ABC of Child Protection …An Awareness Program for Primary and Secondary Caregivers

I believe that being a parent is one of the most important jobs any of us will ever undertake-and it’s the one most of us are at least prepared for-at least formally…For example, reflecting on my own experience raising a family, I think about how as parents most of us try to feel our way through the challenges that come with being married and raising children. We have very little formal training for those roles, and they are two of the most difficult and important things we’ll ever undertake.

Bill Gates Sr.Showing Up for Life

Objective: This program is designed to make you more effective in the discharge of your responsibilities both as primary and secondary caregivers. You cannot afford to miss it.

Introduction: My intimate, focused and committed interaction with the subject of Child Protection began 17 (seventeen) years ago when I had presence of mind and serenity of spirit to take a critical look at my life and I found that I had been deeply messed by my childhood upbringing and abuse. I surrendered my life to Christ and began the journey of finding healing for my troubled soul.

Therefore my first interaction with Child Protection was not as a specialist, trainer or consultant. Having suffered acute physical abuse, dehumanizing emotional abuse, damaging sexual abuse and constant neglect as a child, my adulthood was messed up. I was supposed to be an adult, yet I was a child. Adulthood, I must say does not happen by age, it happens by maturity. Maturity simply means to appreciate the universal principles, which God has put in place to govern the affairs of this world and make an informed commitment to adhere to them.

It was in the process of seeking healing that I found Child Protection. How? I found that if I must make any sense of my present, I must make a deliberate effort to visit my past. The foregoing exercise gave birth to 6(six) fundamental findings which form the bedrock of my Child Protection Social Empowerment Advocacy today:

1. You produce your children after your Kind: the impact of abusive childhood is eternal except there is divine intervention. A primary and secondary caregiver, who experienced any form of abuse is going to raise the children under his care same way he/she is raised. There are two principles behind this. The first is that the way he/she is raised, he/she is being taught by example and experience how to treat children. The second is that hurting people will definitely hurt others except they understand that they need healing and make a deliberate attempt to seek healing.

2. Ignorance of Primary and Secondary Caregivers: the reason why my parents treated me the way they did, though they had the best of intentions was that they lacked the knowledge, skills and attitude, which guarantee the protection of children, like many primary and secondary caregivers today. They were not wicked, they were only ignorant. Unfortunately, wickedness and ignorance breed same children.

3. The Culture of Chance: many primary and secondary caregivers, particularly in our part of the world are not aware that knowledge, skills and attitude are needed to protect children. It has become a dominant thinking that with or without the primary and secondary caregivers’ efforts, the child would become, who he/she would become. We also believe nature, evidenced by age confers the ability to protect on the primary and secondary caregivers.

4. Impact of the Culture of Chance: the culture of chance and its many children are not without its implications on our psyche. This culture has created the culture of disregard for the dignity of the human person of the child. Without knowledge, skills and attitude, the primary and secondary caregivers will never be in position to meet the need of the child, which have been identified as follows:

  1. Every child needs SOMEONE to BELIEVE- A Role Model
  2. Every child needs SOMETHING to BELIEVE – Values
  3. Every child needs SOMEWHERE to BELONG-Family&     Community
  4. Every child needs SOMETHING to BECOME- Aspiration to Significance and Pursuit of Inner Potential
  5. Every child needs the AFFIRMATION of his FREEDOM and RESPONSIBILITY- A sense of dignity and self-worth

At the centre of the outlined needs is the dignity of human person of the child, which is foundational to his/her identity. The culture of chance has created lack of respect for the dignity of human person of the child. When we give little respect to their dignity of human person, we believe we are doing them a favour, for which they must be grateful. Most of us believe that children are not to be seen, not to talk of being heard. This is the root of abuse and denial of children of their rights.

5. Need for change through the Culture of Enlightenment: If our children must be protected, there is urgent need for change. Change must not be a matter of lip service or wishful thinking but a matter of deliberate efforts aimed creating processes that will guarantee measurable results. This change must be a carefully designed, strategic and long-drawn commitment to replace the culture of chance and its attendant culture with the culture of enlightenment. The goal of enlightenment should be reorientation. Truth be told, primary and secondary caregivers will continue to treat their children today, the same way I was treated yesterday if they do not acquire the right knowledge, skills and attitude.

6. The Whistle Blower Gap: the culture of enlightenment is not inculcated until someone decides to take the bull by its very horn and blow the whistle of meaningful action. The saying that ‘everybody’s job is nobody’s job is ever true.’ I found that we cannot all complain about a situation and fold our arms do nothing. All it takes for social disequilibrium like lack of proper protection for our children to take root is for men and women of goodwill to fold their arms and do nothing.

I beg to sign out here. By God’s grace, I will be back here tomorrow to continue this discussion. Do have an INSPIRED day. I charge you today to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

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