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.
‘The hopes of the world rest on young people. Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance- all this and more, today and tomorrow, depends on tapping the power of youth,’ – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
Today, August 12, 2018 is the United Nations International Youth Day and the theme for 2018 is Safe Spaces for Youth.’ United Nations summed up the justification for 2018 theme as follows: ‘there are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. This is the largest youth population ever. But 1 in 10 of the world’s children live in conflict zones and 24 million of them are out of school. Political instability, labour market challenges and limited space for political and civic participation have led to increasing isolation of youth in societies.’
According to the United Nations, the day’ serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change and an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth.’
My interest today is the role of youths as ‘essential partners in change’ as same agrees with our #TheSAFE4MEMovement, which we launched on the World Children’s Day, November 20, 2017. The focus of the movement is call attention to all forms of abuse that our children and youths are exposed to and their roles in their personal safety and self-protection, through the inculcation of the right value system. The movement is an outreach both young people and their caregivers (primary and secondary).
It is in the light of #TheSAFE4MEMovement, which we consider to be the heart cry of today’s young people in Africa that I make comments on the theme of the 2018 theme of the United Nations International Youth Day.
While I am conscious that by the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a child is anyone below 18 years of age and by the general definition of the United Nations, a youth is anyone between the age bracket of 15-24, please note that for the purpose of this piece, by children and youths, I refer to the age brackets 0-21.
Permit me to declare upfront that the number threat to Safe Spaces for Youth is not the conflicts, lack of education, shelter, health services, and engagement in all forms of seemingly uncountable vices they are exposed to day. I think the real threat Safe Spaces for Youth is the war that is waged on the minds of our youth. Safe Spaces must first exist as a value system in the minds of our caregivers and custodians of the minds of our youth, who must deliberately inculcate same in the minds of our youth. The goal must be to help our precious children and youth to appreciate and take full ownership of the immense benefits of Safe Spaces for Youth. It is upon the foregoing foundation that they could be enlightened on their roles in creating same and how to take full responsibility for same.
I think the war on the mind of our precious children and youths has existed time immemorial. Adolf Hiller declared, as we planned the pogrom, which is today known as the Second World War, which claimed 62 million people (2.5 % of the population of the world then), ‘I want to raise a generation of young people, imperious, relentless and cruel.’
It is important to note that no cause, positive or negative has a future without the deliberate and active initiation of children into same. Hitler recognised this truth and set in motion a mission to achieve same.
It is important to note that the vision like Hitler’s has always been constant. It is the mode of expression that has changed. The attack on the impressionable and ‘absorbent’ minds of our precious children and young people today have only been enhanced by the undue democratization of information through the new media, in which social media is one of the most prominent features.
Permit me to round off this discussion today, as I do not intend to take you on this ride for too long lest you succumb to the temptation of losing interest.
I will continue this discussion tomorrow, believing that I will meet you refreshed and good to go in working with like minds to secure Safe Spaces for Youth.
Do have an INSPIRED week.
I am Taiwo ‘ODINAKACHUKWU’ AKINLAMI (The Preacher) and I Speak for the Precious African Child
As we mark Father’s Day today, my heart and encouragement go out to many women and mothers, who to the best of their ability play the roles of fathers in the lives of their precious children, same roles haven been abandoned by the fathers.
The foregoing is a growing and disturbing phenomenon, which our nation and her private and public institutions can only abandon at their own peril. It is never the design of God that mothers should entirely play the roles of father and mother as one person.
Remember, Idi Ami Dada and the havoc he wrecked on his nation and people. According to Wikipedia, ‘abandoned by his father at a young age, Idi Amin grew up with his mother’s family in a rural farming town in north-western Uganda.’ Joseph Stalin, the Soviet Union dictator, who ordered and oversaw the uncanny pogrom of his people was raised without the support of the father. It is high time we began to pay adequate attention to how we are raising our precious boy children to under stand the uniqueness of their roles first in the family and their immediate and general environment.
By virtue of where I sit as a Social Development Lawyer, whose area of professional influence and interest is primarily the family institution, I have lost count of how many women, whose matters I have handled directly, refer or counsel with, whose husbands have run away from home and abandoned the awesome responsibilities of fatherhood to the mothers.
