Robbed of Childhood: The Story of Today’s Nigerian Child

I have keenly observed that an average Nigerian child is robbed of his/her childhood. The right to play has been taken away completely, particularly among the rich, who want their children to be perfect in education. Yes, this is a noble desire, which must be pursued with wisdom and skill. Today, children, particularly from upper primary school age go to school in the morning; return at about 3.00PM and a home lesson teacher is already waiting for them at home. The home lesson teacher takes the child from about 3.30PM to 7.30PM. By the time they are through, the child is tired and ready to sleep. Weekends are not an exception to these gruelling experiences the child is taken through in the name of receiving education.

While it is noble to get the best of education for our children, it may not be noble to deny them of the opportunity of being children.  I am not opposed to extra lesson, but it must not be done at the expense of the child’s time to play and rest. When a child is denied the right to play, he will never become a complete adult.

We all remember the story of Michael Jackson, who became a star from as child and never had the opportunity to be a child. He carried the cross for the rest of his life. Here are his confessions and lamentation:

Have you seen my Childhood? I’m searching for the world that I come from ‘Cause I’ve been looking around in the lost and found of my heart… No one understands me. They view it as such strange eccentricities… ‘Cause I keep kidding around Like a child, but pardon me… People say I’m not okay ‘Cause I love such elementary things… It’s been my fate to compensate, for the Childhood I’ve never known… Have you seen my Childhood? I’m searching for that wonder in my youth like pirates in adventurous dreams, of conquest and kings on the throne… I beg us to please give our children a break. If we do not, the idea of seeking the best education for them will become counterproductive. May God help us. Have an inspired day.

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Child Sexual Abuse: The Sandusky Saga (4)

Today, I draw my last lesson from the Sandusky saga. I will like to say that it is high time we made it a point of duty to educate our children about their sexuality. Please note here that I am not talking about sex education. Sex education simply talks about education about sex, which cannot be adequate in helping the child to fight his/her battle against an avalanche of sexual attacks on him/her. Sexuality education focuses on teaching the child about his/her sexuality. The child’s sexuality is beyond sex. It is a study of the sexual orientation of the child.

I think the child, first of all should know the purpose of his/her sexuality.  He/she cannot address purpose expect we let the child understand the huge lie of those who are doing all to convince our world that there are other sexual orientations than the male and the female genders. The Holy Writ tells us ‘male and female created He them.’ People say homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality asexuality and many other are all different sexual orientations. If we do not take time to address the issue of sexual orientation, we should not be surprised if they come to us one day with funny idea about their sexuality.

A child should be made to understand the peculiarities of his/her sexuality. He/she should understand the boundaries that must exist between him/her and people of the opposite sex. The child must be taught the value of meaningful and healthy relationships with the opposite sex. Above all, the child must be taught how to live a principled life. Custodians have a responsibility to lead the child in this area by example. The truth is that there is no other way to live except by the universal principles, which God has put in place to govern the affairs of this world. Do not think your child is too young to learn principles. The Holy Writ says, ‘even a lad (a child) is distinguished when his conduct is pure and right.’ As I always tell young people: being young is not synonymous with being irresponsible; being young is not synonymous with being foolish and being young is not synonymous with being weak.

Lastly, I want to advise parents that you should be interested in the syllabus that your child’s school uses to teach sexuality education. Some teach different and confusing sexual orientations to children. Some even exposed children to pornography in the name of sexuality education. We should not only be interested in the syllabus, we must be interested in the tutor. We once followed the story of a paedophile, who was given the responsibility of teaching children sexuality education in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He was caught molesting one of the pupils.

Though, there are many more I can still say, I think I should rest my case on the lessons from the Sandusky saga.  Do have an INSPIRED day.

Child Sexual Abuse: The Sandusky Saga (3)

I say best of the day to you friends. Sure you had a great weekend. I will like to take two other lessons from the Sandusky saga. It is the cases of same sex abuse and sexual abuse of the boy child. The truth of the matter is that our world is today upside down and strange happenings are assuming the status of the norm because of their consistency.

