Change, Randoms

A Game of Russian Roulette called Parenting

If you have any links to Nigeria, you may have heard of the latest travesty involving some kids aged 10-13 (or 15?), or even watched a certain related video, which I have heard features esoteric sex styles that might give porn actors a run for their expertise. You may have also seen a video of a mother providing cover while her under-12 daughter steals a mall-goer’s handbag. If any of these make you lose hope in the next generation, remember that about a century ago, a bunch of Russians would place a single bullet in a revolver, roll the chamber, pull the trigger, and hope to live.

While several Nigerians continue online pontifications on the Chrisland School incident with a measured sprinkling of hypocrisy, I am dealing with a case of someone close to our family who may be enmeshed in a cult group. Knowing his parents, I am trying to understand how one sibling turns out alright, while the other seems intent on cancelling any future prospects, and I remember that “the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all”.

Parenting is hard work! It is like the domain of project management where you can do everything right but still fail because of factors outside your control. A popular adage says “you can lead a horse to a stream but cannot force it to drink”. While this is true, it does not relieve you of the responsibility of getting the horse to the stream. If the best parenting techniques can still yield a “bad child”, why should any parent take things to chance and even facilitate bad behaviours?

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s assertion that “the more things change, the more they remain the same” could not have been truer about parenting. I got into secondary school and learned that while in primary school, we had pupils fingering themselves in the toilets. I, the primary school good boy, then waddled into porn and some other vices in secondary school. In the same school, we had students de-boarded for scaling the girls’ dormitory fence to spend an entire mid-term break hosted by their girlfriends. Going a week without finding a used condom somewhere in the school premises was as difficult as entering a convention of politicians without finding any corrupt person. I had classmates who routinely scaled the school fence to explore art works in brothels and then return to regale us with tales of their conquests. How much different is this from today’s events? The only thing we did not have then was TikTok, Instagram and Likee!

If I have learned anything from my childhood, it is the need for a solid moral foundation aka “home training”. Despite falling for some vices, my parents’ training remained at the background and kept me from venturing into deeper waters even when pressured by my peers. It is easier to save someone struggling by a river’s bank than one gasping for breath in the middle of the Atlantic. Good parental training would seek to give a child sufficient moral and spiritual guidance to increase the child’s chances of withstanding temptation, or at least, fleeing from “major vices”. To do this, parents need knowledge.

It is this knowledge that I am seeking by being part of a parenting community group. Intentional parents have come to realise that we can become better by sharing experiences, learning from successes and mistakes of older parents, and being willing to unlearn and relearn certain things we grew up seeing. The kids of today are not different from us; they just have easier platforms to self-destruct and we need to find effective ways of communicating with them. We need to understand that well-thought-out disciplinary measures ensconced in love trump extreme liberalism cum wokeism. We also need to be technologically adept!

“We” includes every adult in the society because “it takes a village to raise a child”. If you think parenting does not concern you, wait until you are harassed by a robber seeking funds to fuel a life of drug addiction because his parents failed to instil certain values in him. Above all, while we do our best to be good parents, we remain aware that “unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”

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