By Emeka Ezekwe
As a father of four (4); all male teenage and adult children, l do my best to try to know each of my children “very well “ by constantly engaging them collectively and individually. I try to live in their world, watch their movies, including cartoons sef, play with them, pretend to be a teenager and show understanding of the complex world they are growing up in which is quite different from our world of yore. Many things have changed in today’s world ,our children do not have the chance to be kids anymore,in fact ,our society and technology make them become adults overnight while they are still children.Through technology,internet and social media,they have unlimited access to the world of good,bad and ugly things .Every child is different in character,temper and emotions from his siblings.Do you really know your children very well? And in terms of personal knowledge? Can you vouch for their character and temperament? How then did we become parents to murderous children in secondary schools ? Why are our schools more interested in business profit than teaching and moulding the character of our children? Are we deliberately outsourcing already spoilt and finished children to high fee paying schools and expecting them to do magic?Why would a school heartlessly lie about circumstances surrounding the death of student in its care ?does it mean that the death of a student means nothing to the school?
In our parenting journey with kids , we try to take our responsibility seriously,though , none of our boys have given us any serious cause for concern or worry about anything,l still worry excessively about them and never lose any opportunity to pass my message about how to become a good human and contribute effectively to the universe we found ourselves in.My strategy is to always engage,build trust and make them tell me “anything” and “everything”,so many horrible and horrific things happen in all schools,some of the stories l get from kids freak me out ,but l always use the opportunity of gisting to impact the correct values,somehow,so far and most times ,they believe me 😂😂😂😂building trust is key.
Most of us ,as parents have failed our children in our parenting responsibilities,mostly because of “availability “ and career related absence,but,do you make out time to close the gap when you’re available? Are you nice to your spouse? Marital stability at home is also a factor for effective parenting.Some parents erroneously believe that a school is a remand home for errant kids who have outgrown or over powered their parents ,some schools are also handicapped because they need the money from expensive school fees to run the schools and can’t even punish or suspend their errant kids.Parents also throw their overbearing weight around in schools in “imakwa onye iwu “ manners .Some schools dare not “punish” any misbehaved child because of fear of parental reactions,they charge too much money and need those outrageous fees to run their schools.
The home truth here is that an “expensive “ school is not necessarily a “good” or best school,you’re mostly paying for the facilities and the “comfort” of your ward,period ! or maybe,you’re one of those l-don’t-want-my-kids-to-suffer- parents,truth also is that children also need some form of “realistic suffering “ to turn out well or they may suffer from “insufficient exposure to negative experience “,you sef,did you not suffer ?Most so called “expensive “schools don’t even rank well in academic competitions, most of their students are spoiled ,over pampered, entitled,disrespectful and morally decadent.What then makes a good school? In terms of academics,a good school is where l give you a kid who is struggling academically and you return to me a brilliant and confident child,a good school is not a congregation of entitled and spoilt kids from affluent families or even a congregation of intelligent kids ,no,the difference must be seen in the transformation and the impact of schooling on the child.In terms of moral values,a good school must have a history of studentship with good behaviour,being found worthy in character and learning.Any school that breeds murderers and cultists is not a good school.
We once withdrew our first two children from our favourite school because of overbearing influence of parents in the administration of the school.Some parents wanted school rules and regulations watered down to placate their untrained,disrespectful and stubborn kids , the school was helpless,anytime we attended PTA meetings,you see the management cowed and incoherent in articulating laid down rules,one parent even requested that his daughter be allowed to keep a telephone handset in school in order to speak to him whenever he wanted because he misses her so much ,the school policy was against this practice 😳In another episode,a male student was rude and disrespectful to a teacher ,he even threatened to beat her up and refused to be tamed by the school,when the dad was called in ,the arrogant boy was telling his subdued,beleaguered and crestfallen dad on the phone and in the presence of school authorities, “daddy,l have tried my best to be a good student o,but “these” people here will never let me be….”so,is it that most time when parents fail in their bid to tame their decadent kids ,they unleash them on a big fees paying school and expect the school to do magic for them?.Another home truth here is that parenting responsibility cannot be outsourced,it’s your duty and responsibility to train your child by showing the right values through personal example.
I stumbled on Angela Duckswoth phenomenal work on GRIT:The power of passion and perseverance,having a sustained“passion “ for long term achievements in life ,seeing life as a marathon and not a sprint ,according to Mrs Ducksworth,this is the greatest predicator for successful people and l believe her,when you get your children to develop an ambitious goal of what they want out of life ,they will do all it takes to achieve ,it is not academic achievement,sparkling brilliance,parental riches or ego that determines success in the lives of our children,it is grit ,having a passion for long term achievement and sustaining that passion,being driven,finishing up on a goal you set for yourself.Are your children being forced to go to school? Are they in school they don’t like ? Did you bother to check the history of the school in terms of academic performance,leadership and morals ,for instance,where are previous graduates of the school in our corporate world ?
I have two children in the university,l speak to them on a weekly basis and usually turn it into a counselling sessions,discussing everything about how to make the best out of life,how to stay out of trouble,how to manage relationships with girls ,how to respect women,how not to get involved in anti social behaviour like rape and violence……..how to woo women and make them stay with you,how making friends with bad kids can ruin your life ,etc ,l always end my preaching with you all can see that l have lived well ,it’s now your turn to live better lives than mine ,this world is a beautiful place ,but you must pay your dues ,no crime ,just seize your opportunities,invest in knowledge……my first son thinks am becoming overbearing and worry too much about him and his brothers,they are good kids he always assured…….”daddy,we won’t disappoint you and mummy,……but,apart you guys wanting the best out of life for us ……..we also want same and something out of life for ourselves “,to me the last sentence was the assurance we needed and that’s the grit of it ❤️