Child Protection Intelligence Movement  presents Monthly Child Protection Discussion Stimulating Scenarios(CPDSS)

Our Bi-monthly Child Protection Basics Class of our Child Protection Academy began a year ago…

We thank God for the calibre of men and women(secondary and primary caregivers) the Academy has attracted and the mind-blowing testimonies we have received…I keep saying to myself, what if we didn’t obey the divine mandate to start? The other day, one of our members came all the way from Imo State to be part of the program in Lagos…

Dear stakeholders, we are starting another meeting…This one is a monthly meeting, christened, Monthly Child Protection Discussion Stimulating Scenarios(CPDSS)…It comes under our Child Protection intelligence Movement. The purpose of this meeting is to open a channel of discussions for primary and secondary caregivers…The meeting will discuss true-life stories touching on Child Protection & Traffic Issues, Child Protection from Sexual, Emotional, Physical Abuses and Neglect and many other issues…We shall do only two things: 1. Decide the topic in due consultations with primary and secondary caregivers on our database; 2. Moderate the discussions of caregivers and collate the solutions as reference point for the participants and others who may want to have access to same….

The CPDSS plaform is a Support Group addressing real issues touching our children through sharing of pratical experiences by caregivers…

Below is the type of true-life and eye-opening matters we will take on at CPDSS, which inaugural meeting we will announce soon:
‘A hairdresser comes home to make hair for a five year old girl. She takes a corner in the home of the parents where she makes the child’s hair. The child’s parents are around and the child and the hairdresser are within sight. When the child becomes cranky and does not want to cooperate with the hairdresser to make her hair, the hairdresser gets the attention of the child with pornographic video materials on her phone, which she gives to the child to hold. After a while the child begins to manifest strange sexual behaviors. The parents find out that the child is introduced to pornographic material by the hairdresser under their own roof and nose. Do you think the parents are culpable in anyway? How do you think the parents should handle the situation?’

We desire your response to this test, yet real case…

I remain your host, Taiwo Akinlami and I am sober on my knees on this LORD’S Day.

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VERY SOBER REFLECTION ON MY BIRTHDAY EVE…

March 24, 2015(tomorrow) is my 45th Birthday…I am grateful to God for another year added…Yet I will roll out the drums…

Most important it is going to be a sober day for me as I know that the ONE, who sent me here has a MANDATE for which he sent and has preserved me. My ultimate fulfilment in life is to find this MANDATE and fulfill it…

Also I see so much suffering in our land though we are so blessed…
Social services do not exist as the welfare and the security of the people is no more the primary aim and concern of government…

My wife and I, understanding that the little resources we have is not for ownership but for stewardship, began some years ago to take responsibility for the education of some children, who the families are not able to help for sundry reasons…and the public social service providers(governments) have not come to their rescue…

Tomorrow, we are adding another 2 families of 6(six) children, believing God for the resources to follow it through…

If you will pray for me on my birthday, please pray that God will grant us the resources to be faithful to this commitment and others…

If you desire to give me a gift, request for the profile/budget of education of this family for a year and contribute your quota as my birthday gift…
Thank you for reading…
Do have an INSPIRED week.
Taiwo Akinlami Sober on his Knees on his birthday eve…

PARENTS/GUARDIANS I ALERT YOU: TERRORISTS ARE ON THE PROWL TO RADICALIZE YOUR CHILDREN

I am really sober on my knees this LORD’s day as I address a disturbing trend in the protection of the African child today.

I am concerned about radicalization of children by terror groups like Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Al-Qa’ida inthe Arabian Peninsula(AQAP), Hamas, the Taliban, Hezbollah etc.   It has become a worrisome global phenomenon for children to be recruited, radicalized and deployed as suicide bombers, soldiers, human shield, spies, messengers, lookouts etc.

These children are either exported from their countries to the training sites of the recruiting terrorist groups. In some instances they are asked to return to their countries after they have been indoctrinated to carry out acts of terrorism or they are posted to other locations countries. Where the terrorist group reside in the same countries where the children resides, they are recruited, radicalized and deployed to carry out terror acts in their countries like we have found in the case of Boko Haram. In some cases, terrorist groups, who are not located in the countries, where the children reside, carry out the entire recruitment and radicalization virtually. In this case, the recruited and radicalized children do not get to leave their countries. In most cases they are trained to carry out ‘retail terrorism.’ This is a concept created by the terrorist groups to recruit and radicalize western children and youths to carry out terrorism activities within their own soils. This solves for the terrorist groups, the problems associated with tightened immigration and security measures taken by the governments of western states to deal with the escalated cases of terrorism in their countries. A very recent example of ‘retail terrorism’ was the case of the Cherif and Said Kouachi brothers, who were behind the recent Charlie Hebdo terror attack in France.

