Children’s Day Celebration: Despite The Razzmatazz, Are Our Children Sincerely Been Prepared To Be Leaders Of Tomorrow?

Feature Article Childrens Day Celebration: Despite The Razzmatazz, Are Our Children Sincerely Been Prepared To Be Leaders Of Tomorrow?

It is no more news that the celebration of 2024 Children’s Day that is now ongoing at everyone’s doorstep as it is been marked today, that there is a lot of hysteria in the air even as it is obvious that not a few people, particularly parents, are oblivious of the essence of its celebration.

Certainly! The essence of Children's Day celebration lies in honoring the pure innocence, enthusiasm, and unique potential of children. This special occasion is observed worldwide, and in schools, it holds immense significance. Children's Day is not merely a festive event; it is a profound reflection of our society's commitment to children's welfare. Schools use this day to emphasize the importance of education, health, and overall well-being of children. The celebrations are marked with various activities, events, and programs designed to engage, entertain, and educate children. Teachers actively participate in performances, fostering camaraderie and mutual respect. In essence, Children's Day serves as a potent reminder of the importance we place on our children's holistic development, creating a nurturing environment for them to grow, learn, and thrive.

Given the foregoing, it is not unexpected to see not a few leaders in the course of the celebration making a plethora of positive and negative comments concerning their failures and successes toward the betterment of the lives of our children. Most of the comments, as expected, would be ritualistic as our leaders, particularly the politicians would resort to making seeming unachievable promises.

However, in as much as we seemingly analyze and predict the entire growth of the nation with precision, we have not been thinking of and considering the best way to lead the leaders of tomorrow to actualize their dreams of realizing their collective dream of becoming tomorrow’s leaders. If we say we do, we are not saying the truth because there are many facts on ground to show that we are doing nothing to make their dreams of becoming tomorrow’s leaders to be realizable.

The reason for resorting to howling in this context cannot be farfetched as children and youths are like tender plants. They grow in the direction they are nurtured or guided. Just like plants, they grow towards the direction of the sun.

If I may ask, are we literarily generating sunshine for our children and youths for them to truly become leaders of tomorrow? My consequent views in this write-up will answer the foregoing question.

In answering the question, it is expedient to have it at the back of the mind that the birth of a child into any family unit is regarded as a blessing from God. This is as the birth of a child is usually greeted with fanfare characterized with happiness, celebration, blessing, joy and excitement; these preceding emotions are, no doubt, variously used to graphically paint the picture that prevails in the wake of the birth of a child.

In Nigeria, the virtue of a child is highly extolled through the names given to him or her. Among the Ibos and some parts of Delta State, names like Nwabueze (Child is King), Nwakaego (Child is greater than money), Nwakunor (Child is greater than house) and the like are names traditionally used in glorifying the child. Also in Yoruba land and among the Binis, names that begin with the first three alphabets thus: Omo, are often used in extolling the virtues of the child.

It is always momentous to see a baby wear her first smiles. It is usually a moment of joy to see a baby pronounce the first word, which more often than not take the phonetical pattern of “Papa or Mama” albeit in gibberish tone. In fact, a child is often greeted with applause, ovation and excitement when he takes the first steps in life.

In fact, “This is my child”, are words a father or mother uses to show off his child’s photograph. The walls of many offices and sitting rooms are adorned with children’s photographs. During any festivity the numerical strength of children and youths at any of the beaches and other fun spots across the country are always impressive.

However, our uncaring attitude towards the children unfolds as they grow into their youthful stage. Some of us employ harsh words to crush the children’s spirits. We call them names, browbeat and literally throw them into mind-polluting environments.

While we are literarily trapped in the “go-slows”, we often hear our leaders of tomorrow making renditions of “Pure-water here, yes”, “Buy chin-chin”, “Buy fine plantain “to potential customers. Without a doubt, many of the youths we call leaders of tomorrow are at the moment jay-walking the streets without jobs. The society and the government have so much disappointed the youths that some of them may be thinking that God does not exist. In our today’s society, the same top government official that has made the phrase “Leaders of tomorrow” his or her sing-song would be the same retrenching the youths, and destroying the markets where they hustle.

Even leaders of corporate bodies that hypocritically acknowledge children and youths as leaders of tomorrow at business seminars and similar fora are in their various board rooms taking decisions, championing and endorsing the moves to throw the youths into the labor market for flimsy reasons. Such leaders and their companies would be the ones scrambling for the position of corporate leadership in the area of Social Responsibility and Community Relations.

No doubt, the foregoing betrays both the governments and corporate bodies ‘insincerity of purpose and sense of commitment. The question now is, are we truly leading the leaders of tomorrow to realize their collective dreams.

If the answer to the foregoing question is not in the affirmative, we should begin to do that now. The leaders of tomorrow should be nurtured from birth. At individual level, philanthropists should search for one or more children and nurture them, through scholarship awards or through sincere mentoring to youthful stage. Government should also begin to make policies and implement programmes, such as creation of meaningful jobs and provision of affordable education that would favour both the children and the youths. Corporate bodies, on their part, should begin to draw Social Responsibility and Community Relations Programmes that have the youths and the children as central focus.

The essence of this article, through this popular and credible medium, is to influence change among decision makers, at all sectors of the economy and parents to re-examine their policies, programmes and plans toward making the children and youths truly the leaders of tomorrow, particularly as they are been celebrated today. We have heard enough rhetoric. It is time for action. I am looking forward to the celebration of today’s Children’s Day to renew our mindsets toward the betterment of our children.

I would be a happier Nigerian to see the children being taken care of more than ever before as we celebrate them today. I detest the habit of children hawking on the streets. I know some readers of this article may argue that these children are being trained through hawking. But what happens when they are knocked down by reckless drivers or when the female-child is molested by unscrupulous fellow hawkers?

We are not sincere that these children are truly the leaders of tomorrow. If they are, most parents would not be failing in their responsibilities of raising them properly. Most mothers in Lagos now leave their various homes as early as 5.30am only to come back around 8.00pm. On the other hand, some fathers equally leave their homes in wee hours while some close from their various offices and head straight to beer parlors where sex hawkers are literarily wont to sway their hips into their pockets thus depriving many leaders of tomorrow the monetary resources to realize the education and training to become tomorrow’s leaders.

Also, because parents are not always at home nurturing and guiding the leaders of tomorrow, our children are, no doubt, indirectly through internet and uncensored audio and video tapes and discs, being mentored by their musical heroes that have bohemian lifestyles so much so that some of these future leaders today greet their elders, hi or what’s up?

In fact, many a child is left under the care of a babysitter that is bereft of the emotional attachment to the child which is naturally ingrained in the biological mother’s disposition.

Given the foregoing view, it is not a misnomer to opine that the prevailing high divorce rate today is unleashing a terrible assault on the psyche and future of children. Love boat that could have been rescued with “I am sorry darling” is left to float adrift until it finally sinks into the abyss of divorce.

In fact, given the uncaring situation, many children, no thanks to divorce cases, are now left to fend for themselves under the current harsh socio-economic conditions. Many conductors and hawkers of today arguably are from homes where devil-may-care attitudes are exhibited. At the bus-stops these children are exposed to all kinds of vices, especially that of smoking Indian hemp and consuming other mood altering substances. To say that many children cannot say no to drugs is never an exaggeration.

In conclusion, leaders should begin to lead our future leaders, who are invariably our children, by ensuring that the betterment of their collective destiny and future are always put into consideration beyond the celebration of Children’s Day.