We can raise uncorrupted children

parent-4Not too long ago, in an article in The Guardian on Saturday, we pointed out that it was possible for human beings who come from the same environment to behave in a similar way.In the article, Traits, Custom and Generalization, we saw the need to say that it was possible for other people to think that Nigerians in general were corrupt because they have met rotten citizens of this country or have heard us condemn our fellow countrymen as utterly bankrupt in behaviour.

However, calling Nigerians a corrupt people is not new. Apart from news of Nigerians behaving badly abroad, sometimes, I have come across foreign journals where Nigerians have been called cartels of hard drugs. There was another where Nigeria has been involved in a major financial misdeed, which ricocheted across the world. Corruption is a word so thrown about around us that at one point, this nation began a process it called rebranding of our country. The late Professor Dora Akunyili saw the need to protect innocent travelers and well-meaning Nigerians from suspicion.

Perhaps, this time that we have had once again to protest our injured dignity in being labeled as corrupt; this must be the time to commence on that road to rebranding Nigerians through the family. It is possible to have people who are respected beyond these shores if we understand and admit that corruption or indiscipline goes beyond the looting of public fund. Somebody who is already corrupted by the following traits would have the heart and mind to loot public fund. He has the behaviour to be corrupted absolutely in a country where lawlessness is tolerated:

He feels that he cannot be called to order. He thinks that he is above the laws of the land. He is so corrupted by power that he is not sensitive or abusive of people’s rights. An arrogant person finds it difficult to forgive and in the quest for vengeance, may hurt people excessively and may earn a universal name as tyrant.

Many times, however, we misunderstand arrogance to be pride, which is not a bad trait in itself because a proud Nigerian would always want to protect the image of Nigeria. Again a proud individual is protective of himself and does not want to smear his worthy name.
Check that your child is proud of himself; a child may not understand much yet but from the way he avoids teacher’s punishment and does his school work diligently, you would know a conscientious child and help him to grow up to be an honest and respectable person who would one day deal with foreigners in a respectable and transparent manner.

Unguarded Statement
We are entitled to our opinions and our opinions should bring correction if that is the aim. However, in saying our mind, we should not bring people to ridicule unnecessarily or be one-sided in our judgment. If the children understand the weight of spoken words, they have to be human beings whose minds are not tainted or corrupted by bias. So teach your child to say things as he sees it, aim to have the truth, the real situation without his dislike colouring his opinion.

The aim should not be to condemn a person but what he has done wrong. Worse thing to do is condemn the parents or the area he comes from; we do these a lot. When two children fight, make them state their sides of the issue so that you show each of them where they have gone wrong; this way they learn that we all make mistakes and ought to learn from our mistakes.

Greed makes government officials steal our money; everybody knows that. We are aware that greed does not develop the moment someone goes to serve us; it has been a part of him. As a younger person, he may have bullied his way to take control of what belonged to his mates and himself-food, toys. Greed is found in people of all nations and races. If Nigerians are the ones to bear the label ‘corrupt’, it means we can bring it down to a tolerable state where our greed would not be an issue in public service.

The funny thing is that greed is held in contempt in all parts of this country; so now is the time to stress ‘long throat’ when you condemn the actions of a greedy person in front of your child. Now that the word corruption is used commonly, your child would understand when you say, ‘He will go and steal money if he becomes a politician. Bad behaviour starts early’

Wanton Destruction of Lives
When foreigners say that we are corrupt, they are shocked at the way the destruction of human lives have been carried out in this country in recent times and for reasons we are yet to understand. To any outside observer, life is not held in much regard in this country; this is corruption. Teach your child the importance of human life. Give him reasons to make him understand the importance of life.

Stress to him that he is here for a purpose, which he must achieve because God the Creator has sent him on an errand. Point out that as he has his own purpose, so the other person has a purpose too. Add that it would be a big sin to deprive the other person the chance of achieving his purpose when people take away his life prematurely. It is sad that children have been victims, witnesses and partners in mass destruction of lives witnessed in this country. It is part of parental retraining, therefore, to reclaim the name of this country.

Indolence is beyond laziness. A child who is not taught how to think for himself creatively would readily take other people’s opinion and follow in wrong footsteps. Encourage him to have an independent mind and have to gain confidence as an individual. Give him brain exercises that help him to develop a sense of personality that is all his own. We have always been proud even with limited resources; show him by example that money is not always the way to happiness.

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1 Comment
  • Anne Mumuney

    Lovely article. It is a great source of worry that we Nigerians do not seem to have a moral compass. And if we don’t, how can we teach our children right from wrong. Children learn from example, not from words of mouth. If we as parents do not practice the right thing, our children can never learn the difference between right and wrong, no matter what we say. It’s in the small things, sharing the burdens of housework, having responsibilities at home, respecting the value of money, respecting hard work and ingenuity, encouraging creativity,respecting others, no matter their station in life, having empathy for others, enjoying the benefits of honest labour, developing pride in your work, whether you are a street cleaner or a bank CEO, appreciating the sacrifices that others may have made for you, respect for yourself and others, knowing your rights, and how to go about enforcing them through the right means. These are all lessons that children learn from us, from our own behaviour. Maybe if we behave better as adults now, we will not lose the next few generations. The current generations of young people seem to be lost already. Forgive me if I have not mentioned prayers. We are a nation of prayerful citizens and it has not gotten us very far. Maybe we should pray less and practice goodness more.