In my handbook, ChildPLUS™…THE BEST-INTEREST-OF-THE-CHILD ACRONYM I defined an orphan as ‘of Replica of God, lacking LIVING or dead Parents’ guidance, Honest protection And Nurture. The foregoing is my practical interpretation of the state of many children in this part of the world. It is my irresistible opinion that an orphan is not a child, who has lost both biological parents like it is popularly believed. An orphan is a child, whose parents are not available to play their parenting roles. It does not matter whether the parents are dead or alive. A child has five basic needs as follows:
- Every child needs SOMEONE to BELIEVE– A Role Model
- Every child needs SOMETHING to BELIEVE – Values
- Every child needs SOMEWHERE to BELONG–Family and Community
- Every child needs SOMETHING to BECOME– Aspiration to Significance and Pursuit of Inner Potential
- Every child needs the AFFIRMATION of his FREEDOM and RESPONSIBILITY- A sense of dignity and self-worth
Once the parents are not available to play these roles, a child is an orphan. Parenting is not a title. It calls for awesome and meticulous responsibilities. It is however one of the most neglected responsibilities in this part of the world, yet the noblest responsibilities on the face of the earth.
I also found an interesting definition in the Encarta Dictionary: it reads ‘child without parents: a child whose parents are both dead or who has been abandoned by his or her parents, especially a child not adopted by another family.’
Join me tomorrow as I discuss with you the two (2) levels of abandonment or neglect that the Nigerian child suffers.