Redeeming the Future
Redeeming the Future written by Anthony Onugba
Just a few decades ago, before the advent of and proliferation of the internet, satellite television and rap music, respect was the order of the day as people, young and old alike, seldom used curse words, insults or abuses at each other. This was evident in our homes as relationships lasted longer. A child could grow up to know the friends of the parents because there was mutual harmony and respect. However, the case is not the same today as we not only hurl insults and abusive on social media, but we are also enraged and aggressive when someone else, particular our friend, has a different opinion regarding a subject matter. Where did it all go wrong? Why have we lost all form of respect for even the elderly?
A little bit of history could help. The schooling of a child began from the home where the child is exposed to various scenarios from which the child learns to appreciate the world and people from either a moral point of view or otherwise. As the child grew, rap music began to filter into Nigeria and it became the fad. Parents, who often wanted their children to be referred to as the ‘new school’, cared less about the lyrics of the foreign songs their children were listening to. Parents seemed to be satisfied with the fact that the children were ‘entertaining themselves with the Walkman which they had bought for them but this was nothing short of a misplacement of priority. At that time, some of the rappers abroad had their hands full running away from the police as a result of drug possession. Some spent time in prison. From these experiences, they rapped about their hate for the police, their preference for sex and money, and their desire to get rid of their enemies. These were what the children were fed with by their parents who ‘wanted the best for them’.
Within the same period, cable and satellite television gained wide acceptance among those who were able to purchase them. This kept the children busy with 24-hour entertainment. The children of those that were unable to purchase cable or satellite television often became permanent visitors in the homes of friends who had them installed. Once again, parents went to work and left their children, especially during holidays, to watch just anything they wanted. When the parents returned from work, they would eat, listen to the news and go to bed, leaving the children (adolescents) to continue to watch what they wanted. They began to unlearn several things about their culture and began to imbibe the foreign culture portrayed on satellite television. They began to yearn for freedom from parental control and began to argue with their parents, often times using words learnt from rap music. It was at this point that the parents began to experience ‘headache’ and the term ‘problem children’ was used. Some of the religious ones regarded it as possession and called the pastors and priests to perform an exorcism so as to send the demon to the ‘bottomless pit’.
However, it worsened. The children learnt the culture of sex whereby, according to the liberal culture, a man and woman could have sex out of mutual consent. Chastity, which was the pride of the culture and religion, was flung out the window for the lust of the flesh. Abortion cases and death from unsuccessful abortions began to rise. Rape cases too began to rise. What used to be a taboo for a woman to have a child without a husband became widely accepted. But that was not the end.
With the internet, everyone began to live in a globalized world. Everything was within the reach of the individual. The pornographic industries made huge profits and people lazily sat behind the computer and became activists only online. They had their point of views, which often times are ill informed, but they guarded them and related only with friends who shared the same view, no matter how erroneous. Any friend who challenged the view was looked on as an enemy and ties are severed. We have become self-made gods as we hurl insults at almost everyone on social media, irrespective of the age of the person or the position being held in the country.
All hope is not lost. We had given our children an orientation about life and that was where we stopped. We ignored the fact that orientation is a continuous process. We did not interfere when music, satellite television and the internet reoriented our children but it is not too late to have a re-reorientation. We must make time to carry on this difficult task which has become difficult due to our misplacement of priorities. We must re-orient ourselves and our children in order to redeem the future because it is only when we have a re-orientation of our values that we will have a bright future filled with mutual love and respect.
Photo credit: Open Learning Tank (ampli5yd.com)