In our last tecsthought series, we reflected bitterly on the menace of modernism upon families towards the transmitting of moral values, spiritual heritage and cultural legacy to her members. Civilization has really affected the traditional family as a whole. this historical observation can testify to the above assertion.
In the later 19th and 20th centuries before the advent of British government and its religious and educational influences, our parents had their ways of training their children for life and living. The main occupation was farming and tapping of palm wine and oil produce. Fathers prepared their boys for climbing palms by producing the tapping rope and buying matchets for them. They initiated them into secret cults, for example, mmanwu and age cults. There, they were taught to keep laws or norms and avoid the taboos or abominations. They were also made to take Ozo titles if they could afford it and be made to take oath of secrecy. These were usually young men of sound moral principles who jealously guarded the laws of the realm. In those days, people loved themselves exceedingly, gave food to the hungry and built shelters for the homeless without charge.
The women taught their daughters how to cook and run household chores. They introduced them to the aspects of farm work that concerned women like planting seed crops, and clearing weeds. They taught them how to keep themselves attractive with local cosmetics like uli, uhie, edeula and tangele. When they get married, they confined them to ‘puda’ or ‘mgbede’ where they would rest, feed sumptuously before they would leave for their husband’s house. Parents did their work then and gave their children sound upbringing. They caught them young and brought them up as responsible parents and adults.
In this present situation, children inherit two cultures, the foreign and the indigenous cultures. Parents get confused the way they should go, some get so sophisticated that they start with foreign culture and teach their children English language from the beginning. Boys grow up without knowing the elements of their culture.
Today, uncensored foreign and home movies are destroying family values since parents can no longer sit down to tell stories to their children and tell them things about life values. Many families used to eat together and even pray before meal as well as after meal. They used to pray before going to bed and when they get up from bed. And children grow up to live with it, not in the fear of their parents, but in the fear and love of God.
Statistically, if we are to take a census and examine the characters of children graduating from post war schools and children who graduated from pre war schools, we could observe a lot of difference, in terms of love and good characters. The new generation has no regard for anybody. What matters in Nigeria today is “Ghana must Go” That is a bag full of money. And in the most recent times, mysterious swallowing of money by animals without further explanations to the masses occupies the social media. The arbitrary accumulation of money has become the order of the day so much so that if you do not have money nobody will respect you in the society; nobody will give you honour. The honour you get today is the function of money you give to people. And this selfish acquisition of wealth affects every sector of the society, education (where money buys certificates), politics (where bribery and corruption is the order of the day), economy (where fake products for too much profit assume greatness) and even family (where both father and mother are in search of wealth to the detriment of the formation of children). But in those days, nobody consider money as a value in a society as compared to character and hardworking.
The cause of this misdemeanor is not far-fetched in as much as it could be recalled that immediately after the war, all the missionary schools were taken over by the government which created enabling environment for the embezzlement of funds together with sexual revolutions. Thanks to God that the government of Nigeria is now gradually allowing the Church to take over those schools that belong to them.
Against this backdrop therefore, should we now prefer the value of society yesterday to the values of society today? My humble stand is No! It is therefore the responsibility of parents to weigh the two values; the millennium values and the pre-millennium values: What do you value today and what were your values yesterday? How are you bringing up your children? The accidental characteristics of those values may have changed but their substantial elements remain the same. That is to say, today, we are exposed to 24/7 television channels, easy accessibility to the internet, and exploration of the social media through the use of smart phones. In spite of these technological advancements, the essential value has not been substituted, it remains the proper formation of the child, through wise appreciation of these human ingenuities and inventions, which God ordered for the well being of man. So, I do not encourage any parent to subject his or her children to values that were in existence at the time he or she was growing up, thereby claiming that the values of today are condemnable for the proper formation of the child. I would rather suggest for a regulation in the exploration of those modern values. For instance, in the modern society, call it America or Britain, children are not allowed to be on television all the time. Even the media know when children are supposed to be at sleep and therefore from 9’ O clock in the night, they can start showing programs or films that are not good for children. This entails that if you are a parent, you have to program your children’s activities to fall in within that period so that by 9’O clock, children should go to bed. Besides, they need more sleep since they are still growing. Regulations should also be extended to the use of social media. It is not advisable to expose the young ones to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp etc. at such a tender age. Even when they feel responsible enough to use the social media, they should restrict themselves from getting addicted to it or abusing such freedom.