Child Protection CREED 35: Child Abuse must redefined as a preventive measure

Let me pause here for a moment to say that the phrase ‘child abuse’ is too mild to describe the impact of abuse on a child. I will rather use the phrase, ‘child dehumanisation.’ The rights which a child is entitled to as I will later show you are inalienable or immutable. When these rights are taken away from the child, the child becomes lesser than a human being. This is what I tag dehumanisation.

What does it mean to dehumanise a person? According to Microsoft® Encarta® 2009, to dehumanize means, ‘to make somebody less human: to make somebody less human by taking away his or her individuality, the creative and interesting aspects of his or her personality, or his or her compassion and sensitivity toward others.’ Child dehumanisation takes humanity away from the child and brings out his/her animalistic instinct.

To really drive the message home and get my world to listen, I have decided to use the word, dehumanisation instead of abuse in the course of my discussion on child protection issues.

Thank you for visiting. Think the CHILD…Think the TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

NOTICE:
Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 7 Audio Books are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.

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Children’s Day and Street Children: A Call for Effective Intervention

Today is children’s day and the thought-provoking theme of this year’s celebration is: Our Children, Our future: Our Collective Responsibility.’ I find the theme very instructive as I believe it seeks to cover every Nigerian Child. To my mind, it simply means, if we neglect any child or class of children today, we are denying our nation of a meaningful future and we are failing in our responsibility to our children and dear nation.

It is in the light of the foregoing sober reflection that I find no better day to address the issue of street children phenomenon in Nigeria. I want to examine the approach of Government Agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations to solving this seemingly insurmountable problem. Government Agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations, who ‘rescue’ children from the street, often say they are involved in rehabilitation.  In some cases, they actually incorporate the word, ‘rehabilitation’ into the names of the organisations. The goal they set out to achieve is to rehabilitate the children they have rescued into responsible children or adult as the case may be, depending on when they achieve their goal of rehabilitation. Most of the children they rescue are between ages 8-18.

I have seen that many NGOs in this group do not make too much progress. I have continued to wonder why they do not do too much. I think one of the reasons the fail to make desired progress is that they have a faulty understand of the children they work with. Their faulty understanding of the children they work with is safely deducible from what they claim they want to do with the children, ‘rehabilitation.’

Permit me to at this point examine the meaning of rehabilitation both as a word and concept of intervention and see if it fits into the goal they want to achieve with these children. Rehabilitation means ‘to restore to good health or useful life, as through therapy and education; to restore to good condition, operation, or capacity.’ Rehabilitation is also re-teaching someone to do something.

Now, from this definition, let me analyse what the Government Agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations, which wants to rehabilitate children rescued from the street want to do. They want to restore the children to useful lives by re-teaching them basic values of life. This attempt assumes that the children they work with were once living useful lives, having been taught the principles of same, concluding that the children must have lost their useful lives and the principles in which they were established when they took to the street. Still moving in the realm of the assumption, they design programs to restore the children to the normal and useful lives they used to live.

Their conclusions cannot be farther from the truth. It is an attempt to build something on nothing and wondering why it is not standing. The truth about the children they are working with is that most of them have never known or lived normal or useful lives. They were born and bred in abuse. They have never been taught the values and principle of useful living and they do not appreciate same. They do not appreciate it and they have never benefitted from it. Therefore they cannot defend same. They have survived all their lives by living on their toes.

The question those who labour to rehabilitate must ask is what drove the children to the streets in the first instance. Please do not be quick to say the children are stubborn. If they are stubborn they learnt it from their environment, which their custodians are supposed to be in full control of. To take it further, they learn it from their custodians. Please note that no child was born stubborn. In fact every child was born with the potential to be well-behaved. It is the responsibility of the custodian to develop the God-given potentials. Every child, who is tagged stubborn, was made stubborn. When custodians are high-handed in their dealing with their children, they raise what they now call stubborn children, a product of their ignorance and conduct.

Please also note that most of the children on the streets are from poor homes, where the custodians, apart from the fact that they are ignorance are hindered by the state of our economy to access social support services, particularly in the area of education and health to give their children enduring hope and meaningful future.

Let me attempt to answer the question, which I early asked. That is, what drove the children to the streets in the first instance? The children were driven to the street by the abusive lives they lived. They have never known peace. I have said it time and again, that there is no child who will enjoy the comfort of a peaceful home and the love and acceptance of the parents and opt for the streets. The streets became an alternative when the home became unbearable.

