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.