does not necessarily confer maturity. Maturity is the ability to submit one’s life to be governed by principles. I had delayed childhood for another 9 years.  I was on the path of destruction until age 27 when I gave my life to Christ and He began to make all the difference in my life. Please note this is not an attempt of pushing religion. It is a honest attempt compelled by conscience to share my personal experience of how I was rescued from the seemingly insurmountable impact of wrong upbringing.

I decided to give expression to this burden today again as an expression of gratitude to God for coming to my rescue. I answered His call to tell my story of childhood abuse, rescue and hope. I accepted the responsibility that the world has a lot to learn from my story on how to train children. For me, If do not live to tell this story; I am not fit to live. My conclusion today is very simple: custodians have a responsibility to give direction to the present generation of teenager and young adults. If we do not lead them, we lose the moral right to judge them. Lastly, I believe that the young people on the other hand have a responsibility to begin to deliberately delink from the impact of wrong upbringing and take their destiny into their hands. At the end of the day, young people must not forget that they have the capacity to change their destiny with the help of God. They need to understand that a new generation does not answer to time. It answers to a deliberation to turn the tide of things in the right direction. This, I am a living example of.

Thank you for joining me today. Do have an INSPIRED weekend.  See you on Monday.

Our Teenagers/Youths: The Falconers have Lost Falcon(1)

It is 1.19AM and eyes and mind would not receive the offer of a night sleep after very hard day work. I have nursed the burden of this discussion for a while now. If I remember very well, I think the burden began when I was preparing to give the key note address at the marking of World Literacy Day, marked on Saturday, September 8, 2012, organised by Change a Life Foundation, an initiative of the ace broadcaster, Funmi Iyanda. I was to speak on the topic: Education, Illiteracy and Society.

Nearly anyone I have spoken to in the last three weeks is aware that there is a philosophy boiling in my mind concerning a group of people, who I have dedicated the last fifteen years of my life to work with. I have not only worked with them. I have also worked with a countless of their custodians. The burden has come to a head this morning and I must as a matter of supreme urgency get into intellectual labour and bring forth this philosophy for you to behold and consider for a change of perspective and behaviour.

I talk here about the Nigerian teenagers and young adult, who for the purpose of this piece I will call the Nigerian youth. They are criticised by many including their custodians, I see them mainly as victims in the hands of immediate families/custodians, communities and nations. This group of people lack personal, family, community and national identity. They are oblivious of the contents of their cultural heritage. Thus they imitate everything from the West including bearing the names of their pets!

The families/custodians, communities and nations in whose hands they suffer as victims are not necessarily wicked and unconcerned. They are uninformed, misinformed or both. They are majorly ignorant of what it takes to give this group of important people a future and a hope. Many people claim to lead the youth but only few have effective models of leadership or empowerment, premised on universal principles, which the Creator of this world designed to govern the affairs of men.

I have found three categories of custodians of the Nigerian youths. The first is those who do not know what they should know. The second is those who do not know what they should know and do not know they should know. The third and the most pathetic is those who are neither aware of what they should know nor the fact that they do not know it and now think or assume they know what they should know. We have these three categories of custodians as parents/guardian, teachers, policy makers, religious leaders and all. The latter group are the most difficult to deal with. Why? They are not aware they have any problem and it is impossible for you to help a man or woman, who believes they do not have any problem.

Permit me therefore to present to you what I will tag the attributes of the custodians in the foregoing categories. The first of the trouble of the custodians is that we are not aware of the enormity of our influence on this young people. It is the responsibility of the falconer (custodian) to teach the falcon (youth) how to hear the falconer. Unknown to the custodians, when ‘the falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere (unnecessary) anarchy is loosed upon the world.’ I interpret W.B. Yeats to be saying that the beginning of anarchy in our world today is when the custodians are not effective in teaching their wards how to hear and follow instructions.

The custodians provide a pattern of behaviour for the young people by his/example. A sound custodian leads by example. Leading by example here means they lead by noble values, which are in agreement with universal laws given by God to govern the affairs of the world.

I will conclude this piece tomorrow.

Thank you and have an INSPIRED day.

Back to My Story

I break the Best-interest-of-the-child series to  again tell my story as a way of encouraging someone, who may need to hear this story for the purpose of restoration.

I have lived in the last 15 years ‘to bring to the very front burner of private and public conscience and consciousness the rights and responsibilities of the African child for due respect in the best interest of the child.’

I must say with all humility that I have not been disobedient to this heavenly mandate. As a matter of fact my obedience has not been without priceless sacrifices. Again no matter how sacrificial my obedience has been, I do not count it to be anything because necessity is laid upon me…woe unto me if I do not stand and defend the cause of the African child.

Why is necessity laid upon me? It is a long story but I will cut it short this way: I was a victim of child abuse. There are four ways a child could be abused; I suffered them all in abundance. As I have said at many fora, my childhood was a bountiful basket of abuses. I was abused physically in the name of disciplined. I was abused sexually as I lost my virginity at the age of 6 to a neighbour, a woman, who my mother left me with when she went to the market. I was abused emotionally as I was chastised for everything I did wrong and never commended for anything I did right.

