FAMILY VALUES … How product of divorce and several stepfathers became United States Secretary for Education
Stronger Families, Stronger Societies
Stronger Families, Stronger Societies William Bennett, a former United States secretary of education, and a Washington fellow of the Claremont Institute and author of The Book of Man: Readings on the Path of Manhood” once wrote on the importance of the family to societal development. According to him in his piece published in the New York Times, ‘’The family is the nucleus of civilization and the basic social unit of society. Aristotle wrote that the family is nature’s established association for the supply of mankind’s everyday wants. Research clearly shows that the institution of the family is the first form of community and government and, as Michael Novak said, the first, best and original Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Republicans are talking about family values because they see the family breaking down in front of them. For a civilization to succeed, the family must succeed, and right now, it’s not. Today, (2012) more than half of all births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage, and the out of wedlock birth rate in the United States has passed 40 percent.
Bennett continues: I am the product of divorce and several stepfathers, but I still believe in the importance of the traditional family, not because of Dan Quayle or “Leave It to Beaver,” but because of the facts and the record. The family is the nucleus of civilization and the basic social unit of society. Aristotle wrote that the family is nature’s established association for the supply of mankind’s everyday wants. Research clearly shows that the institution of the family is the first form of community and government and, as Michael Novak said, the first, best and original Department of Health, Education and Welfare……Today, more than half of all births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage, and the out of wedlock birth rate in the United States has passed 40 percent. When Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote about this trend in his 1965 Moynihan Report, about 25 percent of black children were born outside of marriage.
SECRETS OF UPPER CLASS: If we have stronger families we will have stronger schools, stronger churches, and stronger communities with less poverty and less crime. The family is the linchpin of society, both economically and socially. One of the best things Rick Santorum said during the primary, addressed to Republicans in particular, was that if you are serious about having smaller, more effective government, then you had better work at getting stronger families. Charles Murray teaches us in his book: ”Coming Apart’” that one of the great secrets of the successful upper class is its dedicated practice of traditional family values. Men and women who get married, stay married and have children within marriage are more likely to be in, and to stay in, the middle or upper class. There are exceptions: there are some great and successful single parents and some awful two parent families, but most of the time it works best with, yes, a mother, a father and children. The upper classes — liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican alike — believe this and practice it. Sadly, they do not often preach what they practice. Child Development … The proper role of the parent is to provide encouragement, support, and access to activities that enable the child to master key developmental tasks. A parent is their child’s first teacher and should remain their best teacher throughout life.
PARENTS ARE THEIR CHILDREN’S FIRST TEACHERS A publication of the Child Development Institute asserts that: ‘’A parent is their child’s first teacher and should remain their best teacher throughout life. Functioning as a coach, the parent exposes a child to age-appropriate challenges to encourage development as well as to experiences that allow the child to explore on their own and learn from interacting with their environment. Child Development specialists have learned that from birth children are goal-directed to experiment and learn from each experience. Child Development experts have taken the concept of scaffolding from the building trades. ‘’Just as scaffolding is put up to support the structure of the building as it is being built and gradually taken down as the building is able to stand on its own, a parent will need to provide the necessary support for a child to allow them to safely and productively explore and learn from their environment. As the child matures and develops mastery the scaffolding is removed or changed to allow the child to become more independent. If the child is not quite ready, the support is reinstated and then gradually withdrawn once again.
VIRTUOUS LIVING In order for any society to progress, parents and adults must live virtuous lives that will promote love and enhance enviable family values. In particular, parents must build good families as microcosms of the society, with couples being the moral compass to ensure that there is unity, commitment and indissolubility in marriage, in order to keep the family together. Family values are being threatened under the guise of modernization. Social vices have bred false lifestyles and terrorism that are conceived as modernization. Effective monitoring and strict parental guidance are required in the growth, development and success of their children and wards. The effect of the invasion of the airwaves by the foreign media has resulted into grave problems associated with violence, and other wrong values that were unknown to the underdeveloped society
FAMILY VALUES—INSPIRATION — BENEFITS OF TRAINING THE CHILD: The Scriptures assert, in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 that: These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates’’ Furthermore, Genesis 18:18-19 speaks about the gains accruable to parents who conduct themselves according to the dictates of the Creator: ‘’18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
Whoever still touts the belief that successful children belong to the father; while unsuccessful offspring are for mothers is living in the past. Reversing awkward beliefs is a huge task because of cultural beliefs. It is important to address the target audience through an articulated Plan of Action. And the target audience consists of parents who have the greatest responsibility for bringing up their children. It doesn’t seem wise to bring into the world children you have no capacity to provide for. Other stakeholders include government that must create the enabling environment, organizations with parental responsibilities, including educational institutions; places of worship; civil society organizations and the civil society itself. In sensitizing the citizenry, our social intervention campaign strategies suggest preventive, rather than reactive strategies, as well as joint responsibilities by both parents.
Our plan takes cognizance of the need for attitudinal changes across all strata of the society, in order to promote positive family values and the attainment of desirable goals that are set out in the country’s national plans. For this purpose, a dedicated website and other social media channels are in place for interaction and publishing of information on family values and virtues all year round; with a view to contributing to local and global efforts to build families and encourage women emancipation.
