By Mercy Hill
There is the case of a country where 'role models' set bad precedents. It is now trickling down to all facets: from father and mother to children; from teachers to students; from politicians to the electorate; pastors, priests and Imams to congregation; from manager to subordinates; from leaders to followers and still counting. What you see is a shade of insincerity from the crown of our head to the sole of our feet. “
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those, who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality” ——- Dante Alighieri
CHILDREN, they say, are the leaders of tomorrow. This assertion is correct when used in the right context. It is also not correct when the context in which it is used is marred by challenges resulting from internal and external influences in the growing up of the child. Before now, the development of the child was basically rested within the confines of parents (father and mother), who took care of the child from infancy, through infancancy, adolescent to adulthood. Thus, the parents were indisputably role models. In this context, all what the child grew up with, was traceable to either the father or the mother, especially as it concerned the lifestyle of the child and to a large extent his world view. Someone could then easily conclude that the child took after his or her parents.
In our society today, it is no longer business as usual following the societal influence on our young ones. The child is now a target of a society that either makes or breaks him or her. It then means the child's growing up is no longer dictated strictly by parental upbringing but by the environment where he or she is nurtured. Candidly, what dominates that society dominates the child's sensibility and responses to situations around him.
It is a bitter fact of life that as parents, we have thrown caution to the wind in the discharge of parental responsibility to our young ones. The quest for unattainable vanity has eaten deep into our system thereby giving out our children as preys to raving predators of a society begotten by a culture of impunity.
Music, movies, politics, education, fashion, etc are supposed to portray societal values and assist in building off-springs from infancy to adulthood; inculcating in them the right attitude that will make them better persons to themselves and the society at large. This is no longer the case as the supposed 'agents' of societal values have degenerated into agents of bad influences on our children.
Growing up, we were able to witness music that touched and inspired the soul. Music that tells a story; a story that has a theme; a theme that makes a sense; a sense that opens an opportunity; an opportunity that brings about success. This was the music we listened to. Music by great musicians such as Sunny Okosun (of blessed memory), King Sunny Ade, Victor Uwaifo, Mike Ejeagha, Stephen Osadebe, Dan Mariya of Jos, Cardinal Rex Lawson and so on.
On the foreign scene, we have musicians like Bob Marley, (The Legend), Jimmy Cliff, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richael, just to mention a few. Today what do we hear? Foul language by musicians, who seem to have received their inspiration from unedifying origins in their vicinities. The problem here is not the music but those that listen to it especially the young ones. Such music is played at birthday celebration for children and the youths in general and you will be amazed by the dance steps such as “Zanko, Gbese, one corner, and so on. The children are the worst affected as they no longer see the need for soulful music and school rhymes which they learnt from their teachers in school. What about the pornography that accompanies the music? Our musical artistes believe the only way a video can gain market dominance is to feature half-clad girls or others in dresses that offend sensibilities. No regard for their bodies anymore. These ladies show everything that can pass for bodily secret to the whole world. The producers of the videos are not helping matters as they reject ladies who still retain their sense of shame and would not meet the nudity standard set by them (producers).
Movies, to my understanding, are thoughts or stories told in pictures either to satirize or correct societal ills. Some movies are shot to explain the past in the life of a people and the reason behind their fortune and misfortune. These days our movie industry has assumed a dimension too offensive to brook. Looking at our home videos (the Nigerian movies) for instance, we see a situation where actors and actresses act incomprehensible scripts on set.
The message being sent is bastardised by the violent use of language and unfriendly scenes full of pornography and sexual abuses. These videos are not meant for children below the ages of 16 or 18 but prevention, they say, is better than cure. The producer, directors and the editors of these videos fail, at times, to do the right thing before putting the videos in the market. Then, who is there to guide the children, so to say, from watching these videos when our so-called mummies and daddies are busy out there in pursuit of vanity.
One can remember with nostalgia those days of Hotel De Jordan, Cock Crow at Dawn, The Village Headmaster, just to mention a few. We enjoyed movies made in Nigeria and the society was better for it. Come to think of it, a child that is watching Akin & Pawpaw will think that a role played by the duo is for the kids irrespective of the violence, uncouth language and pornographic display. Mind you, the status of Akin or Pawpaw is confusing to the adult watching them let alone the children, who may think they are primary school pupils when they star in school uniforms. To this end, we have a problem with the movie industry especially the makers of home videos with particular emphasis on our Nigerian Nollywood and the Ghanaian Ghollywood, the most common in the West African sub-region.
Story lines should be well thought out before scripted; and characters properly screened before giving the roles. The producers and film directors should not leave any stone unturned in ensuring that the production of movies is devoid of crazy pictures.
Talking of politics…politics ordinarily is not as dirty as the layman is made to perceive it. It's supposed to be an interesting life of a determined people who hold in high esteem, the ethical values of symbolic peace, co-existing in an atmosphere that radiates an aura of unlimited togetherness irrespective of cultural, racial and religious divides. Without mincing words, I can stand up to say and with all conviction that politics in today's world, with reference to my country, Nigeria, is completely deteriorated. Whichever way you look at it, our young ones, the children, are the victims of this raving change. In the hallowed chambers of our National Assembly you can now sit in the comfort of your home watching legislative wrestling mania.
There you see a legislator jumping from one table to another with the mace in hand smashing people's heads. Guess what? The son or daughter is at home watching the father's show of shame. These are the supposed role models of our tomorrow's leaders. What role is this set of politicians modelling in the lives of the upcoming leaders? When the objective for being in politics is already defeated and our political facade is only a rise of political buccaneers and conscience hawkers, whose perception of politics is essentially for trading. The young ones have been turned into gambling seeds bred by the waters of corruption and nepotism. What a country? Where are the role models?
This is the case of a country where 'role models' set bad precedents. It is now trickling down to all facets: from father and mother to children; from teachers to students; from politicians to the electorate; priests, pastors and Imams to congregation; from manager to subordinates; from leaders to followers and still counting. What you see is a shade of insincerity from the crown of our head to the sole of our feet.
The wealth of a country is in the hands of the children. If the children are well groomed, they will imbibe the culture of good neighborliness and possess the courage to evolve for a better tomorrow. If consciously and unconsciously subjected to the unbearable breach of domestic violence, institutional, societal or social vices, then we shall all rot in the bloodshed of a disgraceful society under the siege of our own children.
This should sound as a clarion call to our leaders, fathers, mothers, celebrities and, of course, to all stakeholders that the time to be good role models to our young ones is now. No procrastination. The time to act is now as it would be unwise to keep mute while the future of our children heads for the catastrophic.