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Mentor your children properly - Says Reps clerk on youths committee

Aug, 2021 | By Sennen Udoh | ||

An encounter with Director and Clerk, House of Representatives Committee on Youths, Mr. Edet Ekpenyong, launches one into a psychological world of selfless service delivery and passionate mentoring, nurtured on a sub-stratum of patriotism and God-induced wisdom.

In a recent interview with Abuja Digest Weekly's Sennen Udoh, Mr. Ekpenyong, was a journalist's delight to behold as he volunteered consultancy counseling on effective mentoring on education, moral upbringing, and sports/other talents. Excerpts:

Abuja Digest Weekly: As Clerk of the Reps Committee on Youths, who must have garnered a world of experience in the course of your duty and as a parent, what advice would you proffer on mentoring of children by parents in the spheres of education, moral upbringing, sports/other talents?
Ekpenyong: My attempt to answer your rather bulky but logical question would also follow in a sequence of a three-part answer-education, moral upbringing, and sports/other talents. Whether you like it or not, education forms the backbone or integral foundation of a child's future as it is the citadel and indeed the cradle on which a kid's prospects, aspirations, occupations and economic mainstay is largely built.

The parent(s) or the guardian(s) therefore has/have the obligation, to the best of their ability, to sponsor the child's academics to any level. The level of sponsorship within this context must also arguably receive a positive level of responsiveness from the kids who are the beneficiaries (i.e at the receiving end) of the parent's/guardian's efforts.

From the onset, there should be an element of parental counseling and guidance, showcasing the various options for the kids to embrace in academics and other fields of endeavor during his/her pupilage in nursery/primary school, and later during the studentship in post-primary and tertiary institutions.

Certainly, a well-guided and mentored educational investment is reputed for producing good results. In other words, well-educated, valuable and useful children/citizens are largely products or offshoots of properly guided and mentored education. So, parents and children should face the realities of our nation, reposition themselves to achieve a level of compatibility required by youths' education in line with cognate national aspirations and world best practices.

By so doing, we would be seen to have done a satisfactory result- oriented investment in our children who would turn out to be useful to themselves, our nation and a pride to us parents, on one hand; while adding value to the entire humanity, on the other. Tied to well-mentored education is the child's moral upbringing which predates the former in that when a child is born, the first tier of school in the hierarchy of education remains the family.

Thus, in assuming the role of teachers at home, the parents or guardians (whichever is applicable) must be predisposed positively to undertake the obligation of teaching the child the basics of moral upbringing as entrenched in the holy books (the Holy Bible or Koran) streamlining the good and the bad, evil and virtue, etc. Basically, what this translates to in the court of public opinion is that the parent(s) or guardian(s) must be of good character and, to some extent, must live exemplary lives in the family, which offers the first tier of orientation for the child. This is informed by the time-honoured concept that 'one cannot give to another person what he does not have'.

Predicated on the afore-tasted concept, parents/guardians must be seen to have developed lifestyles, moral ethics, justice, fair play, dress codes, honesty, sincerity, etc. Barring human limitations, parents should try and impact positively on their children, knowing too well that whatever they learn at the family level is what they stand to project to the larger society.

Of course, there is the belief that there are other sociological factors that influence a child's orientation, such as bad companionship, extant unpalatable self- indulgence etc, but I can say with an air of authority, without any fear of contradiction, that a great number of bad children are products of a bad families' upbringing. We should be exemplary teachers to our children and pray for them too to bloom and mature into full adults, fulfilling their divine destiny at the end of the day.

More so, at the centre of the formative/later years of the child, the parents should actually live out the result oriented divine life that acknowledges God as the Supreme Controller of life's, affairs thereby leveraging the divine teaching that 'the knowledge of God is the beginning of wisdom'. I am not in support of the seeming evasive disposition of many parents towards the development of sport(s) potentials in a child. We should say capital No to this negative infectious disposition which has eaten deep into our psyche as a people.

Just as the saying goes 'Show a child the way he should go and he would never depart from it when he grows up', every child is potentially an embodiment of talents which must be harnessed early in life. The onus is therefore on parents to provide a conductive atmosphere where the potentials can be fully expressed. A situation where the child's potentials in football, for instance, are caged within the captivity and bondage of parents is absolutely unacceptable.

Parents must develop the peculiarity of the eagles eye and see in their child what an outsider cannot see and be at liberty to encourage the blooming of the identified potentials or talents to appreciable level. Interestingly, we are witnesses to fulfilled footballers like Kanu Nwankwo, Jay Jay Okocha, Mikel Obi and many distinguished talents in sports who have achieved stardom to the glory of God with the assistance of parents' early tutelage.

It is on record that many of them had a privilege of enjoying the metamorphic growth of sports under caring, responsible parental orientation. And today, some of these parents are relaxing in the comfort of their homes harvesting the fruits of their labour.

So please, my advice is: let us not act as agents of suppression to our children's potentials; instead let us provide the enabling environment and indeed the impetus to grow and mature, for our fulfillment and satisfaction assuredly resides in the long term goal that the end has always justified the means. For all parents, all hands should be on deck to harness available potentials in our children and tailor same towards productive employment, occupation, sports etc. By so doing, our nation would be arguably spared the deepening youth restiveness, insecurity and unemployment which are becoming a recurring decimal by the day.

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