In the country where I come from, everything is either taken too seriously or as a joke. I do not know from which angle this piece of writing will be tackled from. I lie on my bed at 11.40, thinking to myself what would have become of me if I was born in a different setting or location or country. Whenever you go through the the hall of fame for greatness, it is mostly ascribed to the older folks from where I come from. A few youngsters are able to make name for themselves, but even with that their names soon vanish into thin air. Children are not mostly accorded that big regard as compared to older people (maybe for a short while,fine).
I recall a time with my mom when I was in primary school. I told her I wanted to publish a book. She just looked at me and smiled, confirming her disbelief. There I was seated, so young and full of ideas but immediately discouraged by my own mother. Many people think when you are young, your place is in school or playing with the other kids. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, this is the country where I am from. A place where a child does not talk back when adults are talking. Neither does a child suggest things to their parents. They are considered too young, lacking of wisdom and expertise.
For this and many other reasons, a child who does well is highly overrated and over hyped. Making it look like children’s achievements are a big deal. Meanwhile children from other diaspora are given all the needed support and so their achievements do not seem so much overwhelming. They build tech devices, learn many languages, play mega musical instruments, program softwares, build robots and solve difficult and challenging problems. And what do children in my country do? Watch television, play video games, eat Indomie, sleep…
Children grow by observation. Also, from a little experience with them, I have realised that the foundation a child grows on builds him or her for their future. Children raised up in a free learning environment tend to be more intelligent than the ones who are restricted. My country parents are quick to correction and discipline. They place children in a box where they cannot learn outside from. For instance, a child’s curiosity for learning is easily killed by destroying their sense of questioning. A child who always asks questions is quickly discouraged by shutting them up anytime they question a particular situation. Better still, they are answered but not with the right answers.
What then are we teaching our children? What impact can our children have on society? How can we motivate children to do more for themselves? How do we grow a generation of future thinkers and nation builders using tools and recreational avenues that challenge their minds? How can we turn the idea of the child scrap collector to a viable business venture? Or the child who questions a lot? Or the girl child who knows how to dress her doll so well? Or the computer-game child’s enthusiasm into computer programming? Ask a child today what he or she wants to do in future and they will mention some funny profession or nothing at all? Confused children, is this the future we are building for our nation?
The average child in my country today is solely dependent on their parents or guardian’s direction and orders. What the child chooses as a profession is even chosen for the child. Why are we surprised that we now churn out graduates who are lost in their tracks? This is because we no more encourage initiatives from children, even if we do it is more structural as compared to the ones being run on our television stations. Our school system even make matters worse. Measuring the quality of a child by the marks scored is not the way forward. Rather encouraging each child according to their unique strength or weakness is.
Encourage a child to grow. Applaud a child by their little works. Let’s allow them to play, learn, question and explore their world. Let’s give them measures and discipline but not to the extent that it halts their learning process. The society must be child friendly amidst the disciplinary measures set while raising them up. Our nation’s policies must be child friendly as well. Let’s make growing up a haven for children not hell. 12.41am now, calculate how long it took me to put just this together. Perhaps I would have been better than this, who knows?