Charles Francis Adams, a 19th Century politician and diplomat once kept a diary. One day, he dropped some lines that read thus: “went fishing with my son today – a day wasted”.
His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary of the activity of that same day which read: “went fishing with my dad – the most wonderful day of my life.”
This is absolutely a case where two actors had different interpretations of the same scene.
While the senior thought his fishing expedition with his son was a time in futility, the child considered it an investment of time. One way to differentiate between waste and investment is to define one’s ultimate purpose in life, and then judge accordingly the activities towards such purpose.
In a few days away from now, the Nigerian community would be celebrating her children, a programme conceptualised by the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to be used to call for urgent action to adopt the Child Rights Act across the globe.
It is common knowledge that children are the future of every society. But this can only be made real when they are given a solid foundation on which a better society can be built.
Suffice it to say that the direction of a nation can only be gauged by the importance such nation places on its children.
This, I guess, explains why previous themes for this celebration in Nigeria bordered on providing an enabling environment for the child to grow and fully develop his potentials in life.
Nevertheless, the usual sundry words of wisdom succinctly emphasise the importance of children to the parents and vice versa.
While the former remains the crown of the latter, their glory is made evident in the latter. Therefore, children, by their nature, look up to their parents for guidance and leadership. Thus, the time we invest in them is never wasted as they grow up to become useful to themselves and others.
In a clime like ours, where the child leaves the home very early for school and never returns until late, parents seem to make a justifiable ground to shift parental responsibilities to teachers and care givers at school. They argue that it is the teachers’ role to groom the child; after all, they are paid for it. This is why parents can wholesomely blame the school for their children’s and wards’ deficiencies.
It may be sobering, but true, that what determines the success of children in school and in life are the training and values inculcated in them by their parents, which is why parents must, as a matter of necessity, influence their children positively. Making out time for this noble task usually involves sacrifice and tough choices, but it is worth it.
If quality time spent together with a child has a way of yeilding tremendous dividends for the youths who will certainly grow up to become tomorrow’s leaders, then, conscious efforts must be made towards impacting positively on their total psyche for effectual positive change on tomorrow’s leadership.
All round and qualitative education with emphasis on academic and moral excellence, as well as cultivating sound leadership skills will definitely produce critical-thinking children capable of positively and profoundly impacting the larger society.
In a world where truth and moral values are increasingly snubbed, parents must stand their grounds in helping their children and wards discover their purpose as well as moral direction in life.
As the society becomes very complex, efforts must be intensified towards giving the child the needed attention he deserves to guarantee a sound future and hope for the nation. The concern for the moral, educational and total development of the child should be the catalyst that should spur every parent to do the needful.
It is no longer news that parents want their children to end well, but are not ready to invest their time in the grooming of these young ones, a reason why many describe the time spent with them as wasted. The expression, “time is money”, tends to becloud their sense of judgement.
The decline in family recreational activities, irrespective of their contributions to family health development, explains it all. But where will this attitude of non-attachment to the crown of the family take us?