I speak today as someone, who ran away from home at the age of 12. I ran away at the peak of abuse at home. I have sat as consultant to UNICEF to reconcile street children to their parents. I have heard the tales of woes of the children we were reconciling to the parents. In one of the occasions, while sitting as a mediator, I burst into tears as I witnessed the ignorance of the parents, who knew next to nothing about raising children. I once met a child on the street, who told me his father cut his penis when he was sleeping after he has been accused of stealing. He showed me his half penis and told me of the excruciating pain he went through as a result of the dehumanisation. Close to tears, he told me how his friends on the street made him the butt of their jokes. As he told me his story I saw a boy whose self-esteem had been completely crushed. The truth is that he is not aware of anything so called.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that the concept of rehabilitation for street children in Nigeria will not work as it is built on assumption. The cooperation we demand from the children is too high for them to give to us. The principle is ever sure that you cannot give what you do not have. In most cases, we demand instant discipline from children, who already have a misconception about discipline. From their experiences with their custodians, they believe that discipline is the means by which a custodian shows his wickedness over a set of people, he has overpowered.

As a matter of fact one of the main reasons they ran away from home is to seek freedom. Unknown to them freedom comes with responsibility. This again is not their fault. The problem is that they have not been taught.

Many of them have now lived in the jungles of the streets free, but yet paying a very high price for their so-called freedom. Yet they did not crave for another kind of life on their own or at least, even if they crave, they did not search for it. The idea that they need to leave the streets is completely the idea of the Government Agencies and Non-Governmental Organisation. It is the Government and NGO at this time that sees the danger and not the children.

Though, you are acting in their interest, they are yet to see it. They are yet to see it because they are yet to trust you. They are yet to trust you because they do not have a culture of trust from their homes and trust is not part of the culture of the streets. The number one creed of the street is survival and survival is powered by suspicion and distrust. They do not believe that it is possible for someone to want to help another. In the jungle, you are on your own. Thus they say, ‘no paddy for jungle.’ Everyone, who claims to help them in the jungle, has always used the so-called help as a bait to suck them dry. In their dictionary, words like love, help, values and many other do not exist. If they exist, they have different meaning to them. You cannot blame them, they have not been loved or helped in their short lives. So as Government Agencies and NGOs approach them, they are full of suspicion.

I think the Government Agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations, who are involved in working with children on the streets need to redefine what they seek to do. I think they should focus on habilitation instead of rehabilitation.

Habilitation is teaching the children for the first time. We must first understand that they have never been where we want to take them before and they do not know how to get there or how remain there. We must understand they may not be too interested in going with us because they do not know the benefits. We must accept as an undisputable truth that their willingness to go with us at the end of the day will be spurred by our approach and strategy.

The first thing we must do is to understand their psychology and their process of socialisation and begin to professionally debrief them. For example we must not assume that the children will understand discipline by reeling out the rules in the home and the consequences thereof. We must start by correcting their misconception about discipline. This, we will do by words and deeds.

We must also understand that we cannot teach them love. We can only show them love. When we have deposited enough love inside of them, they will begin to give it out to others. We must understand that at their entrance into the home, they did not have in their mental travelling bags any item called love. They came with loads of hate and bitterness. They must be purged of that before we begin to make a demand for something different.

We must make informed attempt to introduce them to the ‘useful life’ and the benefits thereof. It will require a lot of patience and humility. One fact is that these children are already fully formed. It will require a well-defined vision and a definite sense of mission to help them. It will demand a well crafted program of habilitation, which spells out step by step the process involved and the modus of achieving same. It will require working with sound and out-of-the-box experts in psychosocial counselling and coaching. It will demand a lot of prayer and spiritual counselling. Choosing mentors for the children must not be subjected to sentiments. We must look for people, who can really help them.

I began my own habilitation program on Sunday, February 16, 1997, when I surrendered my life to Christ. I always tell people that I began to live 16 years ago. That was when I began to understand for the first time, there was something called dignity of human person, which I must be conscious of and committed to if I must live a meaningful life.

I charge you today to spare a thought on these children of the streets today as we celebrate children’s day.

Child Protection CREED 34: The Child Justice System must look beyond diversionary measure.

I salute the Child Justice System in our dear nation. It is mainly focused on diversionary measures. It is commendable as it is restorative in nature. It restores the child offender and gives him another chance. It is in accordance with international principle.

Having studied the diversionary system of the child justice system, I am burdened to pick a big hole. The hole is not in the workability or effectiveness of the diversionary measure, but in the environment in which the measures are being applied.

I do not think a society, which has not prepared an enabling environment for the child to develop has the moral justification to subject the child to any kind of disciplinary measure, diversionary or otherwise.

The child is always a product of his environment. He is not self made. By the time the child becomes irresponsible, the root is found in the custodians. It is like the case of a masquerade, who is dancing on the road with his drummers hidden in the nearby bush. That we do not see the drummers does not mean that they are not formidable in determining the dance steps of the masquerade. If we want the masquerade to stop dancing, it is important we locate the drummers.

What our child justice system does most of the time is to pick up the masquerade, while they leave the drummers to continue their drumming until they attract another masquerade.

When a child is in conflict with the law, we should be interested in the journey that took him to that point. The rehabilitative measure must also take into consideration the roles of the custodian. It is not enough to only involve the custodians in the process of diversion; they must answer very important questions on how the child slipped out of their hands.

Considering the nature of the child’s conflict with the law, we must also trace the roles of the state. It is the responsibility of the state to provide social support services to the child and his custodians. The social services provided to the child are to aid his development. While the ones provided for the parents are to help the parents to play their roles as parents.

