Happy Easter dear primary and secondary caregivers…I charge you to kindly extend my greeting to your dearly beloved children. I charge you to spend time with them this holidays season. Spending time with them does not start and end with taking them out and buying things for them. While that is important, we must take time to take careful stock of our relationship with them and meet use the opportunity of this holidays to make necessary amends.
Permit me to continue our series, which I began on Monday. I await your comments.
CREED refers to Article of Faith…Statement of Belief…Value Code…Though the foundation of our Child Protection Solutions is principally, the provisions of the law, we recognize that the basis for peace and safety in the society is beyond law enforcement…The society must be interested in engaging higher code of human behaviour to ensure peace and safety for the society, particularly our dear children.
This higher code of human behaviour is known as CREED and the natural enforcement agent of the CREED is the human conscience, aided with the right KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS and ATTITUDE.
- Your Belief is Cardinal to How You Treat Children
When last did you do an inventory of your belief? Please note that your belief system is determined by your experiences from childhood. Kindly note that your belief is not what you profess, but it is what you practice. For example do you believe that children should have their say, even if they do not have their way? Do you believe that the boy child and the girl child are equal and must be treated same way? Do you believe that it is possible to raise children without canning them? What do you believe about adoption? If you adopt a child (son) as your first child and you later have a biological child (son) would you treat the adopted child (son) as your heir?
Please note that the information you have determines what you think, what you think determines what you believe (your values), what you believe determines your habit, your habit determines your relationships, your relationships determine your opportunities, your opportunities determines your rewards, your rewards determine your significance.
- Child Protection is Everything to the Child
I believe the number one duty the primary and the secondary caregiver owe a child is to protect him or her. Protection comes before discipline or training. As a matter of fact, the child does not receive any instruction once he/she does not feel protected. Once the child is under siege, training stops completely.
In fact the purpose of discipline is to help a child to be conscious of his/her dignity of human person, which is the result of child protection.
For example, the number one duty of an institution of learning or children department of a religious place of worship is child protection. Until the children are protected and they feel protected, learning or worship cannot take place. I guess that is why Dr. Elaine King, Adolescent and HIV Specialist, UNICEF submits and I verily agree with her that ‘Since children spend a significant amount of their childhood at school, it is for this treason, even if no other, that schools should be WARM, CARING, NURTURING places where students feel SUPPORTED and PROTECTED. INDEED, RESEARCH HAS SHOWN US THAT WHEN CHILDREN FEEL CONNECTED TO SCHOOL THEY HAVE BETTER BEHAVIOURAL AND LEARNING OUTCOMES.’
- There are ONLY Two Kinds of People in the Life of the Child
There are 2 categories of people in the life of the child, either as primary or secondary caregivers:
I. Those who are part of the Child’s Solutions
II. Those who are part of the Child’s Problems
The question, I believe every one of us must ask per time is where do I stand on the equation? 17 years ago, knowing the implication of causing trouble for the child, I took the solemn decision to which I am accountable to God and my conscience that in my THOUGHTS, WORDS and DEEDS, I will always be part of the child’s solution.
- In Child Protection, the Child Has Only One Problem
Also Note that in respect of Child Protection, the Child does not have TWO PROBLEMS. The Child has JUST ONE PROBLEM. The PROBLEM is the IGNORANCE of the PRIMARY (PARENTS/GUARDIANS) and the SECONDARY (ALL OTHERS CAREGIVERS OTHER THAN THE PARENTS/GUARDIANS) caregivers.
Caregivers are always dealing with four (4) levels of Ignorance: The first level of ignorance is not a major problem but the caregivers’ lack of understanding of it sets him up and he is not able to relate to the three other levels. Here are the four levels. The first is that we do not know everything. That is not on the face of it a problem since it is only God, who is all-knowing. But it becomes a problem when you are not conscious of the fact that you do not know everything. The real problem is that it reduces your receptiveness and responsiveness to new knowledge and retards or stagnate the development of your mind and by extension, your personal development. The second level of ignorance is that many so-called caregivers do not know what they should know. The third level of ignorance is that many caregivers do not know what they should know and they do not know that they do not know what they should know. The fourth level of ignorance is that many caregivers do not know what they should know, they do not know that they do not know what they should know and they now think they know what they should know.
The latter is the most lethal of all. It is the throne of pride. Expect by divine intervention, it is not possible to help such people. Or how do you help someone, who does not believe he has a problem or who even believe that you are the one, who has a problem?
- Enlightenment is Superior to Enforcement
Having been in the forefront of Child Protection through the instrumentality of the law in the last 17 years and working with UNICEF in the last 9 years, we have come to the irresistible conclusion that the law as an independent tool of child protection is as powerless as a paper tiger. Therefore, for the law to make sense, it must be mixed with enlightenment. It is our informed position that Enlightenment is Superior to Enforcement™ of the laws relating to children, their rights and responsibilities. The strength of enlightenment is that it leads to prevention of child abuse. ‘Prevention is better than cure.’
Enlightenment is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end. The goal of enlightenment is Child Protection Social Policing™. Child Protection Social Policing™ happens where every primary and secondary custodian within the four (4) institutions (Family, Community, State and International Community) responsible for the protection of the child are equipped with Knowledge (what to do), Skills (how to do it) and Attitude (wisdom and inner strength) to professionally and effectively protect, preserve and defend the rights of the child, even at the cost of personal discomfort.
- Children are not Vulnerable (Susceptible, Defenceless, Helpless, Exposed, In Danger, At Risk)
No Child is created vulnerable by God. Every child is created and put in care of primary and secondary caregiver. That is why children do not fall from the sky. Therefore what we call Child Vulnerability is simply adult’s irresponsibility. What we call Child Vulnerability is the negligence of those charged with the divine responsibility of protecting children.
When a child is abused, there are three (3) culprits: first, the primary and secondary caregiver, who fails in his/her duty of care; second, the predator or abuser, who takes the advantage of the loophole created by the primary and secondary caregivers and third, those who are aware of the child’s abuse and keeps quiet for different excuses, which will always lack any form of nobility.
I beg to sign out here. By God’s grace, I will be back here next week to continue this discussion. Do have an INSPIRED day. I charge you today to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…