ADDRESSING THE 21ST CENTURY CAREGIVER AND ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY SYNDROME(1)

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Dateline was Friday, March 29, 2019, The Preacher was invited to Lagos State Education District 1 to speak to all the school counsellors in the district…The Subject Matter was counseling the 21st Century Children.

As I spoke and got into the spirit and elements of my presentation, consumed by the zeal of the message the Lord sent me, I found myself addressing the challenges of working with children as counsellors in the 21st Century. Quoting W.B. Yeats, “the Falcon cannot hear the Falconer… Things fall apart..the centre cannot hold mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,’ I posited the precious African children are the falcons and their caregivers are the falconers. I further stated that the challenge is that the falconers are speaking but the Falcon are not hearing.It therefore means that there is a communication breakdown between the Falcons and Falconers. Alas, the Falconers neither understand nor speak the language of the Falcons. The Falcons have created their own world and language codes and the Falconers have not sought to be initiated into into that world. The Falconers live in the Falcons’ world, with the expired language codes brought from their own world. The Falconers are aliens in the world of the Falcons, insisting on their language in another man’s land.
The real crisis of the 21st century is not the difficulties or complexities that we see discuss and adumbrate.The real issue is lack of capacity on the part of the caregivers to provide direction in a way that today’s young people can understand, appreciate and accept.
Unfortunately we are not even aware of what the real problem is. We have succeeded in calling this problems many names: today’s children are stubborn, they are full of their ways, they are too opinionated, their undue exposure to technology and internet has made them less receptive to opinions and instructuon of their caregivers.
What we fail to pay attention to is that these precious young people are growing up in a digital age. It is called the information age where everything happens at the speed of thought. They live perpetually on the fast lane of life, since the day of thei birth. It is important to note here that fast lane, as used here does not imply impatient or lack of commitment to processes. It means we are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. According to Wikipedia 4IR is summed up thus: ‘it is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres, collectively referred to as cyber-physical systems.’ Fast lane here means faster ways of doing all things. Unknown to the caregivers of today, every revolution comes with its own culture and it’s language, which is designed to be the vehicle of the culture.
While our precious children are digital natives by their births and socialization, we their caregivers are digital aliens. By our history and socialization, we are analogues in our thinking and deeds. By the implications of the foregoing, we live in the slow lane of life, except we consciously debrief ourselves of the impact of our history.
The challenge today is that SLOW ANALOGUE MINDS are trying to control the affairs of today ‘SMART’ MINDS,’ our precious young people.
We today’s caregivers and our precious young people live in same world but our cultures and orientations; THE ANALOGUE CULTURE and DIGITAL CULTURE. So what it took to be a caregiver in the 20th century is not what it takes to be a caregiver today.
Yet we suffer from what I refer to THE CAREGIVERS ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY(CEM). The lead symptom of this insidious Mentality is our belief that we deserve and must command the cooperation and obidience of today’s precious young people just because we are their primary and secondary caregivers. This Mentality robs us of the reality that until me move from being CAREGIVERS/DUTY BEARERS to becoming STANDARDS BEARERS, who learn, understand, accept and are established in the reality that we live in a changed and fast changing world with its own culture, we will not make sense to our precious children. Yet these precious ones are in search of directions in a very complicated and complex world. The Mentality has robbed us of the simple fact that we are saddled by God of the responsibility to help our precious young people solve the convoluted riddles that mark the 21st century life. To this Mentality, we are losing grounds and our place as STANDARDS BEARERS.
We still live in the old world. The CAREGIVERS ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY keeps us archaic in our thinking and actions and omissions. We believe that since our parents winked at us to communicate with us growing up, same must apply to this age and the way we communicate with our children.
Alas there is a failure to study the 21st century child .We still largely rely on native intelligence to guide us in navigating the murky and sophisticated waters of raising or instructing children in the 21st century. This is the bad news; IT CANNOT WORK..
There is a good news and that is what works and that I will share by God’s grace tomorrow and the role that our #SAFE4MEMovement and our medium, our monthly comic, #SAFEVille.
Do have an INSPIRED weekend.
Yours IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE PRECIOUS AFRICAN CHILD,
Taiwo AKINLAMI
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One comment

  1. Native Intelligence cannot drive the 21st Century Child, flowing along with them in a smart way will. Thank you sir.

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