Studies reveal that children, as young as five years old are recruited and radicalized. They recruit children of both male and female genders, low and highly, from developed and developing countries. Their recruitment of children also cuts across religious beliefs, Islam and Christianity.

In Nigeria today, Boko Haram is in the habit of recruiting and deploying children as suicide bombers and soldiers.  Anthony Lake, head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has described Boko Haram use of children as suicide bombers and all of the categories identified above as ‘depraved act.’ Boko Haram uses children as young as eight years old to carry out suicide attacks.

What is the social status of the children being recruited by terrorists groups all over the world? The first are the children of the poor and uneducated, the second are orphan and abandoned children, the third are the children of the terrorists, the fourth are the children of rich and informed. Still fresh in our memory is the story of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was born with silver spoon in his mouth but was recruited and radicalized by AQAP.

The strategy for the recruitment of the children of the poor and the rich and educated are completely different. In most cases the children of the poor and uneducated are either captured without the consent of their parents or the children are released by the parents, after being deceived by the terrors groups of a better life.

The strategy for recruiting the children of the rich and the informed is to reach the children directly without the knowledge and the consent of their parents/guardian. The recruitment is largely done through the use of the internet, particularly, social media. They create children-friendly websites with cartoons, which are updated almost daily; they pose as children on the social media platforms to get the attention of children; they post short and attractive messages, which appeal to the naivety and emptiness of the children. It has been established that ISIS, for example has over 46,000 feeder twitter accounts, created to tweet their activities and retweet their messages until they begin to trend and be on the face of every user of the social media platforms.

It is important to note that the terrorist groups, earlier identified recruit children from all the territories of the world, both from developed and developing countries of the world. Still in the news is the story of thethree British teenage girls, who are said to have left their parents in February  to travel to Syria to joins ISIS. It has been reported that the three teenage have finally crossed to Syria and that many other British teenagers are on the waiting list to also join ISIS. On Wednesday Australian Jake Bilardi 18, identified by his ISIS name Abdullah al-Australi, was reported to have blown up himself in a suicide mission in Ramadi in Iraq. He was recruited when he was a child. According to the Australian authority, just last week two teenage Australians were arrested at Sidney airport, suspected to be travelling to join ISIS. CNN reports that according to CIA sources, there are over 2,000 westerners from different countries, who have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. On February 21, 2015, CNN aired the story of Islam Yaken, who went from a private school in Cairo but left to join ISIS.

The Will, on March 4, 2015, a United States online medium, published the shocking report that one of the sons of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Muhammadu Lawal Uwais had joined ISIS after moving from Nigeria with his two wives and children in order to help fight alongside ISIS. Though the son is said to be 41-year, the fact is that ISIS is already recruiting from Nigeria. If they could recruit a man with two wives and children, it goes without saying that children will be nothing but easy preys. You will also recall that recently CNN reported that Boko Haram is offering ISIS gateway to West Africa and the possibility of Al-Shabaab joining the unholy alliance. If this report is anything to go about, it therefore means that Boko Haram, who has already perfected the art of recruiting children, may become a feeder, formidable and effective recruitment body, poised to export Nigerian children, across all social divides to Iraq and Syria.

Permit me to quickly unfold the profile of the children and the social factors, which make it are easy for terrorist groups to recruit:

