Challenges of child upbringing and the world of tomorrow
It can be beautiful, indeed, seeing children smartly attired marching, singing and waving hands, marking Children’s Day.
For teachers, it is a day of pride.
For parents, it is a day of delight and immeasurable joy.
In state capitals, school children gather at the feet of their governors who make promises of better days ahead for them.
In parts where thirst for education is yet to be the norm, the importance of girl-child education is emphasized and re-emphasized.
The spectacle always affords one opportunity for contemplation about learning and about education.
It is settled truism that learning leads to scholarship and erudition, and as some would say, lays the inescapable solid foundation for education which by its definition is unending and all embracing.
It consists of training, continuous learning, reading, observing, application and experiencing. Thus, in experiencing lies knowledge.
In the times in which we are, there will be compulsion to knowledge through experiences, harrowing or soothing, pleasant or unpleasant.
It was in the course of this reflection the mind raced back to the beautiful spectacle and the essence of our yearly Children’s Day which, I am reminded, replaces the Empire Day of my generation—“God save the Queen…” and all that. A day of a special meal at school.
Three weeks ago, this year’s edition took place. A great thought it is, this idea of a Children’s Day.
For, indeed, how many adults were never children or may never be? Or, how many may find happiness unless they be child-like, not childish, that is, become like children?
It cannot be without profound truth mediation when the Lord Christ admonished us to become like little children.
He said children should not be suffered to come to him. Children are unassuming.
They are without guile. No malice, no enemies. There are no hangovers.
A Children’s Day means different things to different people.
Many children do not appear to understand the issue at stake.
Few adults, in fact, seem to know what it is all about.
On the May Day, 27 May, however, children were too happy to have a break from the drudgery of schooling.
Were we to veer away from the governor’s or local council chairman’s recurring, but inevitable story lines of child labour, right to education and so on, how different, and perhaps refreshing it would be if for a change, the points can shift a little backwards.
Shifting backwards is to enable each adult to sit down quietly somewhere and ask himself: What kind of child do I want?
How different would it be if, while the child is on the way, the would-be parents seek and receive guidance on who is coming into their midst and what preparations on their part are required for his birth and upbringing?
Wouldn’t it be beautiful, for example, to know in advance the name the child is coming with in which it would best swing and would be a help and not a hindrance? Each person is the name he bears.
But the import of the names of the Lord Jesus Christ and John the Baptist, to mention only a few, announced and known ahead of their arrival was lost on mankind.
The failure of parents to absorb the import of this aspect of child-parent relationship, especially in this Age during which material pursuits have been the major blurring pre-occupation, must be of grave consequences.
Not being aware of the consequences changes nothing in the operation of the mechanisms of life.
We can dismiss this if we believe that the spoken word, out of which the name is formed, carries no living current and, therefore, lacks creative force under which influence swings the owner of the name. But can we?
It is observable in a modern-day mother regulating the amount of milk feed borne out of no other consideration but her convenience and being in step with fashion.
About 25 years ago in Europe, many women upon the birth of their children asked for medication to stem the flow of milk from their mammary glands, the flow which arose in the first place out of that great Wisdom which granted the coming of that child and the milk as its food pending when it would mature for more complex foods.
I recall that, fortunately, the Baby Friendly campaign for mother’s milk feeding waded in vigorously.
The campaign reached a point that the scale fell off the eyes of many a mother that they sued some major baby food manufacturers for the damage infant formula had been found to wreak on their babies.
In Nigeria as well senior health officials rose to mount campaigns for a return to naturalness, to feeding babies with the mother’s milk.
Studies have shown that impairment to a child denied the mother’s milk could be long-term or permanent.
The child is susceptible to diseases from poorly developed immune system. The child could become unsteady later in life. But this phenomenon is hardly seen as a child abuse.
A most troublesome next stage of child abuse is in the education of the child, even in cases where the right to education is touted as fundamental as child protection. It is not that child education is reprehensible.
What the advocates do not pay attention to is the right kind of education.
It takes a little but serious observation to note that the human body evolves in stages and the moulding of the intellect has to be graduated accordingly.
What, as a contrary principle, is prevalent among educators and educationists today is the ramming of the child through a one-sided, a one-phase intellectual nurturing, even where they assume a phasing has been neatly achieved.
It is known not by many that the body is a cloak or vessel in which the real man dwells.
