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Building the next generation citizens: The dimension of parental roles

Citizenry for next-generation nation building is already in formation today, embodied in children, adolescents, and youths on whose shoulders rest the prospects of designing and implementing change in society.

They will constitute the manpower or human resources for driving society to the desired developmental destinations at organisational, community, national, as well as regional levels. The important task of evolving them into responsible citizenry, imbued with patriotism and nation-building, among other things, lies heavily on parents.

This, however, transcends the traditional parenting practice that is widely perceived to revolve around the college and career readiness of children, neglecting the aspects bordering on quality personhood for responsible adulthood.

Parenting in this regard takes into account the imperative of holistic formation of the child for resourcefulness for nation building, beginning from the individual, family, and community levels. This is even important for a developing country like Nigeria where the poor quality of human resources and moral and ethical inadequacies threaten the positioning of populations for nation-building.

However, adulthood comes with certain rights, privileges, duties, and responsibilities. The effectiveness of tomorrow’s adults, being the children of today, depends on society, school, religious leaders, and even the family. Nevertheless, parents particularly have major roles to play. This article, therefore, discusses how parents can serve as educators for building the next generation citizens, based on holistic formation.

Undoubtedly, good parenting equals good children who would grow up to work in organisations as good employees and even serve as good leaders. Children learn by watching, and what good example do children need to be the next generation citizens other than their parents?

Patriotism, lawfulness, and loyalty, among others, are virtues a responsible parent needs to uphold to communicate the right messages to their children. All these imply good citizenship, and can as well, contribute to nation-building.

Furthermore, parents need to teach their children about the demands of responsible citizenship, how it contributes to nation-building, and the role of nation-building in sustainable development.

They should let the children know how positive and negative actions affect others and the importance of cultivating moral virtues and values for the common good.

Children should be taught the importance of such values as honesty, orderliness, and responsibility; how these can contribute to the development of their society.

Another way parents can serve as educators to build the next generation citizen is by helping their children contribute positively to society.

Read also: Parent power: How children from privileged backgrounds out compete their underprivileged peers

This can be done by providing opportunities for them to engage in activities that channel them to make a difference in their society. These activities could be volunteering for some simple community services or even joining a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that aims to achieve community development.

In addition, children should be taught how to form their opinions on socio-political issues of national importance. A study by Circle (2022: https://circle.tufts.edu/) established that families that discuss current events and allow debates are more likely to raise young adults who are civically engaged than those who do not.

Adopting this strategy will undo the current trend where many parents end up producing politically apathetic children, with less passion or patriotism for building their nation.

Hence, parents should teach their children how to stay informed and how to critically analyse any news they consume. The ability to critically analyse information and differentiate between truthful and false information is an important media literacy skill a child would need to become the next-generation citizen.

In conclusion, building the next generation citizens – building the nation, is a duty for one and all. Nevertheless, we can also say that the future of this country is in the hands of the parents. This is because the family is generally accepted to be the basic unit of society, and the role of the family in nation-building largely revolves around good parenting.

Children are the next generation of citizens of Nigeria, and their parents must inculcate the right values when training them. Leading by good examples, teaching children the importance of having and practising good moral values and virtues, helping and encouraging children to contribute positively to their community, and teaching children how to form their opinions on important socio-political issues are different ways parents as first educators can help build the next generation citizens we all look up to in Nigeria at 62.

Bolanle, a communications intern at the Institute for Work and family Integration, Lagos

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