It is me again. If you have been following our previous discussions, you might be wondering where I will be starting from today. It’s time we look at the parent’s angle. It is a thing of pride for your child to graduate from high school with great grades. Most especially if you are sure of the hard work and commitment the child and school put into attaining this. Far beyond academic excellence however, is character building, interpersonal skills and spiritual formation, which are all values and virtues worth developing.
As a parent, how do you detect that your child’s school is up to no good with the academics? It starts with the grading system. I once changed my child’s school due to proximity but I later regretted the move. I knew he was an average student but then suddenly, he started scoring in the upper 80% on every subject. Even French that he hates with a passion! I sought an audience with his class teacher and asked to see his last test papers, giving the excuse that I was concerned about the way he always answered questions, and because of that, I was trying to help him improve on it at home. Going through his papers, it became apparent that this school was not one that would ever fail any child. So what would happen to the teaching of morals? Will children not be scolded where necessary? Unfortunately there are bound to be some parents out there who would like this idea, but not me. If you truly love your child you should assess his/her ability and compare with what he/she scores and see if it adds up. I don’t need a child genius who can’t mingle with his peers or share in ongoing conversations or cannot just behave as a child should.
Parents have a tendency to expect too much from schools, teachers, their children and even government. Let us begin to reward little progress made by our children and talk to them about our core values. Teach them the dignity of being able to defend the grades they get and let them know that, “las las we will all be okay”. When we were growing up, as we returned to boarding school the only great advice we got was “ranti omo eni ti iwon je” which simply means remember whose child you are and don’t bring shame on us. Those words meant a lot then. It was a stern warning not to engage in activities that they would not be proud of. But these days, many parents find it difficult to discipline their child. I cringe when a child in public does something and the parent is there just saying ‘stop it’ when it’s quite obvious that the child doesn’t listen to that even at home.
Whether school, teachers or governments fail, we must remember they are our children at the end of the day and the end result, good or bad will be left for us to enjoy or bear. We need to be very intentional about picking the right schools. We must follow up on progress and also train our children appropriately. As a parent, if your concern is not to appear harsh or uncompromising, then you may have serious problems in the future. My child is my friend, but first of all, I am his/her parent. I give instructions and guidance. We can often dialogue on some aspects but I must be seen to have the upper hand. To our dear daddys, this thing about going and asking your mummy, which makes daddy appear nice while making mummy look like the one who just likes shouting, cannot continue. Decisions concerning our children should be taken jointly and both parents have to speak in one voice.
I remember when one of my brothers missed the JAMB examination cutoff mark for his preferred university by a few marks, he expected that my dad, who was a military officer, would storm the JAMB office in his full regalia to influence things. Daddy simply told him to try harder next time. Thankfully, he secured admission to his second choice which was outside Lagos and that’s where he went. That was the kind of parenting we grew up with. These days you see parents hanging outside examination centers even for an exam as elementary as common entrance, all in a bid to assist their child in the exam hall. Some go as far as registering their children in special centers for JAMB. Special centers were created for academically impaired and disabled students to help take care of their special needs during the examination. We all hear of what goes on in these examination centers, where a parent can give his/her child 10,000NGN or more to take to an exam hall. It is for a specific purpose and the child is groomed on how to utilize it in order to get the desired result.
The Holy books says, “what you sow, you will reap” so when we then see lazy and entitled graduates and youths, we can’t totally blame them because they have been spoon-fed all through their lives thus far. We are the ones who send our children to these schools, pay huge fees and then sit back and let them inculcate unethical values in our children. We need to begin to speak up. I say, give my child the ‘C’ he deserves and let me know where he needs improvement and extra tutoring, so he/she can improve.
Changing lives…one person at a time