I have kept saying, for example that the children on the street are not children in conflict with the law. They may have the potential to be in conflict with the law but they are not in conflict with the law by virtue of the fact that they are on the street. Children on the street are victims of failures of families and the state in which the family live.

When a child offender is apprehended, he is labelled a child in conflict with law and made to face the music of diversionary measures under the child justice system.

It is my final conclusion that subjecting the child to the dictates of the child justice system does not mean our laws would have been justified, as it is not designed to consider the circumstances under which a child commits or is made to commit a crime. Our law often painfully forgets that ‘the society creates the crime and the criminal commits it.’ I think this should be left as a fresh discussion for another day.

If our Child Justice looks beyond the child to address the issue of children getting into conflict with the law, we will be on the path to improve our child justice system to be in the best interest of the child and by extension in the best interest of our society.

Thank you for visiting. Think the CHILD…Think the TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

NOTICE:
Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 7 Audio Books are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.

Child Protection CREED 33: Custodians are sent to save humanity

To illustrate this creed, permit me to share with you the stories of Jonathan Edwards and Max Jukes. Jonathan Edwards was a committed Christian who married a godly young lady. Some 1,394 descendants of his were traced through genealogical studies.

Family records reveal that of the 295 who graduated from college, 13 became college presidents and 65 became college professors. Three were elected as United States senators and three as governors.

There was one who became dean of a law school, 100 were lawyers, and 30 were judges.

One hundred were missionaries, preachers, or prominent authors, 80 held some form of public office, of whom three were mayors of large cities. One became the comptroller of the U.S. Treasury, 56 practiced as physicians, and one was the dean of a medical school.

One became vice-president of the United States and 75 were officers in the military.

Now, Consider the other story: “Max Jukes, lived a godless life. He married an ungodly girl, and from the union there were 310 who died as paupers, 150 were criminals, 7 were murderers, 100 were drunkards, and more than half of the women were prostitutes. His 540 descendants cost the State one and a quarter million dollars.

I think the stories speak for themselves. We must understand that whatever decision we take in life has remarkable impact on many generations after us. Therefore we must be careful how we live our lives, knowing that we are sent to preserve humanity. When we abandon this mandate, we destroy the child today and many tomorrows.

Thank you for visiting. Think the CHILD…Think the TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

NOTICE:
Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 7 Audio Books are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.

Child Protection CREED 32: There are two ways a child can be neglected: Both are not helpful to child protection

The first is total absence of the custodians of the life of the child, who delegates their responsibilities to unqualified people. The second is what I call Present-But-Absent-Minded Custodians. This is where a custodian is present physically but is absent in his mind. He simply doesn’t have presence of mind. Besides, the parents, guardian or teacher do not have the skills to help give their children direction even when they are present.

Neglected children are not different from orphans. I have defined an orphan as a child, whose parents are not available to take responsibility for his development, dead or alive. Though the parents are present, yet the children do not feel the impact of his presence or enjoy the pleasure of his attention.  Many parents, teachers care givers and others custodians are guilty of this second type of neglect.  It is important to state that children are like arrow in the hands of their custodians. How far, fast, sharp and perfect they hit their targets in life is dependent on the skills of the custodians. The arrow has no say in the matter. Even where the custodians have the skills, they must be available to deploy it. Thus I submit that neglect does a lot almost irreparable damage.

Thank you for visiting. Think the CHILD…Think the TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

NOTICE:
Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 5 Audio CDs and 4 Handbooks are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.

Child Protection CREED 31: To protect the Child you must first LEARN OF THE CHILD and also learn FROM THE CHILD

To protect the child, we must learn from the child and also learn of the child. It is important to note that you cannot learn from a child, except you learn of him. What you have learnt of him will become the tool or compass to help you learn from him.

Learning of him is objective. It means learning the general rules about him and his behaviour. Learning from him is also both personal and subjective. It opens you up to the peculiarity of his individuality.

Learn of and from the child is an exercise we must as a matter of deliberate efforts embark upon. Knowledge of the child is a major key to his protection. I charge you to invest time, energy and financial resources to it.

Thank you for visiting. Think the CHILD…Think the TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

NOTICE:
Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 5 Audio CDs and 4 Handbooks are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.

Child Protection CREED 30: Sign-up with God

I believe God rules in the affairs of men. He created the world and the people in it. It is my view that Child Protection is impossible without leaning on God’s wisdom. It is God who gives us wisdom to do all things in the best interest of the child. Please understand that the child does not only come from God, he also belongs to God. Therefore, there is not better entity to contact for the wisdom to raise him than the one from whom he comes and whose he is.

I urge you to sign up with Him today, asking for wisdom and He will rise to the occasion and surprise you beyond your wildest imagination in the awesome responsibility of protecting the child He has put in your care.

Thank you for visiting. Think the CHILD…Think the TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

NOTICE:
Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 5 Audio CDs and 4 Handbooks are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.