The Sandusky saga affirms that the boy child is under sexual abuse also. There are 2 categories of people who abuse the boy child. The first is a paedophile, an adult who sexually attracted to children.  Please note that the word, paedophile envisages both sexes of adults. That is man and woman. It therefore means that the boy child is exposed to being abused by both men and women, who are sexually attracted to children. Such fellow is Sandusky. I was sexually abused from age 6 by a female paedophile. It is therefore not enough for us to say we are leaving our boys with men and reckon that they are safe. We have to be in a position to vouch for the men with whom we leave our boys. I used to say do not leave your girl child with a drive alone to drop in school. I think I will say that of the boy child too. Another category of people, who abuse the boy are homosexuals. They are on the prowl of our children. We must be careful.

Let me quickly shed more light on the issue of same sex abuse as it relates to the girl child. There are female paedophiles, who are attracted to both boys and girls and there are many also, who are attracted to girls only. These are people, who say they are lesbians.  I have listened to the story of a girl, who was sexually abused from her secondary school days by a female mentor. I work with a lot of school and crèche, nursery and primary school operators take consolation in employing only females in their bid to protect children. I think such thinking is outdated now. It is not enough to hire female teachers and nurses as the measure to prevent children from child sexual abuse. Enough machinery must be put in place to screen the individuals (male and female) we put in charge of our children.  That is why we keep telling schools that they need a Child Protection Policy. I rest my case here. See you tomorrow and have an INSPIRED Day.

Child Sexual Abuse: The Sandusky Saga (2)

It is a sobering day. The world is increasingly becoming complex. The complexity of our world affects every inhabitants of the world. The impact is more felt by children because they have few options; besides their psyche is not built to handle some levels of complexity. It is the responsibility of adults to shield them from the impact of the complexity. The issue again is that once the adults themselves cannot find help, how can they give what they do not have.

The children, who have come out to testify that they were molested by Sandusky were children, who he was supposed to help. They were children already at risk. In fact one of them is his adopted son. Sandusky’s entrance into their lives was supposed to bring succour but alas it added more salt to their injury. Sandusky also stopped genuine help from coming the way of the children as others who may want to help would conclude that the children were already receiving credible help from Sandusky.

I would not say Sandusky is a wicked man. I think wickedness is a word we loosely use. A person, who does a wicked act, may be more of a victim than a wicked person. I think this is a symposium discussion for another day.

The truth of the matter is that it is not enough for anybody to proclaim to be a defender of a cause. The first question, we must ask is that does this person have anything to give. Has he been helped? A person at any form of risk cannot help children at risk. It is now revealed that Sandusky himself was at risk. It is therefore the responsibility of society to scrutinize social service providers. We must not take their words for it. We must receive them with caution, while we give them the cooperation that their revealed and proven capacity, credibility and integrity deserve.  I beg to rest my case here. I will continue the lessons on Monday. Stay INSPIRED.

Child Sexual Abuse: The Sandusky Saga

Gerald Arthur “Jerry” Sandusky, 68, a retired American football coach also ventured into social work. He founded an NGO since 1977. He founded The Second Mile, a non-profit charity serving underprivileged and at-risk youth. After Sandusky retired as assistant coach at Penn State, he continued working with The Second Mile. He adopted 6 children and fostered many with his wife. Sandusky was celebrated for his concern and dedication to helping children. In his own words, ‘I enjoy young people. I love to be around them.’

The cause for which Sandusky was celebrated has now been exposed as a decoy to molest children sexually. One of his adopted children, Matt Sandusky also revealed that he was sexually molested by his adopted father. Investigation revealed that Sandusky met his molestation victims through The Second Mile, who were children participating in the organization, and several of them testified against Sandusky in his sexual abuse trial.

Today, Sandusky has been sentenced to between 30-60 years imprisonment for molesting close to ten children. Sandusky insists he is innocent, but the justice system appear not to see any reason with him.

The lessons I pick from the Sandusky story are many but I will like to have yours. Please share your views. I will begin to share mine as from tomorrow.  Have an INSPIRED Day.

Child Protection: Reflections of a Rescued Man

I5 years ago I gave my life to Christ. He became my Lord and saviour. My life, which hitherto was in a total mess as a result of my troubled upbringing, received the power of divine transformation. I have since witnessed seemingly impossible changes in every area of my life.  My journey with Jesus has been a very rewarding one. In fact there is no loss at all, except a deluge of benefits, which it is not possible for me to count.