NO SHOES, POOR WELFARE – YET THEY SUCCEEDED The lessons from the story of William Bennett a former United States secretary of education, who was also a Washington fellow of the Claremont Institute and the author of The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood” is that exceptional children could break forth no matter the obstacles placed on their paths by human-induced problems of natural circumstances. You could learn from the experiences of successful Nigerians who had access to Western education in the early part of the last century.
One of them, late Chief S.T. Adelegan who later became one of the first graduands of the University College, Ibadan, prominent politician and educationist wrote this in his autobiography: ‘The Part to Play’ that: ”The economic down turn of the early 30’s adversely affected our family. Soon in 1933 when I was half way through the elementary school, I found it hard to pay my school fees. My father’s trade could not answer. There were too many carpenters in Ipetu-Ijesha. Very little work was brought to him. We seemed to live from hand to mouth, as we didn’t have much to sell from farm produce. My father tried his hands on a cocoa farm, which did not do well. My mother traded in foodstuffs like Gari, beans and sometimes okro. Many times I missed schooling, as I had to help my mother carry her commodities like gari, beans, palm oil, tins, etc. I joined others to Ogotun to carry mats and Igbara-Odo to carry pots. Moreover on days when I could go to school I had to wake early to go to father’s farm in Uragba and come before school. Then after school I had to go back to farm to work, sometimes accompanied by my friends. When we finished early, we cooked yams and had big pounded yam meals. We hunted for big rats or rodents, digging their holes. On a certain occasion we killed four in a hole. It didn’t matter at all if we didn’t bring soup from home. What we needed was salt. We would make soup on the grinding stone using vegetable or materials like melon or certain creeping plants. We fed till we felt our stomach bulging. This was my life pattern as from 1933 to the time I left school in 1937.
YOUNG ONES – ONLY YOU COULD LIMIT YOURSELVES Obafemi Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa and Nnamdi Azikiwe never had access to computers, electricity supply, and pipe-borne water in their early lives. They trekked barefooted all the way. Even Pastor E.A Adeboye never wore a pair of shoes until the attainment of age 18. Goodluck Jonathan was in the same category of unfortunate personalities who never had pairs of shoes until about age 20 years. How did they attain greatness? Obafemi Awolowo wrote: “It is, I think, enough for me to say that life itself is, from the cradle to the grave, a series of unbroken risks. I make no boast about this, but those who know me intimately will testify to the fact that I have never, at any time, shrunk from taking my full share of the risks which life, with its unending opportunities and vicissitudes, offers.’’ As a public office holder, Awolowo stated that: “While many men in power and public office are busy carousing in the midst of women of easy virtue and men of low morals, I, as a few others like me, am busy at my desk thinking about the problems of Nigeria and proffering solutions to them. Only the deep can call to the deep.”
THERE IS PLENTY OF SPACE AT THE TOP On his part, Nnamdi Azikiwe observed that: There is not plenty of room at the bottom because very few people care to travel beyond the average route. And so, most of us seem satisfied to remain within the confines of mediocrity. Azikiwe also in 1960 pointed out that: In these days of rapid communications, we cannot live in isolation, apart from the rest of the world, even if we wished to do so. All too soon it has become evident that for us, independence implies a great deal more than self-government.’’ On his part, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa stated that: ‘’It is therefore most important that the development plans throughout the country should be carried out with vigour in order that we may have a proper financial standing when, in three years’ time, we ask the world to regard us as an independent self-governing nation’’ Goodluck Jonathan on his part reveals that: . ‘In my early days in school, I had no shoes, no school bags. I carried my books in my hands but never despaired; no car to take me to school but I never despaired. There were days I had only one meal but I never despaired. I walked miles and crossed rivers to school every day but I never despaired. Didn’t have power, didn’t have generators, studied with lanterns but I never despaired. In spite of these, I finished secondary school, attended the University of Port Harcourt, and now hold a doctorate degree.
A global figure and mentor to millions of people around the world, Enoch Adejare Adeboye, holder of a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics never wore a pair of shoes until age 18. According to the head of the Redeemed Christian Church of God Worldwide: ‘’ he would continue to appreciate God and thank him for recalling taking him through thick and thin to become what he is today. Adeboye said ‘’‘if nobody thanks God, I will. ‘’ Me, that began wearing shoes at 18. If I look back from where I am coming from I can’t but thank God for His mercies. If I recall those who grew up together with me and see how God has shown me mercy, I can’t but thank Him. Some of the people I grew up with are not even where I started.’’ That is not suggesting that Daddy G.O. says you should fold your arms and continue to expect God to provide with labouring. He worked very hard; and he still does, seekng the face of God for assistance which he gets because Adeboye does his part before expecting God to do His own part. Only in exceptional circumstances would manna fall from heaven these days. And there is no free meal anywhere.
Young ones could set aside time to go through the biographies or autobiographies on great Nigerians who have left their marks indelibly on the sands of time. Best wishes young ones and leaders of tomorrow. You would gain a lot by gaining knowledge about what resilience and planning could do in the life of an ambitious young person.
(c) 2021 - Terrific Investments & Consulting Ltd.