Saturday, 10th June 2023

What are you telling your children about Nigeria?

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
02 October 2021   |   1:56 am
Children have simple minds; they can be led to believe that something is true and there’s little they can do to change it.

Children have simple minds; they can be led to believe that something is true and there’s little they can do to change it. Their minds and thoughts are affected by what they hear. So, what are you telling your kids about Nigeria?

According to Abimbola Olayinka, a peaceful parenting coach and Founder of GalParenting Place, “many children are born into lamentations about the nation. They are familiar with stories of the ‘good old days’ where the Naira was valuable, corps members weren’t afraid of travelling to the Northern region, and the education system was fairly better. They watch their parents – watch us – sulk about the government, the hike in cost of living, the unemployment and underemployment. They are susceptible to the conclusion that, Nothing works here.”

However, the present day Nigeria doesn’t fit into the good old days narrative. There have been changes. And it is important that your conversations with your children acknowledge and address these changes.

The parenting coach quizzed, “Can Nigeria be better? Growth is a constant in any progressive community or nation. You need not pretend that Nigeria is in an utopic state. Complaints, however, won’t inspire your child to do better or seek change.”

She noted that parents who are unsure of how to have meaningful, honest conversations with your kids should follow the guide below:
* Acknowledge The Era of The Good Old Days: Yes, you have told the stories too many times. This time, share it with all seriousness. Give your children your serious face. Change your approach. Don’t just use this era as a metric to judge the present-day Nigeria; let your children recognise where Nigeria has been, so they can be prepared for where they are headed.

* Inspire Them To Be The Change: Change begins at home. The change you – and your children – truly desire (or sometimes whine about) would begin with each citizen, every individual. How can you inspire your children to be better? Teach them the necessity of love, empathy and kindness. Sow seeds of confidence into their hearts. Dare them to dream, to aspire, to set lofty goals and create feasible plans towards achieving them. What can they do with their voice? Complain? No. Remind them that their voice is powerful – to criticise, yes, but to also build, create, encourage, motivate, inspire.

* Teach Them To Recognise When They Need Help: No single individual can change the world alone. Your children won’t change the world. But they can be the spark that drives the transformation within their community, their country. They must acknowledge that ‘together everyone achieves more’. How can they leverage the influence of community and friendship? Have you talked to them about kindness? How about living peacefully with others? What’s their attitude towards teamwork? What do they hear you say about leadership and government?

Olayinka added that Nigeria, on the cusp of 61 years post-independence, isn’t the nation we knew two, three decades ago. Times have changed. Complaints won’t reverse the clock. However, when we choose peaceful, positive, healthy conversations, beginning with our children, we help one another become the change we seek.