Emptiness: when a teenager is empty, he/she lacks identity, value and character contents. He/she has not been trained and disciplined to discover his/her identity, the values to represent and the character to imbibe. sustain and defend. He/she is not trained to discover and defend his/her self-worth. Such child/teenager becomes an adventure seeker in a bid to fill the emptiness within. When such child/teenager goes to the internet or social media platform, he/she is like a city without walls, which accommodates all, the good, the bad and the ugly.  When a child/teenager, who is empty, now becomes thirsty or hungry, every bitter thing becomes sweet and every rubbish becomes filling. Such teenager are easy preys to all destructive forces like drug addiction, promiscuity, terrorism and others.
Anger: when a child/teenager suffers abuse, he/she is dehumanized. He/she loses capacity for compassion and seeks carry out a revenge mission on the abuser, the society and the world, which watched unconcerned when he/she was being abused.
Untrained senses: it is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure that the senses of their children are trained to be able to decipher between good and evil. Where this is not done, the child/teenager lacks sound sense of judgment and standards of behavior. He/she is simply gullible, believing that all that glitter is always gold and that life is a bed of roses.  Such child/teenager does not have any screening capacity or standard of judgment. They become easy prey of peer pressure and drown by it.
Abandonment: many parents and guardians are too far from their children. We do not have any rich relationship with them. Therefore there is no communication. Where there is not communication, it means we are not our children’s confidants. Love to children means appreciation and attention. Once they are denied of both, they feel abandoned. When children are abandoned, it means, we are not available and when we are not available as primary and secondary caregivers, we lose the edge of vigilance and sensitivity to find out things for ourselves by observing our children. When they are faced with a situation where they are being wooed to do the wrong thing,, they do not find us AVAILABLE, FRIENDLY, VIGILANT, SENSITIVE and UNDERSTANDING enough to talk to. Our absence diminishes our influence and renders us ineffective in the days when our children need us most.
Lack of control/supervision: many primary and secondary caregivers do not have family and institutional policies to regulate their children’s behavior and habits. I believe that every family or institution of learning today must have a clear policy on children and internet use, particularly as it relates to the use social media. There are principles of control that must be in place to ensure that our children partake of the huge benefits of the internet technology without getting lost in the process. Our principle of control must address addiction and purposeless use of the internet and social media. We must identify and address positive and negative use of the social media and how to cultivate and reject same respectively. The truth of the matter is that many children go to the internet without control and defined purpose and plan. The saying is ever true that when you do not know where you are doing, every bus stop looks attractive. 
Silence: our society does not discuss. We do not think ahead. We fail to arrest situations by discussing them. We think that leaving matters unaddressed kill them. Unknown to us, when social issues are not brought to the domain of public debate they fester underground and take control of the lives of men and women they target.

My suggestions: I think to counter the deadly but very weak wiles of terrorists and their recruitment of children, I suggest as follows:

Start a Conversation: as primary caregivers (parents/guardians) and secondary caregiver (schools, religious places of worship, media etc.), I suggest that you begin an informed conservation with the children under your care on this dangerous trend. KINDLY NOTE THAT FOR INSTITUTION OF LEANINGS AND RELIGIOUS BODIES, WHO ARE INTERESTED IN STARTING THE CONVERSATION, I AM AVAILABLE TO HELP IN FACILITATING SUCH CONVERSATION, AS LONG AS I HAVE AMPLE NOTICE. Parents and teachers must also be involved in the conversation. The goal of the conversation will empower our children and their caregivers in responding to this dangerous trend.
Establish the principle of Child-Friendly control: as primary and secondary caregivers, we must establish child-friendly control that do not cut off our children from the use of the internet and social media and yet preserve their sanity.
Train: this is long-term and on-going measure. I believe we must make a commitment to train our children to develop and sustain soft and life skills, which will enable them to respond adequately to the challenges and pressures of life.

I think, I should sign out here…This is again a long piece…Yet, it is not my will…I profusely apologize for keeping you this long…Please, if you believe it is worth the trouble of reading, please encourage me with your comments and responses. Do have an INSPIRED week.

This Taiwo Akinlami Sober on his knees on the LORD’s Day.

CHILD DISCIPLINE AS THE TOOL OF PRESERVATION OF CHILDHOOD

Kindly, permit me to submit that this is the last piece (at least for now) of my series on CHILDHOOD and preservation of same. Also permit me to also warn that it is the longest. I appeal to you to please bear with the uneasy infirmity of long reading in the best interest of our children. Thank you as you read to the end…

Concluding my short treatise last week, discussing on Childhood as the cost of ‘raising’ today’s African Child, I shared, ‘I think one sure way of preserving CHILDHOOD is through discipline.’ I promised, ‘right here next week, I will share my researched perspectives on DISCIPLINE as a tool of preserving CHILDHOOD.’

I am here today to keep my promise. Permit me to declare that CHILDHOOD, a gift bestowed on a child for his her existence, dominion and difference in life must be preserved by all means. In employing discipline as a tool to achieve the foregoing, I think there are 5 fundamental questions every primary and secondary caregiver must ask and answer appropriately…

The sad thing is that many caregivers have robbed the child of CHILDHOOD in the name of discipline. In fact, the concept of discipline is the most misunderstood and abused in the relationship between the caregivers and the child. Another one that is very much misunderstood is communication with children. It may shock us to find that only few caregivers ever communicate with children, yes very few…

Let me attempt to ask and answer the 5 questions:

1. Who is a child? We cannot discipline a child we do not know and until we learn of and from the child, we cannot know the child. Until we know the child, we cannot know his needs; until we know his needs, we cannot meet them or help him to meet same through discipline. I describe a child as a person, who is made in the image of God, fully endowed spirit, soul and body to DISCOVER and FULFILL a DIVINE plan through the handlers’ discovery, understanding, preservation and nurturing of CHILDHOOD, which main characteristics include CURIOSITY, FREEDOM, PEACE, JOY, INNOCENCE and FEARLESSNESS.

