Child Protection: A PHILOSOPHER or AN ADVOCATE: Where I STAND…Rich FOOD for Your THOUGHT

Mor Dioum, Director of The Victoria Climbe Foundation, United Kingdom is a Legal Practitioner and Child Protection Specialist, who was a co-facilitator at the 2014 Association of International School Educators of Nigeria, which theme was Child Protection: Securing Our Children in a Changing World, held on Thursday 20th March, 2014 in Lagos, Nigeria. As I stepped down from the podium after my presentation, he held my hands and whispered to me, ‘I like your approach to Child Protection; it is highly philosophical.’

His comment struck a profound chord in me as it is a testimony to what I believe I have done in the last eight years of my seventeen years sojourn as a Child’s Rights/Child Protection Expert. I have through the help of God brought philosophy to child protection and make it an empowerment agenda. Meaningful change in any area of our lives as individuals and institutions only happens when our thinking is positively altered.

Every issue our society faces today has its human angle and the human angle, though often neglected is the most critical in finding lasting solutions. I have dedicated myself to proclaiming the sides of the human angle, we hardly look at and which has hitherto hindered our progress in the social intervention efforts toward protecting our dear children. It is my goal to help my audience to understand and decode for their personal victories, the human angle of Child Protection. I think this approach leaves me as thinker.

Please note that it takes human beings to operate rules. Before now, our society has cared too much about rules and regulations that we have paid little or no attention to the minds, which runs the rules and make them work for the good of humanity. Benjamin Disreali points out to use the helplessness of rules and regulation, when it is pitched in the agenda of social and personal change as an independent variable thus, ‘when men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken.’

The truth is that those who abuse children most times are people, who suffered abuses themselves and therefore have no better experience in dealing with the issue. Until they find help, which is able to trace their problem beyond their psychology to their socialisation, they will continue to produce after their kind. It is my well-considered opinion that our psychology is always of product of our socialization. We are not self-made. We are made of influences. We are made in God’s image, yet altered by the imperfection of men, beginning from our primary and secondary caregivers.

The talk to me about my psychology without a brilliant and informed attempt to address my sociology makes me to perceive you as someone who does not care, though you may care. Unfortunately, the human mind is trained to accept help only from those who it believes really care. Please note that actions or omissions, which result from my psychology, may not be fully excused solely on the basis of the fact that it is a product of my socialisation, but it will do me and the society a whole lot of good to factor this in, in trying to find solution to my imbalances.

If persons and society are able to do address the socialization behind our psychology, they will achieve two significant results: first, their approach to solving personal and societal problems, which occur as a result of social imbalances of persons, will change from condemnation or being judgmental to seeking to understand persons’ socialization before they address their psychology. When we do this, we will learn to love and love will lead us to solutions, which help to tum people around. Whichever name we call those who perpetrate anti-social behaviours today does not change them. They have a problem, created by their socialization. Therefore, they share equal status of being victims like the people affected by their anti-social behaviours. The second result of looking beyond psychology into socialisation is that it helps to nip in the bud the socialisation, which creates the psychology, which manifest in anti-social behaviour, which take away the peace, tranquillity and harmony of our society.

What about the law? Hmmm…Well, permit me to submit as a trained lawyer that what applies to rules and regulations apply to law. The law is good but it must ride on the wing of enlightenment and social reorientation for it to make any sense in any human society. That is why I keep saying that enlightenment is superior to enforcement. Legions of law would not stop people from doing what the right thinking about the reason for the law would help them do. The right thinking, I refer to here begins with personal change. Take it from me today, I agree with English historian and author, Henry Thomas Buckle that ‘society prepares the crime, the criminal commits it.’

In view of the foregoing, my approach to child rights/child protection is more of being a thinker and philosopher than being a crusader and advocate. Advocacy without genuine personal philosophy does not do the world any good. My fine-tuned mandate is ‘to bring to the front burner of the conscience and consciousness of individuals, private and public institutions in Africa, the PROTECTION, RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of the child for due respect IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD, using as instrumentalities of effectiveness, the provisions of the law, social intervention solutions and social empowerment advocacy.’ This mandate is two-fold: first, to educate the child’s primary and secondary caregivers about their sociology and how such understanding help them to see 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.

Why did I share this with you this morning instead of continuing with my series? Well, this popped in my mind this morning and I seriously feel I should share it with you, my dear friends. I charge you to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE.

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