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When A Hero Disappoints Me

It is still somewhat difficult to imagine that a sportsman millions looked up to; a man who took the world by storm would be caught in such a strong, tactical and technical web of doping! It is my honest opinion that Lance Armstrong is a skillful cyclist to have won the first time; but for me, it is about the millions of hopes and aspirations dashed by this experience for the young ones.

There is something in human nature that longs for heroes and saviors.  We endlessly seek people to look up to, be inspired by. Whether in the family, politics, sports, business, or religion, time after time we put people on pedestals and look up to them and expect more of them than is sometimes justifiable.

"Kids often confuse celebrity with heroism," says family counselor Sherri Young. This is true! Being prosperous in a profession or the ability to play football, sing well or run fast doesn't necessarily make someone a hero, but young children and teenagers don't see that. They see success and fame and they think to themselves...."I want that too!"

And when those heroes fall, it can be disappointing to kids.

It is perfectly OK for kids to admire affluence and successful athletes but schools and parents should strive to keep that admiration from reaching the level of worship. One way to do that is to give your children other people — people your school and household approve of — to admire.

The first thing to do is for parents especially to be exemplary role models to their kids. Studies have shown that kids look up to their parents and parents need to keep this in mind. The 'weak' rule of 'do as I say not as I do' will never hold water with children. They become what they see from you. Parents also should take the opportunity to point out other positive role models to their children.

If you want to know what your child thinks, ask who they admire and what they think makes someone a hero. Explain that many people have admirable qualities, but if you look hard, you can find something not to like in everybody. Soon enough, you will find out what type of value system your child has imbibed or is imbibing.

I think that any time your child hears of a disappointing news about their hero; that it is then a good time to tell them your honest opinion. Whether it's an issue of breaking the law as we see in every 'driving minute' of our daily lives in Lagos or just about values, it immediately begs of a good chance to talk to your child about what you believe and why. Is it OK to use performance-enhancing drugs? Why not? Should you have premarital sex? What are the consequences? Should the social media dictate your image and style? What should then be your guiding light?

These are invaluable teachable times.


Book, Line and Sinker - Is our love for reading eroding?

Titles like Eze goes to school, African Writers Series, Things Fall Apart, Oba Ovanwenren, The Lion and the Jewel, The Gods Are Not To Blame, Weep Not Child and writers such as Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy among others were every student’s delight and prized possession many years ago. Many of us recited quotations from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar , As You Like it etc. One question readily comes to mind when I think about the current reading culture in Nigeria. Is it possible to enjoy reading or be encouraged to read when there is no electricity? That is a thought for another day!

The advent of computer games found in play-stations , smart phones and the iPad as well as the easy internet access to information seem to have taken over the minds of students today. I have to say that I am guilty of giving such access to my children as well but I draw a thick line as much as I can. Why? It is because I understand that we collectively have more to loose if I don't safeguard the reading culture in my home. My three year old daughter loves books so I intend to introduce a lot of books and read more to her.

I was talking to a friend earlier today about this topic and it suddenly dawned on us that we don't have a single library in the part of Lagos we live in! Is this not telling of where our reading culture is going? A lot more people are lacking content these days - no wonder the now popular saying "IT IS WELL" thrives in our vocabulary! I am worried!

There has to be some drastic move towards rekindling the passion to read among young children and students. Where are the people who will build libraries not 'high-rises'? Where are the people who will set up book clubs even if it were to be in the small spaces in their homes if possible?

Why is the sustainability of the reading culture important? It is no longer news that the Nigerian reading habit is generally low and this has been confirmed by several experts and as part of efforts to stem the tide, the federal government launched the Bring Back the Book, BBB project on December 20, 2010. This initiative is a brilliant idea as I hope that it is sustained.

Some of the plagues to hit us if we don't act quickly will include low intellectual capacity, illiteracy, uninformed youth and additional poverty of the mind among others.

 When a people read, you have:
  • a country of avid, lifelong readers who read widely and value literature and varying cultures.
  • an education system that integrates reading, library use and information at the core of the curriculum at all levels
  • a system that encourages reading for pleasure and lifelong learning.
  • a flourishing writing and publishing industry to support the increasing demand for books and other reading materials
Our families are at the epicenter of this matter as it has become imperative to start correcting this ill  from home. From their early childhood stage, begin to share books with children and read with them. Read billboards, sign posts, street names, labels, newspapers and books together! You may just be harnessing the skills of Nigeria's next Nobel Laureate! Recently, the Vice Chancellor of a university said to his students, "leave Facebook and face your books"....funny but true. 


From the lips of a 15 year old author - Groomology 102 (School Success)

Yes.....from the lips of a 15 year old author of 'No fault of Mine' named Ruth Momodu !

These young minds know more than we think they know or more than we will like them to know.

The falling standard of our education cannot be blamed on low parental involvement completely because there are many factors to consider. Factors that include teacher quality, training, methods of teaching, student preparedness, curriculum effectiveness and delivery, infrastructure and poor governance.

It is seemingly rare but you could find good teachers that will influence a child's intellectual abilities positively without parental assistance or guidance. This usually happens when the teacher has begun to play the role of a parent in the child's life. However, a parent's influence on the education of their child can be termed to be magical! From my experience, it has literally moved grades up from an 'F' to a 'D', and a 'C' to an 'A' . It also affects character formation; it goes as much as to transform a child with a low esteem to one with a soaring confidence; changing a person from exhibiting bullying acts to a character that is exemplary.

And her sources of inspiration? I am excited that she recognizes and follows these two great Literary icons. Ruth Momodu is a Learning Craft CELEBRIKID™. Read her story...

Fifteen-year-old playwright, Miss. Ruth Momodu, has blamed the falling standard of education in the country on parents who neglect their responsibilities towards their children. Momodu, a pupil of Westminster International College, Lagos, who spoke at the public presentation of her book titled, ‘No fault of Mine’ in Lagos on Saturday, said though schools were instituted to impart knowledge into pupils, that was not enough for parents to relent in instilling morals and discipline in their wards.

She said, “Parents must not only teach morals but should assist in discovering and developing their children’s talents as a way of contributing to the nation’s development because we believe we are the future of Nigeria.

“I started writing about five years ago. Then, I was 10 years old but my parents have been helpful by encouraging me and putting me through to do better. Now, I have other unpublished works. Nigeria will be great and our education sector will also regain its lost glory when the government, youths, students, teachers and most especially the parents, decide to play their roles.”

Speaking on her source of inspiration, Momodu said the literary works of two novelists of international repute, Professors Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe encouraged her to become a writer.

She noted, “The duo are literary icons making Africans relevant in the world with their works. They are my mentors, and young people like us need to start now to sustain this legacy after their exit.”

Also, the author’s mother, Mrs. Rita Momodu, urged parents to discover the potential in their children, adding that it was one of their core responsibilities.

She said, “The greatest investment is to invest in your wards. When we invest in children, we are investing in our tomorrow and even in the nation’s future. Parents must be ready to assist their children to succeed.”

What more can I add to that?  Click to read Groomology 101 (School Success)