The Family And Development


Each time awareness on issues relating to family and the need to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting it are being promoted, I am persuaded to appreciate better the importance of the family.
Luckily, the United Nations is one body that has always captured the family in its front burner. In spite of the fact that families all over the world have transformed greatly over the past decades in terms of their structure and as a result of global trends and demographic changes, it still recognizes as well as acknowledges the family as a basic unit of society that must be handled with all dignity.
Those who belong to the same school of thought as the United Nations, thus believe that if the family is taken away, the basic ingredients of living will be omitted and the result will be a creation of weak, confused and disoriented individuals.
This vantage position of the family predisposes it to a miniature citadel of learning as there seems to exist a good deal of informal teaching where the child learns by example. Thus, to say that what a child turns out in life depends on the parental packaging of the child, a major function of the family, may not be anything short of the truth.
This is visible in parenting styles, which do not only predict the wellbeing of a child, but goes far in determining it, especially in the domains of academic performance, social competence, psychological development and general problem solving behavior.
This, no doubt, explains why the family is viewed as the nucleus of the society where the foundation of every society is laid. Suffice it to say that the success or failure of every society is determined to a large extent by the input of the family under which tutelage the leaders of the society are made.
Early socialization, education, affection, stability, guidance and setting of rules to follow, with emphasis on cheerfulness, affection and trust are visible tools with which the family patterns the society to a desired direction.
If, therefore, the family could apply itself to such great service as this, then one could say that a strong family unit contributes to the capitalistic goal of self-improvement and self-promotion. More so, if we truly have bonds with our families then we must look at the society in a warmer light.
If the society is made up of families who exchange goods and pursue goals, then the family unit is privileged to combine its efforts with its members to do altruistic services which in all ramifications deserve appreciation.
If you share the view of the school of thought that sees the family “as a critical part of a whole, “ meaning not just nations, but the “world family of human beings,” then you will appreciate the United Nations’ gesture at setting aside a day for the celebration of the families.
As little as the family poses, the former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, in 2014, declared that “as we strive to usher in a more sustainable future, achieve the millennium development goals, shape a new development agenda and combat climate change, let us mobilize the world’s families.”
The declaration of the United Nations’ Secretary-General, together with the theme of the 2014 International Day of the Families: “Families Matter for the Achievement of Development Goals,” simply reflect the importance the international community attaches to families in acknowledgement of its role in development.
Parenting, no doubt, is a very challenging obligation, from the task of child-rearing which is energy and pulse sapping, to the satisfaction of endless children’s needs (comfort, attention, the best of everything money can buy) Scott Forbes describes parents as primary caregivers.
Unfortunately, because of severe economic hardship, parents are tempted and forced by circumstances of life to relegate their positions of primary caregiving to Montessori schools, nannies or househelps leading to less bonding between parents and children. The effect of this gap is hostilities and antagonism.
In a heterogeneous society as ours, the bond we share in our families can have an overwhelming influence in unifying a diversified whole called Nigeria.


Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi