The upbringing of children into good and responsible adults needs to adopt a holistic approach encompassing various duties by multiple players. Parents, teachers, and the society in general have a profound role to play in instilling discipline and good morals to children especially pupils and students. Constant mentorship is essential to having ethical and responsible children capable of making upright and rational decisions.
The “river needs to get back to its cause” where traditionally, the duty of upbringing of children was the role of the entire society. Children would be guided by all and sundry. Today, most parents are too protective of their children to the extent of not allowing them to be corrected by anyone else but them when they are on the wrong. On the other hand, people have become paranoid of addressing children who do not belong to them for fear of possible negative repercussions.
Recently during the onset of the national primary school examinations, there were several reported cases of young pupils who took the examinations from maternity wards. This is just a fraction of cases that likely go unreported. In most places, young girls drop out of school into early marriages while boys engage in vices that include drug abuse.
To assume that it is the sole responsibility of teachers to avert such cases is wrong. In any case, children will only spend less than ten hours in a day of 24 hours in school. The rest of the time ought to be taken up by the guardians of the child and the community at large to offer sound guidance and leadership to the child. This is actually advantageous because it will supplement the skills acquired in school.
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Children need mentors and role models whom they can always aspire to be. These mentors will prepare and enable the children to face the future by giving them the necessary advice, promote them by helping them address and counter any challenges they may be facing, encourage them that the society is better run by upright leaders and assist them achieve their goals. Like the adage, “a child grows the way they are brought up”.
A redacted version of this article has been published by The Standard by the same author