My heart bleeds when I see young and beautiful girls and boys drifting in life with no purpose in life, gazing at life and life eludes them. And you begin to ask, are they part of the society we belong to? Are they responsible for this life situation? We cannot rush into a quick fix of this phenomenon without looking into the families of today. With the advent of technology, the families of today feel that technology has revolutionized everything.
It has created a working class family. The dad has an executive job; the mum is a bank manager who because of heavy work in the office comes home late. And by the time she comes home, her children had gone to bed. The nanny has become a surrogate mother and the children cannot get vital information from her or help them do their homework. No body to help the children disgorge some of the crazy ideas dumped into them at school where the proprietor of the school might come from another denomination. There can be crisis in values and religion.
The working class woman may be posted to another state while the husband and children may be in Lagos. Where do we go from here? The mother/wife not being around affects the children. Imagine the emotional distance between the mother and her children and husband in the name of making sure that the future is secured. The payoff might be disastrous. Also, marriage not rooted in love can make “Love” run-away through the window in this situation. The children become the victims of irreparable marriage. When children are uncared for, they begin to develop bizarre values and life becomes bleak.
When they see their peer doing well because of the support they get from their parents, they begin to see their parents as people that are not loving, caring or united. This can affect their self-esteem. The rate of divorce is becoming higher. Today, people pull out of marriage for flimsy reasons. Some feel that they are not compatible. Who is the victim? It is the children! They are prey to the happenings of the world when nobody is ready to help them sort out their problems.
Divorce is another malaise that cripples families and it affects the children adversely. When there is a broken home and no efforts to fix it, the children are bruised, psychologically wounded because there is nothing to make them think of the future. Their parents have decided to leave each other because of lack of coping mechanism to bring them together. Sometimes pride can lead to such bizarre decision. Whenever there is no “I am sorry” in our language, someone else has to suffer. The parent’s lack of communication has brought many conflicts in many marriages too.
When one cannot bear what one is saying, it resorts to beating and brutalization of some faces and police offices are full of deviant behaviours of husbands and wives and children who are victims of broken homes. The father may create an artificial environment or bring a step mom who might try to show care but it cannot be compared with the care of a loving mother who brought them into the world. Children who cannot cope with the stresses and vulnerability caused by lack of love, resort to drugs to keep on going. Going where? To disaster.
Many of these children who are victims of broken homes are found at some corners of the markets, motor parks and in many streets. You find many of them also in uncompleted buildings and hide-outs. It is very pathetic to see many young boys and girls wasting their lives without knowing it. The country does not know what it is losing in the labour market. The social cost is immense. We must also know that a dysfunctional home breeds dysfunctional children.
You are what you bring into the world and what you bring into the world will either give you happiness or create hell for you. We must also know that most of the things children learn at home contribute to either their growth or their downfall especially the negative ones. Every child in the world is created to be somebody and should contribute to the society.
Nobody is born dummy or un-productive but it is the experiences from home, environment, society that gives a child a different view of life. For a child to grow in the right direction, she or he needs to be directed and very often a pat on the shoulder. Today we have many centres where children from dysfunctional homes can go and rebuild their lives even their parents. Counseling centres are there to fix them back to the society. • Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, Author of many books and a Social Justice and Peace Advocate.