So You Want to Send Your Child to the Children Department of Your Place of Worship? Ask these Ten (10) Child Protection Focused Question: Question 8: what do they teach?

The Maker of all things made this day and commands me to be glad and rejoice in it. In obedience to His commandment I choose to be glad and rejoice as I do this social empowerment advocacy.

I am still discussing the questions you must ask before you send your child to the children’s department of your religious place of worship: Question 8: what do they teach?

Question 8 addresses the issue of how relevant what the children department of the religious place of worship teaches is to the children’s day to day issues and challenges. A faith, which a person has submitted to or desire to introduce his/her children to must be relevant to the present day challenges. It must not only be relevant, the believers in the faith must be taught how it is relevant and how to practically apply the tenets of the faith to his day to day life and the challenges thereof. As it is with adults, so it is with children.

What the children department teaches must be relevant to the issues faced by the child on daily basis. Remember that there is no engagement with the child that is for fun and even when it for fun, we must understand that the child is being instructed. Therefore every engagement a child is exposed to is preparing or destroying the child for the present and future. The ‘absorbent mind’ of the child as described by Maria Montessori is too great an asset and resources to waste. Also remember that it is important that a child hears one voice everywhere we send him/her to. It is also important that we understand that when the primary and secondary caregivers consistently speak one voice (value) to the child, the forces of positive reinforcement, which the child needs to form strong values is being born, sustained and strengthen.

There are many child protection issues confronting our children today. They are asking questions about their sexuality. Please note that from as young as age 2, we may begin to explain to our children about their sexuality. Such discussion may begin with the right naming of the parts of the body and shedding light on good touch and bad touch. At this stage the child learns more about his/her sexuality observing the primary and secondary caregiver. Children are asking questions about their sexuality, wanting to know whether there is such thing as being gay or not. They are concerned about ‘consensual sex’ with the opposite sex. They want to know how to interpret puberty signs, which comes with a lot of physiological changes. They are concerned about teenage pregnancy and abortion. They are interested in finding the truth about phonography, having been inundated by it in the gadgets we buy for them. Children are concerned on how to handle issues of personal safety and self-protection, relating to issues of physical and emotional abuses from both peers and caregivers. Children want to know how to conduct themselves on the social media, how to deal with physical bulling and cyber-bulling. They have burning issues on their mind on the true meaning of friendship and how to strike same. They want to know how to handle betrayal. They are interested in learning life skills, which will put them ahead in their relationship with their peers. They want to understand how money works and how not to be intimidated by other people’s perceived successes. They are interested in understanding the impact of the media, sports and entertainment (popular culture) on their lives and outcome in life.

If the children department of your religious place of worship cannot teach children how to respond to all these issues and many more which are too numerous to mention, I think they are failing the children. If you argue that these issues do not fall within the spiritual contents of what a child should be taught, then I will ask why religious places of worship organises seminars and programs for adults on employability, financial literacy, total life management, business, career and others issues which their members face in today’s world. If the religious places of worship would help adults in their seeming secular areas of life, teaching the life and soft skills, how much more our children, who I strongly believe need it more. Besides, there is nothing secular in what we are advocating children should be taught in the children’s department of religious places of worship. If a faith must be relevant in the 21st century, it must have formidable answers to the issues facing those who rely on its tenets to make sense and meaning out of life in the 21st century. The truth is there is a spiritual side to everything in life. Today every institution has a perspective for the child on the issues, we have outlined above, the moral and sound voice of the religious place of worship must not be missing in this critical action for the destiny of our children.

While the religious place of worship must not lose its spiritual edge to the mundane, it must not at the same time become so irrelevant that those, who have subscribed to its tenets will be left behind in dealing with critical matters of life.

Please note that this question is not satisfactorily asked, when the person asking the question does not see the curriculum, being used by the religious places of worship, ascertaining whether what is being taught tallies in principles and values with what he/she as the primary caregivers believe about all the issues involved. The one asking the question must also be interested if the teachers and volunteers in the children department of the religious places of worship are morally and skilfully equipped to do same.

It is time to tame my spirit and sign out here. The spirit of the advocate, as the spirit of the prophet must always be subject to the advocate. I promise to be with you tomorrow. Thank you for visiting. Do have an INSPIRED week. I charge you to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

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