There are other category of women, whose husbands die and the families of their late husbands sit on the estates of the husbands, depriving the widows and their precious children of the deserved access to their late breadwinners’ estate. Most of these women had laboured tirelessly with their late husbands to build their estates.
I also work with another group of women, who are divorced or separated from their husbands for sundry reasons, including but not exclusive to domestic violence and despite court orders and intervention of government agencies, mandating the fathers to take responsibilities for the upkeep of the precious children have refused or failed to live up to the mandate. Some of these fathers just seem to be above the law.
There is another category of women, who have never been married to the fathers of their precious children. Some of the fathers were married before they had something with these women and from whence these precious children came. Some of the fathers were singles, who had affairs with these women in the days of their youth and have never been there for the precious children.
There is yet another category of women, who are neither separated nor divorced from their husbands. They live under same roof with their husband and precious children, but the fathers are there as if they are not there. It has become the burden of such mothers to play the roles of father and mother to their precious children.
There is another category of women, who the precious children they father are not their biological children. These noble women have become voluntary foster parents or guardians to the children of their relatives abandoned by the fathers.
There are also women, who play the roles of fathers by virtue of the fact that they run orphanage and rehabilitation homes.
As many as these categories are, which I am sure I have not exhausted her, my intervention and experience reveal to me that many of these men are third or second generation absentee fathers. This is very frightening for me.
Most of these women that I know have sacrificed their lives so that their precious children can live a meaningful present and future. One of these women once unburdened to me that, ‘I also try to help stabilise her emotionally, which costs a hundred percent of my attention. In the process, am unable to live.’ Many of these unsung amazons are acquainted with sorrow of abandonment and grief of loneliness. There are many of them, who live in abject poverty and yet strive to find the best of help for their precious children.
Some of these women are not only fending for their precious children, they are servicing the debt either jointly entered into or solely entered into by the fathers of their children.
In a Third World country like Nigeria, where there is no social support system and public social services, strongly undergirded by the principles and practice of Social Protection, most of these mothers are practically on their own, in providing economic and social succour for their precious children.
Now, if the foregoing have been available, it would have only eased only a minute part of the mothers’ unusual burden. It is important to note that while meeting the economic needs of these precious children are very critical, they are not as important as the social and emotional needs of these precious children, which these honourable women are left to carry.
A father is a source and sustainer. Source or origin is fundamental to the identity of an entity. Functions are lost in the wilderness of lack of identity. You cannot do what you are born to do, if you do not know, who you are born to be. Fathers point the precious child to his/her identity and helps him/her to discover and give full expression to his/her potentials. The mother reinforces and builds on the foundation laid by the father. The father as a sustainer is first there as a spiritually and emotionally stable person to prepare the precious child, by example for life and its countless and meandering intricacies. The sustainer, provides resources, which finance is the least, but positive value system is the chief. The sustainer helps the precious child to answer the questions of origin, morality, meaning and destiny, as identified by Ravi Zacharias as the four questions every person must answer to make sense of life.
It is therefore a herculean task for a woman to stand in the roles of a father, not to talk of playing both the roles of father and mother.
You know the most painful part of my experience? Some of these mothers, who played the roles of fathers live in some level of bitterness. At the height of their bitterness, they indoctrinate their precious children against their run-away fathers. They forget that such prepare the precious children for a tough family life in the future. The fact of the disappearance of the fathers is already very damaging to the precious child in the present and future, except there is divine intervention, not to talk of the extra burden brought by negative indoctrination. There are some of these precious children, who today are at loggerheads with their mothers because they want to know who their fathers are and the mothers do not deem it fit to oblige them.
I must not in any way condemn or judge these distinguished mothers, who are doing their best to be fathers to their precious children as a result of their fathers refusing or failing to do so. I am not in their shoes and if I claim I know, where it pinches I will not only be lying but also be insensitive. The absentee fathers are real culprits in this situation
All, I do today is to celebrate and encourage you that there are some individuals, who appreciate your daunting but noble efforts to give your precious children a hope and future. All I appeal to you to do is for you to understand that it is by the grace of God Almighty that you are alive and standing for the best of your precious children.