Among those who claim to know, if it is assumed they do from their talk of body, soul and spirit in that order, how many realise that the spirit, even though it glows the soul to animate the body from infancy, does not take full control of it until it has attained a certain degree of maturity?
This is the crux of the matter in considering what kind of education is desirable at a particular stage.
Even then, there will not be two born in the same hour and circumstance who progress at the same pace and, therefore, reach the goal at the same time.
To start with, this then suggests that each educator must adjust himself to the particular child and not the other way round.
The careful educator will recognize that until they attain the stage of a certain maturity, children are more rooted in animism.
Their love for Nature knows no bounds. They do not like to be for long in the concrete enclosure we call homes.
Once in the open or fields, they are in their elements.
They chase the lizards and the goats. They love to play with the pussy cats or the puppy.
Dogs are their inseparable friends. They love the world of fantasy. They brim with animistic intuitive perception.
Their eyes, at this time, are expected to be opened to the wonders and beauty of Nature.
The wise old ones imbued with ancient knowledge that recognized this and the generous flow of animistic energy within the bodies of children tapped and utilized this energy in nursing sick adults back to normal health.
It cannot be for nothing that women get drawn to their grand children, filled with warmth and buoyancy as they relish the inexplicable bond!
Afterall, it has always been known that the bodies of women generate seemingly inexplicable warmth as evidenced in the story of Solomon and the maiden.
The point being made is that while children are still rooted in the animistic world, it is wrong to overtax their frontal brain as educators do today, edged on by parents who want their children to be precocious and show them off.
Scholars have produced many works on why children resent school or their teachers.
All over the place conferences are held today on why education has failed the adolescent.
But no-one traces the roots to the forcible tearing away of children from the world in which they naturally belonged at that time, planted as it were, in a world they are as yet had capacity to successfully live and swing.
Who has heard of a plant which was uprooted from its natural soil and yet did well on ill-suited ground? We could say, “yes, the plant would die in that case, but the child did not die.” That would be true looking at it from the surface.
A deeper understanding would recognize that the child in this case is the spirit inhabiting the young body whose tool, the body, has been deranged through ill-handling by the educator and who, like the driver of an immobile vehicle, finds himself in a really tight situation.
For the spirit the disarrangement could cause a whole earth life to become wasted thereby, since it would not be able to use the sickened body to achieve the purpose of its existence on earth which is self-improvement.
It is wrong, therefore, for parents to send their children to school too early for whatever reasons, either for convenience or self-esteem in which case children are reduced to playthings to merely satisfy desires.
When it is said that children are still rooted in the world of animism or in the animistic, it means their sprits have not taken over their bodies.
At this time only those things they need to learn of the world in which they live need be taught them.
In the second stage of education when the spirits have stepped out into the world, indeed connected as it were, the time has come to teach the spirit to take over control of the whole body.
This period is easy to recognize as puberty is associated with it.
It is the period the spirit steps out into the world and finds that everything around it is upside down and so would want to move the mountains and, if need be, straighten things out, and put everything right.
In our land this stage often manifests in student restiveness, protests and disobedience of authority.
Generally, it is about this time the child is further most abused. Through cunning girls are lured away into marriage under the wrong notion that motherhood is the crown of the vocation of woman in life.
Thus, a girl almost always misses that wonderful opportunity for strength building and focus sharpening which comes with the spirit gaining strong connections with the environment through deep experiencing.
Locked away in motherhood such a girl hardly appreciates the beauty of life.
She thus becomes a mother without first becoming a true human being. The field of experiencing is curtailed.
The fate of the young man is no better. The brain is overtaxed by today’s education which drains the body of the vital powers without which, as in the case of girls, it cannot be an effective tool of the spirit.
Having therefore been unable to be true children on account of these diversions, any wonder they cannot give full value as adults?
Or, as scholars have found out, any wonder education has failed the youth!
The dimensions of child abuse are wide and as expansive as the diversions from naturalness. In all human conduct.
And only a subjection of every matter to the prescriptions of Nature can determine how correct or how wrong any particular conduct is.
Unfortunately, today, many people are far removed from Nature or do not even believe in it.
But for the latter, events accumulating everywhere will soon come to their aid.
Children Day affords us as parents yet another opportunity to reflect on the purpose of life and ask if the child’s upbringing and education are on such footing as can facilitate the attainment of the goal and the future happiness and harmony in the society.
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