As I began to work with Him and received His healing(which is a continuous process) , He gave me a mandate: To bring to the front burner of the conscience and consciousness of individuals, private and public institutions in Africa, the rights and responsibilities of the child for due respect IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD.’This heavenly mandate is two-fold: first, to educate stakeholders in the life of the child on the urgent need to respect the rights child and teach him/her responsibilities. Second, to reach out to those, who have experienced one form of childhood abuse or the other that there is hope for healing, provided they are willing to take full responsibility for their turnaround.

I always tell parents/guardians and teachers that the fact that they were not properly raised is not the reason why they should repeat the errors of their parents. They must make a conscious commitment to break the hold of wrong upbringing and give their children a future and a hope.  I have come to understand that a new generation does not answer to time and position…It answers to a decision to break an unproductive ancestral habit or stronghold.

I decided 15 years by the grace given to me by my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to begin a new generation of Akinlami family with my own nuclear family, the Taiwo Akinlami Family. My mission is to hold on to God’s gift of liberty in Christ Jesus and lead a positive value-change. God has been faithful in helping me to chart a new course, which is a sharp departure from that of my forefathers. Friends I charge you today to take your destiny and that of your household into your hands and choose to give your children a hope and a future, which your parents did not possibly give you due to ignorance and not necessarily because they are wicked or unconcerned. Please have an INSPIRED day.

Why I don’t Ordinarily Rejoice On the Arrival of New-Born (2)

Sure we are doing great today. I had an awesomely INSPIRED weekend. The journey of Child Protection Revolution continues this morning as I proceed to Ox-bridge Tutorial College on my second missionary journey to speak to the students of the great institutions of learning about their rights and responsibilities. I believe God for a fruitful session as I share my story of childhood abuse and how God rescued me and gave a message to help young and old to find help from the impact of child abuse and empower them not to repeat the error of their upbringing in raising their own children.

I will like to continue the discussion I began on Friday. In fact I want to bring it to a close. I said in my last piece that the only time I rejoice when a child arrives when I know that the parents have made conscious effort to educate themselves on the awesome but greatly despised responsibilities of parenting.

Permit me to share with you one story of a child whose parents took conscious responsibility to lead and gave a future and a hope:

Morrow and William Franklin Graham were the parents of Billy Graham. Here is a man, whom God has used to transform many live in their millions. Here are his personal reflections on his parents as written in his autobiography, Just As I Am thus:When they (my parents) read the family Bible in our home, they were not simply going through a pious ritual. Mother told us that they had established a family altar with daily Bible reading the very first day they were married. They accepted that book as the very Word of God, seeking and getting heavenly help to keep the family together. Every time my mother prayed with one of us, and every time my parents prayed for their sons and daughters, they were declaring their dependence on God for the wisdom and strength and courage to stay in control of life, no matter what circumstances might bring. Beyond that, they prayed for their children, that they might come into the kingdom of God.’            

He also shared that his parents were not perfect but were committed to being an example to their children. Billy Graham still in his autobiography wrote: ‘there had to have been tensions between Daddy and Mother from time to time, that we children were not supposed to see. I suppose my parents occasionally disappointed each other, and certainly they sometimes disagreed about serious as well as trivial things. But in any quarrels between them (parents) that I witnessed, I never heard either of them use a word of profanity. My mother and father [mostly my mother] could storm at each other once in a while when provoked, but they weathered every tempest and sailed on, together. He concludes about his upbringing, ‘in all the strictness of my upbringing, there was no hint of child abuse.

When children are born to parents like Billy Graham’s and many other parents, who I would have loved to share about here but for space, I rejoice with the parents, I rejoice with the child and I rejoice with our world.

Permit me to check out of this page today with yet another testimony of responsibility parenting: John Maxwell, a world renowned leadership expert, who has a vision to equip ten million in his lifetime, says his mother had a great impact in his life. She was a ‘compassionate listener,’ he explains, which in turn ‘fostered in me a great sense of security and self-esteem.’

Have an INSPIRED day.