I appeal to you to keep going, knowing that God is behind the scenes, working everything to work together for your good and that of your precious children. I appeal to you today to cast all of your burdens, (including, when you become bitter due to seemingly unbearable pressure) into God’s hands and watch Him be your peace as He fathers those precious children through you and brings a father figure to support you at His own time.
I plan to either call or send a message to as many mothers that I know doing their best to play the roles of mothers today. I hope I will be able to achieve this task, for they are many that I know.
I celebrate you today dear mothers and wish you an INSPIRED Fathers’ Day.
I am The Preacher, I SPEAK for the PRECIOUS AFRICAN CHILD.
Today is the day of the African Child and we wish the precious African Child meaningful Day of the African Child, where your best interest becomes the deciding factor of all the actions or omissions of your primary and secondary caregivers.
Culled from our Instructional Manuals: S.A.F.E™ for YOU
“Child prostitute” implies consent, stigmatizes victims, and downplays the crime” Jon BIRD
Welcome to our discussion today my dear and precious young ones.
I am here to continue our discussion on ‘Child Marriage and ‘Child Prostitution.’ You will recall that yesterday I took time to say to you that the ‘Child Marriage’ is a phrase which creates the wrong impression that a child can be a bride.
Let me make my point further by showing you what I consider to be the basic ingredients of marriage:
- Capacity: capacity here refers to age or maturity. In this instance, this is a function of number. Anybody below 18 years doesn’t have capacity to enter into marriage. It is important to note that though capacity is measured by age, it also speaks to psychological and physiological development of the parties.
- Consent: this refers to mutual agreement to enter into a marriage relationship. Even where parties pass the test of capacity, they must of necessity consent to the relationship. Consent here must be an informed consent and not coaxed or induced.
- Consummation: upon contracting a marriage, there is what is known as consummation of the marriage. This simply refers to sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, who are married. Under the law, a child does not have capacity to give consent to sex voluntarily or induced. Therefore a child cannot consummate a marriage and consummation goes to the root and validity of a marriage relationship. Any sexual relationship with a child in the name of ‘marriage’ is nothing but blatant abuse and violation of the innocence of the precious child, girl or boy.
It is high time that you as young people urge those who campaign for your protection from all forms of abuse go back to the drawing board, with the aim of defining the scope of their social interventions and most importantly, the right language with which to accurately capture same.
It is my belief that traditional definitions cannot help to do justice the cause of protecting our precious children.
I boldly submit today that there is no such thing like ‘Child Marriage.’ Our coinage, ‘Domesticated Child Sexual Abuse or Molestation,’ is an attempt to name this practice for what it is. It may not describe same fully. But it is a call to all genuinely interested defenders of your rights, (including you) to take another but careful look at our noble causes and the terms we employ.
My challenge to you today is to join the crusade that we will not rest until we find expression, which are in compliance with your BEST INTEREST as a young person. Marriage is a sacred and spiritual relationship and it is not meant for children
The THINK Factor
You see, to agree that forcefully giving out a child to a man or woman is ‘Child Marriage’ will mean to say that a paedophile is a husband, a sexually molested child is a wife, and the suspects, who forcefully joined them in ‘crimetrimony’ are in-laws. Do you agree with these thoughts? If you agree or disagree, what are your reasons? Take time to really reflect and share your thoughts in your S.A.F.E™ 4 YOU Personal Journal.
Culled from our Instructional Manuals: S.A.F.E™ for YOU
“I have big issues with the expressions known as ‘Child Marriage’ and ‘Child Prostitution.’ I strongly believe that the use of the expressions (‘Child Marriage’ and ‘Child Prostitution.’ shields the evil of both practices and gives a sense of legitimacy to the practices.” Taiwo AKINLAMI
Welcome to our discussion today my dear and precious young ones. Sure you were able to take some time to think about our discussion yesterday about ‘Consensual Sexual Activity’ and you were able to share your findings with trusted friends.
Today, I want to discuss with you another form of Child Sexual Abuse. It is called Child Marriage and I believe you will find it interesting.
Child marriage is forcing children into marriage. It mostly affects girls but there are also few cases boys being forced into marriage too. Here are the shades of child marriage:
- A girl child is forced into marriage with a male adult
- Two children(boy and girl) are forced into marriage
- A boy child is forced into marriage with a female adult
Child marriage is against the best interest of the child because under the law a child does not have the CAPACITY to give CONSENT for marriage.
