A thousand years in the sight of God Almighty is but yesterday when it is past and as a watch in the night. Another year has rolled in for children all over the world to celebrate their great, memorable, sacred and joyful Children’s Day. May the goodness and mercy of God Almighty continue to radiate upon all children to fulfill their destiny, not minding the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic that has been ravaging the universe. This writer’s heart bleeds as he witnesses the rate at which the core moral values among children and youth are diminishing in societies. The word exemplary means providing a good example for people to copy or emulate; that is, the person under reference has unique characteristics that can be emulated. Not many Nigerians have noticed the ease with which young children and youth are derailing from spiritual, moral and ethical core values. It should be our job to contribute towards equipping them with the right spirit, the proper mind set that would build them up mentally, morally and spiritually.
As parents, we are certainly responsible for the eternal destinies of our children, hence we can no longer afford to toil with their future by not paying proper attention to their physical and spiritual upbringing, purposefully through our examples. After all, example is better than precept. Parents are the mirror, the barometer for instilling discipline in children from infancy to adulthood. There is no doubt that yearning for exemplary children in this end time is very appropriate. In this end time, it is very obvious that children and youth are no longer placing high premium on our cherished cultural core values. Every adult should not keep mute on this bad scenario which is fast degrading our children and the larger society. It is the responsibility of parents and other stakeholders to raise exemplary, godly children who would be capable of taking up the challenges as the new drivers of global and national transformation, reformation, rejuvenation, appropriately repositioning the future.
The level of moral decadence among our youth is worrisome and calls for immediate correction. Their utmost desire is to ride the latest cars, build magnificent houses and eat the best delicacies at all costs and by any means. The values of respect, hard work, honesty, chastity and obedience to higher authority are considered outdated and “old school.” Many children disregard the injunctions in the Holy Book that they should obey their parents at all times and in all things. They have no regard for constituted authorities and the laws of the land. All stakeholders have a duty to bring them back to the path of righteousness.
The falling standard of performance in our education negates the desire to raise exemplary children in our society. This is the major reason why the government should rise up and salvage the present precarious state of our education. The government should no longer fold its arms watching the education of our children collapse. We should bear in mind that our young boys and girls were not created for lawlessness and riotous living. Parents are obliged to first of all inculcate the fear of God in their children. This is the divine way to lead children to imbibe exemplary lives. Parents and stakeholders should map out strategies that will steer up children and youths of today and tomorrow towards embracing what a good society should hold dearly. Moral values are standards of behaviour, beliefs about what is right and wrong, and what is important and pragmatic in life. It is very sad that the good moral values of the society which the young people of today should reflect have been eroded. They have established a completely different set of values and expectations contrary to the foundations of a good society.
The sayings, “there is dignity in hard work and “always remember the son/daughter of whom you are”, have no meaning to many of them. In raising exemplary children, the government should make adequate provision for the great numbers of children who are out of school. No responsible or responsive government can afford to compromise efforts to focus on the welfare of children. God desires that we extend care and that we meet the needs of our children and also respect their fundamental human rights. The church and other religious organisations cannot afford to fold their arms and watch the enemy ruin the lives and prospects of our children who are the crown, strength and hope of the nation. Religious organisations should subsidize the cost of the Holy Books so that there will be enough in circulation. The future of Nigeria lies in the development of the youth who are over 50 per cent of the population. Part of the dividends of democracy in this country should be to make our children live in a peaceful atmosphere without fear of victimization or intimidation. Teaching appropriate morals and inculcating spiritual lessons in children from early childhood should be the preoccupation of all stakeholders.
In conclusion, we should make concerted efforts to pass on to our children the good skills we have learnt in life. We enjoy showing them how to tie their shoe laces in time, how to put bait on a hook to catch fish, how to set fire without being hurt, how to bake a pie for assurance of the daily bread. We should teach them God’s attributes, with illustrations from our life experiences. There should be cordial relationship between parents and children. Parental example is very vital in raising exemplary children. So is diligent teaching of God’s words when they are still young. Running here and there and missing the opportunity to positively impact the lives of these young ones will make our children to develop self will, instead of God’s will. The scripture says “a good name is better than precious ointment.”
- Ogungbemi, a cleric, writes from Ibadan.
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