There is a humility that comes with ignorance. You may want to ask, what is ignorance? Well, the English dictionary defines ignorance as, ‘lack of knowledge or information.’ It is my well-considered opinion that those, who are truly aware of their ignorance about a subject matter, approach it with a high dose of humility. Imagine how we obey every instruction when we travel by air. The passengers are educated on how to fly an aeroplane so we follow every instruction with humility and we are never ashamed of our ignorance.
Ignorance is an instigator of a hunger seeking information. However, the challenge is that those who pass information also pass error or misinformation. It is therefore the responsibility of those who receive information to filter and process it before accepting it. So how does one process information? It is by engaging the force of curiosity to keep asking question and pass our findings through the acid test of the universal principles, which God created to govern the affairs of this world.
For example, God does not give any human being dominion over another human being, including the children under him/her as primary and secondary caregivers. Therefore any information, which encourages a person to dominate another is against the creation intention of God. It is from this idea of domination that dehumanization proceeds. This dehumanization include physical, emotional and sexual. What God gives us over a fellow human being, particularly as primary and secondary caregivers is authority. What is authority? According to Wikipedia, ‘authority derives from the Latin word auctoritas’ and according to the English Dictionary, ‘it is the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.’
Now, it is important to share with you seventeen fundamental principles I have learnt about authority:
The first is that authority, particularly when it comes to the relationship between our precious children and the primary and secondary handlers is a very transient commodity. It only exists in its best quantity for 18 years, noting that a child is anybody below 18 years old.
Second, authority only makes an enduring difference when it is employed to communicate POSITIVE VALUE SYSTEM first by example and second by instructions.
Third, it is the responsibility of authority to communicate to the people under them, particularly children, the identity of the authority, where they derive their authority from, their roles in the lives of the people under them, the code of engagement guiding how the authority should be seen, how the identified roles will be played, how long the engagement will last and the expected outcomes. In this regard, authority must by very enthusiastic, open and unashamed in communicating his/her vulnerability and encourage the constant and consistent contributions in terms of observations and suggestions of the people under them to which they must be very open.
Fourth, flowing from the immediate principle, authority understands that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, but a law that does not exist cannot draw any form of sanction against anyone under it.
Fifth, authority is for the purpose of establishing order in a sphere of influence and it has nothing to do with superiority. Therefore a primary or secondary caregivers is not superior to the precious children under his/her care and must deliberately give rooms for him/her to be reasoned with.
Sixth, authority must always learn to tamper justice with mercy, in ensuring that the focus it to address what is wrong and not who is wrong, particularly when it comes to relating with our precious children. Therefore in this regard, authority must be firm but not high-handed, must be assertive and yet gentle, tender and kind, must be consistent, yet over some wrongs. Children may hate correction, but they do not have the person in authority, who is able to embrace empathy as a tool of engagement. Perfect love casts out fear and love conquers all, says the Holy Writ.
Seventh, authority must understand the principle of measure, relating to the wrong he/she wishes to correct and the status of the person in question to be corrected in terms of age and track record of behaviour, good or bad.
Eighth, authority must not have any pre-conceived notion in dealing with a child. Authority, therefore must always move from the place of assumption of innocence of the party or parties before it.
Ninth, authority cannot be bias in its engagement with people within his/her areas of influence. To be bias is to destroy the very fabric of the credibility of the authority itself. Therefore, authority does not have favourites and his/her favour is always in accordance with the code of engagement known to all parties.
Tenth, authority does not act in anger or omit to act as a result of pleasure. He/she brings her emotion under subjection and when he/she betrays same, he/she is open to correction.
Eleventh, authority does not sit in judgement over the precious children under him/her. The goal of authority is not to judge but to correct, give room for improvement and facilitate same. Therefore an authority in the life of a precious child hardly gives up on a precious child.
Twelfth, authority, when relating with our precious children, must first take responsibility for their behaviour, being the one that sets the tone for same. While authority must and love to take credit for excellent outcomes in the behaviour of the precious children under his/her, he/she must be ready to take responsibilities for the poor behaviour of the precious children under him/her. Therefore, authority must not distance himself/herself from the failures of our precious children. The approach, come rain, come shine must be ‘we are in it together.’
Thirteenth, authority must learn how to exercise authority positively. An untrained authority will make a shipwreck of the lives of those under it. Therefore, there must be a commitment of the authority to learning and unlearning of knowledge, skill and most importantly attitude (value system) relating to how to effectively and positively exercise authority.
Fourteenth, authority must employ the principle for mutual respect. The person over who we have authority deserves to be respected and treated with respect as the person in authority. In fact the person, whom you have authority over will never respect you above the respect you show to him/her.
Fifteenth, communication is key to exercising authority as it is the characteristic of human beings to reason and communicate. Therefore the person in authority must recognise the status of the person he/she has authority over as a reasoning, who must be reasoned and communicated with in the best language he/she can understand and has been trained to understand. Force does not achieve any result with a human being. Force only subdues and does not extract submission at any level.
Sixteenth, authority only succeeds when the precious children, who are passing through him/her become practitioners of the principles taught by the authority, even in his/her absence.
Seventeenth, authority the foundation to establishing the culture of child discipline in any human society.
Wow, The Preacher seems to have derailed into another discussion entirely, you may think. This is an exercise in digression, you have opined. You may even have asked, am I reading the right article? You are even beginning to think, what is the connection between the topic of discussion and this very long preambles?
I understand perfectly, this is part of the introduction to the dicey topic I have chosen. Next week, I will build on this copious foundation and hopefully, I will bring you to the promised conclusion.
Thank you for reading and do have an INSPIRED week.
I am Taiwo ‘ODINAKACHUKWU’ AKINLAMI, The Preacher and I Speak for the Precious African Child.