• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Can we raise good people for the next generation?

Can we raise good people for the next generation_ (1)

Some behavioural traits in adults indicate their upbringing. This might make us wonder how parents should instil certain behaviours in their children to ensure that they become “good” people.

Before going further into this topic, we must ask ourselves what the definition of a good person is. Given some aspects of our lives today, this question may not be as simple as it appears. For instance, it is not strange to witness or engage in such deeds as aggressive behaviour during traffic (in Lagos, particularly), lateness to appointments (African time), spending the bulk of working hours on social media (a new trend by millennials), excessive attendance to and expenditure on owambe events, bullying and harassment at work, corruption (at every level in the society), adultery (and proud side-chicks) and the list goes on.

The unfortunate truth is that some of these actions, albeit wrong and somewhat incriminating, have somehow become normalised and there are little or no consequences to correct them. They have somehow become our way of life, which makes being “good” seem a little abnormal sometimes; and in some cases, those who do not follow suit with these negative behaviours may be viewed as outsiders and might even be left behind in their professional, social and personal lives.

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However, human beings are built with a conscience; except for those who have those peculiar cases of psychological abnormalities (i.e. psychopaths, sociopaths, etc.). We are designed to know what is right and what is wrong, but this concept is beginning to seem more like an assumption than a principle. The choice to act on this principle is where the problem lies; but in the grand scheme of things, the larger problem is the effect that our behaviour today has on the future generation. What are we teaching today’s youth about morals and discipline if we as adults are having a difficult time getting our act together?

We can do a lot better in terms of raising standards in this area, thereby influencing the same in our children. As children are essentially not fully formed, they very easily pick up on what we tell them and how we behave around them. Despite these negative activities we see, hear and sometimes engage in, if we care enough about the future of our country, then we can start to take the right steps towards correcting our actions.

Adults in society have a significant role to play in the lives of the children around us. What we need to do is not necessarily complicated. In fact, many simple actions could go a long way in developing good people in the future. Some examples are listed and explained below:

Greeting: As simple as it sounds, some people find it difficult to greet others around them. Unfortunately, this is becoming a common observation amongst children. Greet goes beyond peers and colleagues, but should also take into consideration others who may be of different social stratification. Apart from simple courtesy, this passively instils humility. Through this, children learn that people should be treated with courtesy and respect regardless of their backgrounds and become more respectful adults.

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Saying Thank You: The act of showing gratitude takes away the sense of entitlement and dissatisfaction. Saying thank you for little things is a way of expressing appreciation for the effort the person has put into whatever it may be. This also improves the morale of the giver. If children learn this early enough, they would build better relationships with others and instil a higher level of confidence in each other.

Being Punctual: While it might be commonly said “early is on-time and on-time is late”, it seems like in this part of the world, we are more accustomed to the other common phrase “better late than never”; and we have taken this to be part of our way of life such that the term, “African Time” exists. Lateness is actually a passive form of disrespect; essentially a statement to those who arrive early or on time to an appointment that the late person’s time is more important than theirs (i.e. the late person are more important than others). If we teach our children punctuality actively, and by example, we demonstrate the act of respect, which they would pick up on.

Getting Involved: This is somewhat a broad area, depending on personal preferences. We must expose our children to activities that allow them to take responsibility and interact with others. Not only does this build confidence, but it also helps develop their team working and leadership skills. This way, especially when monitored, certain behaviour along the lines of the way they treat each other can also be corrected e.g. unkind and unfair behaviour, bullying, etc; before they manifest into adulthood.

These are just a few tips to help improve our children and us. It really is the little actions that count and form us as good human beings. The question is “are we ready to take these on?”


Oyin Egbeyemi is Executive Administrator at the Foreshore School, Ikoyi. Email: [email protected]