I will like to continue our discussion where we stopped yesterday by sharing with that it seems to me that there are always four kinds of people in the lives of our precious children and youths. The first are those who are part of the solutions to the precious children and youths. These ones are always few in number and they labour in making useful contributions to the sanity of our precious children and youths through peaceful and value-based development. The second are those who are part of their problems, who by their omission or commission fail in their duty of care to prepare these precious children and youths for the challenges of childhood and successful transitions to responsible adulthood. The third are those who are part of the problem of these precious children and youths by making deliberate efforts to pervert the conscience and render them morally bankrupt for their personal, social, political and financial gains. The fourth is those who have embraced silence, passivity, double-standard in the face of a drowning moral crisis, fast consuming the very soul of our precious children and youths.
The last three succeed in bequeathing to the society directionless and menacing children and youths, which make life unbearable for their immediate and extended neighbours.
It is sad to note that the second categories of people in the lives of our precious children and young people by their active, cowardly and often ignorant omission and third and fourth categories of people by their skillful and deliberate commission have over the years had more successes in their endeavours than the first category of people in the lives of our precious children and youths.
The people in the second and fourth category often do not understand the power resident in our precious children and youths and how to fan same into glorious flame of useful existence and enduring contributions, the people in the third category know the power and potentials of children and youths when they are properly developed. They know that in the words of Adebayo Williams that ‘a properly educated mind will not accept an act of tyranny. Because to accept an act of tyranny is an act of intellectual self-dispossession.’ Therefore since this category of people do not often represent the interest of the majority of the people, particularly when they wield political power, they make it a point of duty to deliberately keep the teeming majority of our precious children and youth uninformed and impoverished. It is not in the best interest of any kingdom to empower her enemies, who when they become empowered they will displace her, except the kingdom is naive or not strategic.
I make bold to say that the people, who occupy the third category in Africa may be naive or less strategic in all things, they are not when it comes to suppressing the precious children and youths of Africa. It is important to note that it is not by accident that there is a silent war on education in Africa, particularly in Nigeria. It is not by accident that Nigeria has 10.5 children out of school and private education has become an alternative to public education. It is not by accident that the governments of most African countries today do not budget for social protection and where they have such budget, it is often misappropriated or diverted to personal use.
It is also the strategy of the people in the third category in the lives of our precious children and young people to bring distractions in the way of the precious children and young people in the name of entertainment. Entertainment and related adventures have today become the opium of our precious children and young people, strategically served as musical concerts and shows on days like the United Nations International Youth Day. The goal of such engagements on important days to our precious children and young people like Children’s day and United Nations International Youth Day is to divert the attention of our precious but unwary children and youth from the real issues affecting their personal and social development, for which the days are created to call attention to and address.
Though, the first category of people mean very well for our precious young people, they hardly labour in the crucible of visionary, missionary and strategic thinking and superior engagements of the precious children and youths and the society in which they are being raised. Therefore, the other three categories of people have always had an upper hand. Something the first category of people always forget is that since it is always easier to destroy than to build, they always have more smart work to do than the other two people.
Today, we have more directionless and menacing young people than purposeful and sound ones. We have more wasted potentials than harnessed ones among our precious young people. More are more disoriented than cultured. More are subdued than submissive. More live in the fortified cocoon of denial, delusion and despondency than live freely in pursuit of God-ordained dreams, for which custodians have moral and legal duty to provide direction.
Our precious children and youths today are best referred to as an orphaned generation. In my definition, an orphan is also a child, whose parents are not available, dead or alive. The greatest and most invaluable need of our children and youths today is direction in life. The direction they seek will address how to help them cultivate a meaningful and productive relationship with God, which will culminate in helping them to imbibe and demonstrate POSITIVE VALUE SYSTEM. Direction will address how to help these precious children and youths to achieve resourcefulness, combining soft skills with hard skills to make a difference and build relevance in their private and public lives in a world that is becoming more and more competitive by the day as the world becomes digital and Artificial Intelligence revolution is sweeping across the globe. Direction will address helping the precious young people understand how life and her principles work and how they can begin to relate with same and shepherd their lives in the direction of universal principles of how God created this world to function and reap the benefits both for their personal lives, families and the society at large.
Direction in the foregoing areas can only be provided by conscious primary and secondary caregivers. The question is, if these caregivers are truly alive, how come their existence is not making a definite and enduring difference in the lives of our precious children and young people today? What would have been the difference if there was an aggression on our continent and people from age thirty and above were killed and these precious children are left to grope their ways into meaningful and productive existence? Though, we as the custodians are alive, yet our precious children and youths are groping in the dark, endangered that they may not find their way to the promised land of being meaningful contributors to the 21st century and reaping from the boundless and bountiful opportunities thereof.
I think this sobering question should usher us out this discussion today. I think we should really take our time and ask if we are available to provide direction to our primary and secondary constituencies. Are our children feeling that they are orphans despite our presence?
Thank you for reading to and do have an INSPIRED day.
I am Taiwo ‘ODINAKACHUKWU’ AKINLAMI (The Preacher) and I Speak for the Precious African Child