According to United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA):
- Child marriage is a human rights violation;
- Despite laws against it, the practice remains common, in part because of persistent poverty and gender inequality;
- In developing countries, one in every three girls is married before reaching age 18. One in nine is married under age 15.
- Child marriage threatens girls’ lives and health, and it limits their future prospects.
- Girls pressed into child marriage often become pregnant while still adolescents, increasing the risk of complications in pregnancy or childbirth.
- These complications are a leading cause of death among older adolescents in developing countries.
According to Sections 21 & 22 of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003, a person below the age of 18 years cannot validly contract marriage, and parents or guardians are also prohibited from betrothing or giving their children out in marriage.
What I have done today is to bring you the facts as they are both from statistics and the law. I do not intend to do much in discussing more than this today. Later in our discussions, I will look into this issue of ‘Child Marriage’ again and link same with another issue called ‘Child Prostitution.’ Please be expectant and excited to learn about these issues. Do have an INSPIRED day.
The THINK Factor
‘Child Marriage’ is today very rampant among the poor and their precious children. If you are from a highly placed or middle class family. Why do you think this matter should concern you? I want you to really think about this. Take time to really reflect and share your thoughts in your S.A.F.E™ 4 YOU Personal Journal.
Culled from our Instructional Manuals: S.A.F.E™ for YOU
“Never let your desire for love override your sense of self and value.” Izey Victoria ODIASE
Welcome to our discussion today about your Personal Safety and Self-Protection my dear precious children.
I have been discussing with you the subject matter of sexual abuse and we have been looking at the root cause of same and everything related to that. I am interested in discussing the difference between sex and sexuality as I began to do yesterday.
SEXUALITY is far bigger than SEX. I make bold to say that SEX is a minute part of SEXUALITY. What is this SEX? SEX is properly defined as the legitimate, intimate, covenant-based and above all divinely-ordained exercise between a man and a woman, who are married.
I charge you to note that the perverted SEX to which you are exposed to today is far-apart different from the one defined above. SEX, as it is presented and strongly promoted to your young minds today speaks of an uncontrollable heat of sexual passion, which possesses children, young people and unmarried couples of opposite sex or same sex to engage in all forms of sexual relationships, from foreplay, oral sex to sexual intercourse.
Besides, you are being told that there are other sexual orientations or sexes other than the 2(male and female), which God ordained. At my last count, we are told that there are over 58(fifty-eight) genders and this is widely promoted by the social media platforms, where most you now spend most of their time and life unrestricted.
For example, Facebook has 3 columns for GENDER, namely, MALE, FEMALE and CUSTOM. Under CUSTOM, there are 58(fifty-eight) genders listed. You are also asked, ‘what pronoun do you prefer?’ The options are: MALE: him, FEMALE: her and NEUTRAL: them…
The social media platform provides opportunity for users to select more than one gender. Research has shown that there are over 20 million children on Facebook, the social media platform’s terms of service having require users to be at least 13 years old. Of the 20 million children, 7.5 million are below age 13, while 5 million are age 10 and below, who didn’t properly represent their real age. As at 2013 statistics reveal that there are 11 million Facebook users in Nigeria and the most popular age group are Nigerians under 25 years old.
SEXUALITY here refers to the ESSENCE of a person’s gender and his/her attitude to same. Gender simply means ‘the state of being male or female.’ SEXUALITY speaks to the physiological and psychological specifications of the male and female genders, their functions and differences. SEXUALITY addresses the relationship between the male and female genders and how they seamlessly partner according to the dictates of their distinct natural specifications in divine order to achieve God’s eternal purpose for the creation of man (male and female). SEXUALITY speaks of the GLORY and BEAUTY in the difference between the male and female genders and the DIGNITY of EQUALITY of both genders.
The THINK Factor
I have given you so much to swallow today…Wow! So so much…I want to charge you to please take time to think about it deeply and ask yourself, what exactly is the difference between SEX and SEXUALITY? Do I really understand it? How does it affect me? Take time to really reflect and share your thoughts in your S.A.F.E™ 4 YOU Personal Journal.