Many abusive and wrong words were said to me. At age nine, my teacher in school had nickednamed me Satan or the devil when I lost a friend during our favourite game of tree climbing. Unknown to my handlers, they did not know that fact that for every one wrong word you say to a child, you need seventeen to correct it. I was abused by neglect. My handlers were not available to lead me. My father died at the age of 82 when I was 39, I cannot remember him sitting down to instruct me on how to handle any issue of life. I grew up with any knowledge of life skills. Unfortunately, I followed the pattern of lives of my handlers, which was not anything but disciplined.

I was on the path of destruction until age 27 when I gave my life to Christ and He began to make all the difference in my life. In my expression of gratitude to God for coming to my rescue, I answered His call to tell my story of childhood abuse, rescue and hope. I call it story, senses (principles and lessons) and stone (instructions). I accepted the responsibility that the world has a lot to learn from my story on how to train children. For me, If do not live to tell this story; I am not fit to live.

If I stop telling my story, then just know that I signed up for suicide. I am therefore not a Child’s Rights Advocate as people call me, I am a witness. I am a steward and trustee of the message of hope for a great future for our children. For me, the law is not a profession, it is a platform. I am therefore the voice of a Street Advocate, crying in the wilderness, saying give our children a hope and a future.

I am also committed to helping those who experienced one form of abuse or the other to start a new life as God helped me to. I am committed to helping them to see that they can take responsibility for their lives today and that they cannot continue to reproduce themselves in their children and others in their areas influence. The bulk must stop at their table as they must as matter of a commitment to save humanity begin a new generation. God having helped me to a good level, I can say that the task of shaking off the impact of wrong upbringing is a seemingly impossible task. It requires, first of all the help of God and the commitment of the victim to God and change.

BEST-INTEREST-OF-THE-CHILD CONSTITUTION (5)

My dear child I will like to share with you this day the four baskets of rights. Tomorrow, I will share with you your responsibilities. You will not be doing too much talk today and tomorrow. I just beg you to do a lot of listening. Thank you.

The Four Baskets of Children’s Rights According to the Child’s Rights Act, 2003

  • Survival which includes the rights of the child to life, good health, balance nutrition and related matters (see Sections 12 & 13).
  • Development, which include the development of the child, spirit, soul and body (see Sections 15 & 29).
  • Protection, which include protection of the child from child labour, child trafficking, ritual killing, sexual, physical, emotional abuses and neglect (see Sections 21-52).
  • Participation, which include the right of the child to be involved in matters that concerns them (see Sections 3(1) (2), 6. 7, 8, 13, 19 & 20).

Your mum and I believe in the provisions of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003 stated above is further broken down as follows:

–  Provisions of freedom from discrimination on the grounds of belonging to a particular community or ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion, the circumstances of birth,

–  Disability, deprivation or political opinion; and it is stated categorically that the dignity of the child shall be respected at all times,

–  No Nigerian child shall be subjected to physical, mental or emotional injury, abuse or neglect, maltreatment, torture, inhuman or degrading punishment, attacks on his/her honour or reputation. Every Nigerian child is entitled to rest, leisure and enjoyment of the best attainable state of physical, mental and spiritual health.

–    Every government in Nigeria shall strive to reduce infant mortality rate, provide medical and health care, adequate nutrition and safe drinking water, hygienic and sanitized environments, combat diseases and malnutrition, support and mobilize through local and community resources, the development of primary health care for children.

–   Provisions for children in need of special protection measures (mentally, physically challenged, or street children): they are protected in a manner that would enable them achieve their fullest, possible social integration, and moral development.

–   Expectant and nursing mothers shall be catered for, and every parent or guardian having legal custody of a child under the age of two years shall ensure its immunization against diseases, or face judicial penalties.

–  Betrothal and marriage of children are prohibited.

–  Causing tattoos or marks, and female genital mutilation/cutting are made punishable offences under the Act; and so also is the exposure to pornographic materials, trafficking of children, their use of narcotic drugs, or the use of children in any criminal activities, abduction and unlawful removal or transfer from lawful custody, and employment of children as domestic helps outside their own home or family environment.

–  Child abduction and forced exploitative labour (which is not of a light nature) or in an industrial undertaking are also stated to be offences. The exceptions to these provisions are where the child is employed by a family member, in work that is of an agricultural or horticultural or domestic in nature, and if such a child is not required to carry or move any thing heavy that is likely to adversely affect its moral, mental, physical spiritual or social development.

–  Buying, selling, hiring or otherwise dealing in children for purpose of begging, hawking, prostitution or for unlawful immoral purposes are made punishable by long terms of imprisonment. Other offences considered grave include sexual abuse, general exploitation which is prejudicial to the welfare of the child, recruitment into the armed forces and the importation /exposure of children to harmful publications. It further preserves the continued application of all criminal law provisions securing the protection of the child whether born or unborn.

Thank you for being a great listener today my darling child. I will be with you again tomorrow.