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Our Children Are the Future of Mankind, but Who Raises Them Now? Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Ajomuzu Collette Bekaku, Cameroon Jul 9, 2004
Human Rights , Child & Youth Rights   Opinions


Once upon a time, children were the most precious “thing” to mankind. The birth of a child was marked with celebration and festivities. Nursing mothers were cared for in turns by other women of the tribe until she could leave her child and go to the farm. Everything was suspended to welcome the new life. Rituals were performed to thank God for their arrival; and even though the baby was newborn, a goat or chicken was killed in his or her honour and a most important part was chewed and robbed on his lips as a sign that it was killed for him. The woman who just gave birth was given special care, not only by the entire tribe but especially by her husband. He bought her new clothes, went for special hunting trips just for her and so on.

As the child grew up, if it is a boy, he followed the footsteps of his father; if a girl, she followed her mother to the farm, helped her in cooking, and homemaking, etc. In this way the child learnt naturally by seeing and by doing. Culture was transmitted without words and without organised lessons, just by being with the parents and following what they did. At that time, women still knew and accepted that their primary place was at home and in the raising of mankind. As a result of this close upbringing, children were more obedient, more innocent and more childlike; in short they were children! Children were never perceived as a burden, but always and only as a blessing and a helping hand.

Then modernism came and its money after which everybody went. Nothing is sacred anymore, not even children, the future of mankind. Both parents now leave home, to meet mostly only at night. The set-up of society hardly permits children to be as close to their parents in their upbringing as before. How much time does each parent spend with his or her children, one may ask? The feminists’ movements now dispute that a woman’s place is primarily in the home. Who then really takes care of our children today, given that not even the mother has time enough for her children?

The saying is all too true that to educate a woman is to educate a nation. It is curious however that in the past when women had little or no education, children were better cared for, but today with all the “education” they receive, child upbringing is abandoned to the housekeepers. We can argue about it, deny it but the evidence is too overwhelming. Children are increasingly unnatural; having little or no innocence at all. Everyone complains about their stubbornness, their disobedience, their lack of manners and their inability to do anything right. Again the girl child suffers the most from this neglect, because her shortcomings with regard to her future role as a wife, mother and homemaker soon threaten to undermine her happiness altogether. Modernism may invent robots to fulfil these roles if it cares, but it remains to be proved that mankind can do without the woman fulfilling these roles.

In view of the neglect that child upbringing is suffering, how can we be surprised that our world is increasing only getting worse? Neither the individual, the family, the nation nor the world as a whole is getting happier with the passage of time. On the contrary the growing number of family breakdowns, individual unhappiness and national and international chaos are only eloquent proofs that we are not progressing but regressing, no matter the so-called scientific advances. We should stop blaming our children for all the deficiencies we see in them now. They can give back only what they have received from us, their parents, from mankind, which came before them. Who really is taking care of them today? The housekeepers? What can they teach our children, especially when many of them suffered the same type of upbringing as well, and when most take on the job not from the love of it but from failures to progress in their own chosen fields? So the truth is that our children are in the hands of dropouts, or merely people unhappy with what they are doing, and who are mostly untrained.

These problems cannot be solved by patchwork. It is a problem of changing the thinking of the world as a whole; of women taking their proper place in the home; of parents getting their priorities right; of providing the right education in schools. Until that time is reached, it also pays to do whatever we can to help the lucky children improve their misery lot.



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Ajomuzu Collette Bekaku

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