"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it"
- Proverbs 22: 6
atching the movie, Jenifa years ago, brought a rude awakening - the filthy old men preying on teenage college girls, were the same ones who had militantly protested adult abuse in our student days. It appeared, the militant had grown into the degenerate. And this pattern is repeated whereby subsequent leaders are worse than their predecessors.
Thus, as we look to the youth to take the reins of leadership and revolutionize the country, we must ask ourselves, have we trained a generation to invest the energy and time required to transform Nigeria?
John Maxwell, renown leadership guru, lists character as the first trait of a good leader. He defines good character as honesty, trustworthiness, discipline, the ability to do the right thing particularly in the face of crisis. According to the experts, character is developed in childhood, especially the first six years of life. Unfortunately, a review of the parenting habits of Nigeria's elite does not promote character development:
Zero training: In the past, the farmer trained his children by taking them to the farm, and the trader trained her daughter by taking her to the market. What about the politician? Without deliberately training the next generation to adopt a different brand of leadership, we run the risk of getting more of the same things they watch on television and see around them.
Indolence: Youth is a wonderful time to work hard but there's none more indolent than the children of wealthy Nigerians. They have maids, drivers, nannies, tutors, washer wo/men, and poor relations to cater to the whims of these crown princes or princesses. Practically every chore is farmed out to someone else, leaving the children with nothing to do but chill and drift. They serve no one and are unable to cultivate civic-mindedness. They believe they are here to be served which is the same attitude of our "public servants" today.
In addition, indolence fosters learned helplessness and contributes to youth unemployment because anyone who has never done anything for themselves won't know what to do for others. And thanks to religious indoctrination, they see an enemy behind every challenge, adversity, and unexplored opportunity thus, they don't try.
Fiscal Irresponsibility: Profligacy is a key marker of wealthy parents. Lavish parties, flashy clothes, toys, travel, and other accoutrements of conspicuous consumption that detract from investment in the child's upbringing. Consequently, you have the child whose only contribution to the world is being the spendthrift descendant of a big spender.
Moral decrepitude: Your child is obnoxious, but no one can criticize her because you'd shred them with your tongue. And when the child grows up in your image and grows in criminality, you ship him abroad trying to hide your shame out of sight. There, he joins the teaming thousands of well-heeled Nigerian youth in prison.
Over-protection: Chopper parents hover around their kids continuously. For instance, parent drops off a child at the university and not only does the registration for him, but carries his bags to his room, makes his bed, and promises to visit the following week. Blink.
Poor Education: There's the joke that illiterate parents of the 1960s produced graduates who built a nation while graduate parents of today are producing illiterate kids who are ruining the nation. We are not educating our children for this century talk less of the next. We rely on failing public and private educational systems when there's a wealth of knowledge available online just for the taking. For instance, when our children go online, do they go to Khan Academy or Super Jesters?
Outward Look: Perhaps the most crippling parenting habit of the wealthy class in Nigeria is that they are outward-looking. They look abroad for practically everything progressive - education, healthcare, recreation, pilgrimage, etc. Thus, Nigeria is used for extractive purposes whereby they take from the country but do not invest in it. Like their parents, the children either do not return from their foreign studies or if they return, do not know or love Nigeria to serve her.
What leadership qualities are you passing on to the children in your life?
And before someone says, "God is in control," remember, He said, "train up a child…"