Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Is There Any Hope For the Future? Defending the Nigerian Child

Growing up in a country like Nigeria has a way of making you stronger than you even know. The strength to wake up everyday in our blessed country and hope for the best is one that comes from God. I often ask myself this question, “What is the future of the Nigerian Child”?
Some of these children go to bed each night and pray not to wake up the next day because they are unhappy. They have to walk long distances every morning to fetch several buckets of water, some are barely 5years old and have to take care of their younger ones. Others are even molested everyday by family members they trust, and the sad part is that they have no one to tell. On the other hand, we have the kids from the average family who get to eat three square meals a day while their parents struggle to keep them in decent schools. We also have the “lucky” ones otherwise known as the rich kids who are chauffeur-driven to school, can afford to buy anything they want and just generally get to live the “good” life.
In spite of all these challenges and enjoyment respectively, the Nigerian child is a survivor. They are usually very smart, strong, independent, loving, caring and intelligent. We, as parents, have a larger role to play in this development. If you want your child to be successful, you can help shape their formative years.
If children wake up every morning to watch their mothers get thoroughly beaten by their fathers, it will surely have an adverse effect on them. Such children could be traumatised and as such, may not find it easy to blend in properly at school. They may even exhibit violent tendencies towards their peers.
On the other hand, a child who’s brought up in a loving home is usually more outspoken, confident, happy and generally a jolly good fellow. Such children tend to have great dreams and aspirations, they believe in themselves and know that anything is attainable.
We all understand that the hustle is real and parents have to work hard so that their children can get to enjoy the things they didn’t enjoy while growing up; things like swimming lessons, violin sessions, ballet classes, piano sessions, voice coaching, tennis, golf, squash and badminton training lessons. It’s good if you can afford these things for your kids, but don’t ever neglect your duties as parents just because you believe you’re providing your kids with the best of everything “materially”. It’s good to give your children the best but you also need to spend time with these kids. A little bonding session with your children always goes a long way. So many parents complain that they are too busy with work that they don’t even get to spend quality time with their children yet they always make out time to attend “every” society event wearing the “aso ebi”. Sometimes these kids just want to spend time with mummy or daddy or even both, that’s not too much to ask.
As parents, we should endeavour to show love to our children and try as much as possible to shield them from the many dangers of this world. It’s important to care for them and give them the necessary attention. Let them know their rights from an early stage. Also, pray fervently for your children.
Being successful or making it in life doesn’t depend on your family name or your Parent’s wealth, it depends solely on your ability to push through, in order to make it in life despite the obstacles you come across. Life’s journey is not an easy one but with determination, you embark on the journey and hope for the best.
A lot of children have no shoes, lunch packs, school bag or uniforms. Some don’t even get to eat as much as two meals a day, others have no food at all yet they still go to school so that they can make something out of their lives. Hope is what the Nigerian child needs to survive. Even when the situation seems bleak, remember the stories of people who have made it to the top and learn from them.
In Michelle Obama’s recent speech at the Democratic national convention (DNC) in North Carolina, she revealed how her husband’s only pair of decent shoes before he became President of the United States of America were half size small. Did it limit or stop him from becoming the first black President of the United States of America? No.
In a hopeless looking situation, a little bit of hope should keep you going. Never let your situation limit you. On the other hand, you should let your situation become an inspirational story for the future. I wish our children are told this more often “The future of the Nigerian child can and will be bright if only you can believe that there is hope for a better tomorrow”.
Photo credit: punchng.com
Written by: Ariyike Akinbobola 

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