I love watching TED talks. I find it fascinating how various people can easily inspire you, challenge your mind and broaden your perspective with a 15 minute talk. I recently attended a TEDx talk and one of the speakers who blew me away was a 16 year old Nigerian boy.
He was very eloquent, confident, an amazing orator and had a good stage presence. You might think he has been giving speeches since he was two years old. He was keen on the time allocated to him that he was even done with his talk with 5 minutes left. And when he was done…..I stood up in applause.
A great musician once said by way of song:
“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be”
Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston
Growing up, I always used to hear the phrase that young people are the leaders of tomorrow. Some people would reject that notion and state that young people are the leaders of today. They say that Africa is rising; but the important question is who will rise up with it? Yes, there are those playing their part in lifting it up but who will sustain Africa after the founders are gone?
When a country is preparing for battle it makes sure that its soldiers are well trained, motivated and provided with the proper tools. I don’t think a country goes to war with the mentality that it is going to lose. Even if they lose, at least the soldiers go back home knowing that they did their very best and that their country had also done its best, it is just that the odds were not in their favour this time round.
Children arrive into this world innocent, wide-eyed and vulnerable and it is the job of the parents and the community at large to nurture and protect them. You need not be a wealthy man to give the best to your child. It is the simple things in life that matter.
Frederick Douglass said “it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults”
Children need to be taught a lot of stuff – from the basic to the technical, from the common sense to the analytical, from the proper to the respectful. We need to equip our children with the right tools.
Let us teach our children to respect authority; to be mindful of their environment; to treat each other with kindness; to be problem solvers; to be able to speak out in the face of injustice.
Instil in them values – whether based on religion or not – that will form a strong foundation. From as early as 7 years, most Chinese children are taught martial arts. They train and train till they perfect the art and skill of fighting, discipline, balance, meditation and control.
Let children get the chance to actually be children; to enjoy the pleasures of living life without a worry in their mind; to go to school and get an education; to play around in the fields as opposed to working from 9 to 5; to play around with dolls as opposed to practical learning of being a young mother and young bride.
Let us give the children opportunities to grow and develop. Let us give children the privilege to explore what the world has to offer and realize that the world is bigger beyond their society and nation. I honestly believe that education is the key to success and education comes in many ways – formal and informal – instill in children various life skills and general knowledge that gives them a forward push.
But this doesn’t mean we shall have a utopian State. As studies in Criminology show, there are usually cases of deviance in a society. Maybe it’s a case of societal balance. If there are no crimes, then the police lack jobs.
The truth is no perfect society exists but that is not an excuse for us to ignore our responsibilities and duties in raising up strong children. Circumstances may be hard and the situations may be difficult, but adults, whether a parent or not, have a role to play in building a child’s foundation.
“Don’t ask children what they want to be when they grow up but what problems do they want to solve. This changes the conversation from who do I want to work for to what do I need to learn to be able to do that”- Anonymous