Parents are largely to be held responsible for the prevalence of waywardness, especially among youths, in Nigeria, so say marriage experts. According to them, the vices that appears to overwhelm the country today, is as the consequence of hardness of hearts, through acts of sins. This common position was taken by three speakers, Sir Nosa Ehigiator (KSM), High Chief, John Aigbokhaode and Mrs. Justina Imogirie, at a recently organized lecture, tagged ‘Family Week’, held at St. Cyprian Catholic Church, New Oko-Oba, Agege, Lagos. The three days programme, facilitated by the Parish Laity Council, was meant to sensitize the family, as the topics aptly captured it, on ‘Good parenting in a wayward society, Roles and Realities in Marriage, and Education, and Upbringing.’ Speaking on good parenting in a wayward society, Sir Nosa Ehigiator, noted that, the breakdown of the family is the foundation of the breakdown of society, and, according to him, one of the major reasons for the waywardness that is rampant in contemporary Nigeria. He lamented that, Nigeria hangs in the balance, with fear of disintegration, owing to incessant kidnappings, armed banditry, lopsided political appointments, herders/farmers clashes, resulting in food shortages.
He said, ‘escalating homosexuality and lesbianism, drug abuse, moral decadence, alcoholism, street riots, police brutality, extra marital affairs’, amongst others, ‘have turned the world upside down, rather than moving us forward,’ blaming it on poor parenting. The attendant consequence, he submitted, are that, ‘more and more children will have to grow within a morally deviant environment, characterized by drugs, gangsterism, illiteracy, teenage pregnancies, domestic violence, pornography, human trafficking, slavery etc.’ Sir Ehigiator advised parents to create, what he called, family hours for interaction with their children, through meals, prayers and play, insisting that, parents must learn to love first, before admonishing a wayward person. There are countless examples in the Bible, ‘where Jesus, healed first, fed first, and offered compassion first, before admonishing the recipient sinner to sin no more’, he emphasized. The second topic, entitled, ‘Roles and Realities in Marriage’, presented by the immediate past president of the Catholic Men Organization of Nigeria, Archdiocese of Lagos, High Chief, John Aigbokhaode, said marriage, is like a prison yard, the man is condemned to, but that, it is the responsibility of the parties involved to grow the relationship.
He said, Catholic marriage is indissoluble, and that, couples should keep the fire of that love at first sight, aglow, despite the trying times. This, they can do by having good times together, going on picnics and showing respect for one another. They should also care for, and guide their children, and wards to know the Catholic faith, its doctrines and traditions. Mrs. Justina Imogirie, in her presentation, on ‘Education and Upbringing’, enjoined parents to take the education of their children and wards seriously, formal or informal. She said, character formation starts within the home, made up of the father, mother and close relatives. Regrettably, parents now abandon their children in schools, in the hands of nannies and house helps, chasing after money, and bringing up children without family values, she noted. Commenting on the indissolubility of Catholic marriage, the Parish priest, Very Rev. Fr. Richard Fasuyi said, the Church permits separation, where there are glaring sharp disagreements between the couple, giving rise to violence and threat to life. In his remarks, the Associate Parish priest, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Anyanwu, thanked the speakers for what he described as detailed and thought-provoking presentation of assigned topics. Chairman of the Parish Laity Council, Bro. Chukwuma Ezeaba, noted that, the appreciable number of people who attended the programme, speaks volume of the challenges many families are going through, and that with prayer, hard work, and perseverance, things would turn around for good.