2. What is child’s discipline? The term “discipline” comes from the Latin word “disciplinare,” which means “to teach.” Many people, however, associate the word with punishment, which falls short of the full meaning of the word… A renowned author says and I verily believe: ‘discipline has nothing to do with punishment. Punishment is imposing something unpleasant on a person in response to behavior deemed wrong by the punisher. Discipline comes from the Latin verb to teach or guide, as does the word Disciple.’

3. Why do we discipline? I think the only reason why we discipline is to preserve CHILDHOOD. Put differently, to preserve the dignity of human person of the child as created by God. When CHILDHOOD is preserved, the child is prepared to fulfill divine purpose. If we agree that the purpose of child discipline is to preserve the child’s dignity of human person, we cannot abuse the child in the process. Why? Abuse robs the child of his dignity of human person. Abuse dehumanizes. Therefore, parents must first be strict with the example we set before we are strict with the child. And even when we are strict with the child, it is possible to still preserve CHILDHOOD. Billy Graham recounted in his autobiography, ‘Just As I Am,’ that ‘in all the strictness of my upbringing, there was no hint of child abuse.

Through discipline; children are able to learn SELF-CONTROL, SELF-DIRECTION, COMPETENCES, and a SENSE OF CARING. The foregoing are known as inevitable LIFE and SOFT SKILLS, without which a child does not have the capacity to take hold of the present and the future. SOFT SKILLS are behavioral competencies. Also known as Interpersonal Skills, or people skills, they include proficiencies such as communication skills, conflict resolution and negotiation, personal effectiveness, creative problem solving, strategic thinking, team building, influencing skills and more. LIFE SKILLS are behaviors used properly and dutifully in the controlling of personal affairs. They are a set of social skills acquired through observation, teaching or direct experiences. They are necessary for handling problems and question, which we confront daily as human beings. Paramount in the mind of an informed caregiver why he/she disciplines are the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, ‘we cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.

4. How do we discipline? I think this is the most contentious as it regards child discipline. This where abuse kicks in. this is where CHILDHOOD is most threatened. I think if we accept the answers to our first 3 questions, we will automatically find answers to this question. If we understand who the child is, what discipline is and the purpose of same, I believe we will get our method right. As far as I am concerned, MOTIVE of child discipline is superior to the METHOD of same.

Permit me to however conclude here that the number one factor in how we discipline child, with a view to preserving and nurturing childhood is EXAMPLE. It is important to note that teaching and guiding begins with example of the caregivers. According to John C. Maxwell, ‘a good example is worth a thousand sermons. What you do have more impact on your child than all the lectures you could give.’ Long before John C. Maxwell, Abraham Lincoln had aptly concluded, ‘there is but one way to train a child the way he should go, and that is to travel it yourself.’ Zig Ziglar says, ‘if you live by example you make few rules!’ That is why I always say that anything a caregiver complains about in a child today, he/she puts it there by his/her example or that of the people, he/she engages to take care of the child. Example is one true area of discipline, we have all neglected today. Every caregiver must first be sober and look inwards when they find their child exhibiting behavior(s) he/she does not like.

5. Who can discipline a child? The only person, who can truly discipline a child, is a person, who has a relationship with the child. Relationship with the child, when motivated by LOVE creates INFLUENCE. LOVE to children means APPRECIATION /ACCEPTANCE and ATTENTION/RELATIONSHIP. What is INFLUENCE? It is when a person willingly submits to the leadership of our values as caregivers and defends same both in our presence and more in our absence. INFLUENCE is the key to SUBMISSION. SUBMISSION is the key to DISCIPLINE. According to Mike Murdock, ‘your absence diminishes your influence.’

Susan Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley drove the point home thus, Susan Wesley as follows: ‘I am a woman, but I am also the mistress of a large family… I cannot but look upon every soul…under my charge as a talent committed to me under a trust. I am not a man nor a minister, yet as a mother and a mistress I felt I ought to do more than I had yet done. I resolved to begin with my own children; in which I observe, the following method: I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty, Wednesday with Nancy, Thursday with Jacky, Friday with Patty, Saturday with Charles…’

Nelson Mandela further hammered on the importance of relationship thus, ‘when your life is the    struggle, like mine was, there is little room left for family. That has always been my greatest regret, and most painful aspect of the choice I made. We watched our children grow without our GUIDANCE…TO BE THE FATHER OF A NATION IS A GREAT HONOUR, BUT TO BE THE FATHER OF A FAMILY IS A GREATER JOY. But it was a joy I had far little of.’

