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Opinions of Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Columnist: Daniel Ofosu-Asamoah

Society begets both the bad and the good child

All children - both good and bad - are products of one society.

The society that begets a good child is the same society that begets a bad child. Children are the beneficiaries of the values, belief systems and practices of their parents and the larger society. What forms the personality of tomorrow’s children is a combination of what their immediate family and society offer them. Therefore, no family or society should blame its children for the behaviour they exhibit in the future. They (children) are products of the behaviours and habits that were inculcated in them so many years ago.

Today’s parents have a great responsibility if they want to see the ideal man or woman they want to see in their children tomorrow. What parents want to see in their children tomorrow will not be an event but will be as a result of a conscious effort geared towards producing the ideal man or woman of society. A man who extols the virtues and values of the society is what every society cherishes.

Society is deemed to be dynamic and, as a result, society is seen to be changing rapidly. Gone are the days when parents had a lot of time for their children. Then, mothers had a lot of time to feed their children, monitor, and correct the lifestyle of their children and also help them to do their school assignments. This is not so today.

Presently, the work and the nature of the economy we find ourselves have made it extremely difficult for parents to have quality time with their wards. What this means is that a greater majority of parents have abandoned the God-given responsibility and it has been taken over by another group of people. What is sure is that our children’s future will not be formed in a vacuum. The vacuum created will be filled by the people who spend a lot of time with the kids and, with that, parents cannot guarantee the quality of values handed down to their kids. The quality of children and adults we produce in the future is dependent on the quantity and quality of time we share with our children.

What is sad is that we continue to buy time regarding having quality time with our children. We have always thought that an ideal time would come - a time that never comes. This has a serious implication on the upbringing of the children. Research has shown that children learn very fast at the tender age. However, owing to the nature of work we to do, children end up learning from school cherished values that they should have learnt first from their parents. These are habits they either learn from teachers or their friends.

It’s sad to say that this is the period that forms the foundation of their growth. Anything the children learn at this time has a direct impact on their social, psychological and spiritual growth. The love that they are shown today will form the foundation of the love that they will extend to their neighbours tomorrow. This love has an effect on the entire society- it will determine their love for their fellow human beings and most importantly their love for their better halves.

Also, whatever happens in their lives at this time has a direct impact on their future health status, happiness, growth, and their emotional stability. Again, values such as trust, dependability, efficiency, honesty, optimism, passion, respect, courage and patriotism are all built at this time. These are values that under normal circumstances should have been offered to the children by their parents. It’s important for all of us to know that children would not produce what they have not been offered.

Today, values such as enumerated are learnt from the teachers and friends of our children because parents are seriously engaged in one thing or another. There are kids who do not see their parents before the parents leave the house for work and the same parents come home to meet the children asleep. The children are always in the care of housemaid and teachers. As if that is not enough, weekends are also taken by the job or social activities. The only consolation for such parents is that an appropriate time will come.

So that is the nature of the society we are all building. Parents give birth and others take care of them. That explains why whatever instruction we give our children they would reply and tell us the teacher did not tell him or her to do it that way. To such children, the teacher’s instruction supersedes that of the parents. If this happens to you then you need to know that somebody is laying a foundation for you to build on it. You, therefore, need to know that the shape, height and structure of the building have already been determined. There are real difficulties that account for this difficulty but that cannot be an excuse.

No matter the situation, the upbringing of our children will be influenced by others but we should be mindful of who influences our wards. Nobody dreamt of giving birth to a thief, a drunkard, a disrespectful child, but our actions and inactions have led us to create that condition. I must also add that some of the negative practices that children exhibit are learnt from their parents. That is why we all need to be careful with what we do and say in the presence and out of the presence of our children. We may be spending most of our time to work and garner resources to cater for the cost of our children’s education, feeding and accommodation, but we must note that no amount of money can cater to the cost of correcting the negative habits they cultivate from the environment.

Children were first born to a family before they became part of the larger society. Therefore parents must lead the process of forming habits for the children. The Good Book asks us to, “ Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Prov. 22:6. The society must also play its partnership role very well, as the good and the bad child belong to the society. It is therefore in the interest of both parents and the society that we produce good children who would grow to become good adults. Today’s children need our time and attention for tomorrow belongs to them.