As I round up today, permit me to submit that discipline as a tool of preservation and nurturing of CHILDHOOD is impossible without our full attention as caregivers to the last question and the answers provided thereof. Without genuine relationship with the child in the order discussed above, discipline is IMPOSSIBLE! Where discipline is IMPOSSIBLE, CHILDHOOD cannot be preserved.

I thank you all for reading and comments on this series and most importantly, I thank you for you tarrying with me here as I remain sober on my knees on this LORD’s Day pouring out my heart in the defence of the African Child’s CHILDHOOD.

Do have an INSPIRED week.

 

CHILDHOOD AS THE COST OF ‘RAISING’ TODAY’S AFRICAN CHILD…

I am reporting live today from Ado – Ekiti, Ekiti State. This is the land where I grew up. I call it the land of my CHILDHOOD. As I report this day, running through the whole of my being is a heavy dose of emotional adrenaline. As I tour the land where the stories, I live to tell today was born, I am enveloped in nostragia and invaded by an army of deja vu. Looking back, I can only be full of gratitude to the ONE, who chose me before the world began to tell my stories of trials and triumphs, understanding that CHANGE is an ever- present POSSIBILITY for anyone who is ready to take RESPONSIBILITY…

Today, sober on my knees more than ever before I write about CHILDHOOD as today’s real cost of bringing up children in Africa…

Last week, in my declaration, titled, ‘METAMORPHOSIS:
From CHILD RIGHTS to CHILD PROTECTION to CHILDHOOD PROTECTION MOVEMENT,’ I submitted the following as the fundamental characteristics of CHILDHOOD: CURIOSITY, FREEDOM, JOY, PEACE, INNOCENCE, FEARLESSNESS. It is my disturbing observation that most parents and schools alike claim to imbibe in the child moral and academic excellence, dispensing CHILDHOOD as the cost. To my CHILDHOOD PROTECTION mind, CHILDHOOD is too high and irrecoverable cost of ‘raising’ a child…

From my field experience, observing and working with primary and secondary caregivers, I have discovered that our so-called commitment ‘to raise the child right’ is more important to us than preserving CHILDHOOD and its GLORY. Unknown to us, the WHOLE DUTY of every primary and secondary caregiver to the child and his MAKER is to preserve CHILDHOOD for the present and the future of the child. Therefore the real upbringing is to preserve CHILDHOOD and its fundamental attributes through KNOWLEDGE(what to do), SKILLS(how to do), and ATTITUDE(the fortitude to do)…

So we build domestic and educational systems, which demand compliance from the child at the expense of his CHILDHOOD. For example, most of the parents and teachers, who desires a child to do well in a subject, yell and threaten the child regularly, attack his person, emasculated his right to play, until he loses CURIOSITY, FEARLESSNESS, JOY and other fundamental characteristics of CHILDHOOD. The parents and teachers are first not aware of what the child has lost. However, they are happy and confirm the efficacy of their method because the child pulls the best academic result in that subject as they desire it. Another example is that parents are more interested in raising compliant/subdued children, who will not ‘spoil’ the ‘good name’ of the family than raising disciplined, whose fundamental characteristics of CHILDHOOD are preserved. This is the same reasoning while fathers and mothers boast and concerns themselves more about the academic and professional attainments of their children as they desire it than the children’s true flair and character…

The beginning and breeding ground for the foregoing monumental error is that instead of carefully studying the child, understand his DIVINE DESIGN for the fulfilment of DIVINE DESTINY and committing ourselves, first to preserving  same (what I call Mistery of CHILDHOOD). Thereafter, we assume who the child is and what his needs are. On the basis of the foregoing, we form our expectations, which are in most cases based on our unfounded and unreseached preferences, mostly predicated on how we were raised…

Permit me to conclude my submission today on my suggestion on how to preserve CHILDHOOD. I think one sure way of preserving CHILDHOOD is through discipline. Permit me to submit that an ABUSED child and a CHILD LEFT TO HIMSELF share common destiny of misery. Therefore preservation of CHILDHOOD happens by DELIBERATE and INFORMED actions and not wishful thinking or leaving the child to himself. Right here next week, I will share my researched perspectives on DISCIPLINE as a tool of preserving CHILDHOOD…

Do have an INSPIRED week.
Taiwo Akinlami Sober on his Knees on the LORD’S Day.