…a Case Study for Moral Degeneration and Parental Failure
By Ogbeni Olawale Dawodu
This article is to question the culture of immorality and indecency that lurid artiste, Afeez Fashola aka Naira Marley, has been preaching to boost his popularity and brand which, alarmingly has become a virus fast permeating the society, so much so that many people, young and old are falling over themselves to be identified as ‘Marlians’. This write-up therefore set to serve as the needed reminder to parents on the collective responsibilities towards giving the right grooming and parental guidance to our children in other to put a halt to the moral deterioration and bad influence people like Afeez Fashola are wrecking on our society.
I am not here to question whether Naira Marley is a product of bad parenting or why he chose to hug a lifestyle of zero manners, alcohol drug consumption and a life that celebrates disobedience to constituted authority. My fear is that on a daily basis, youths all over the country, children of the poor and the rich, as well as adults are striving to meet those qualities so as to qualify as a bonafide MARLIAN. This influence must be stopped!
There was a time, our time of growing up, when children did not allow themselves to look down on their parents—when parental authority forced the disobedient to tremble. There was a period when children trembled in their breeches literally. That time has passed, unhappily.
I am forced today to deviate from normal national discourse into an area which breaks my heart. I have five children, and I am eternally worried about this generation. I may have imparted some values in my children and will continue to drum it down their ears and heads but they are still part of the generality of the teeming population of youths all over the world. One child can change the world; true… but 10 bad children can destroy the future and change the destiny of that one child, if we do not act. When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but sadly, today’s youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint.
It is sad to say that we presently live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient and have no self-control. Children are now tyrants, not the subservient of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, rudely, interject into private conversations of parents, lack table manners or etiquettes. I see no hope for the future of our country if we are dependent on frivolous youths of today, if something is not done fast to re-thread our shredded ethical fabric, for certainly majority of them are reckless beyond words.
Ethics or lack of it as it concerns our present generation of Nigerians seems to be a popular topic in homes, business environments and the society in general nowadays and the question I’m asking today is; where did our ethics disappear to?
For me, most people’s ethics come from their parents, God and politics. First, I believe that parents play a huge role in shaping their children’s ethical behavior. Children learn what is considered to be “good” and “bad” based on their parents approval and/or disapproval which is action-based and primary in nature. Also, children learn secondarily through their own parent’s actions and viewpoints what is considered to be “good” and “bad.” Parents play a huge role in shaping their child’s world and the ethical basis for living life, grasping their place in the world, and confronting the many moral decisions faced in life, particularly during the formative years. Ethics cannot exist without concern for something or someone aside from us. In its purest form, parents are selfless as they decide to become parents, based on the assumption that the parent(s) assumes responsibility and care of that child.
Children nowadays are addicted to technological devices. They are different and hard to understand. They can get what they want like; Smart phones, Play Stations otherwise known as PSP, computer, tablets etc., as we can attest to in our respective family units and anywhere we look, in the church, restaurant, school, home they carry their devices/gadgets. I know parents are trying to give the best to their children, but don’t they ever think of the consequences?
My own childhood was amazing. My brothers and I, cousins and friends spent more time outside, we played more of outdoor activities, engaged in the Nigerian traditional games like making and flying Kites with my father’s old newspapers, (he actually taught me how to make my first kite), during holidays we engaged ourselves with many pastimes like Boju-boju (hide and seek) playing Ayo, Suwee, trap canary birds to put in our cages as pets, and my favorite the Baba and Mama! What girl can ever forget 10-10, or which village child did not throw Rubber seeds? Agbalumo seeds were used for various forms of games. We to climbed trees to pluck fruits- Guava, Mangoes and Almond fruits; we chased Dragonflies, Grasshoppers and ran after Crickets at night.
We came out early in the morning to hunt termites during their wedding flights and roasted them by the fireside. We planted Corn and went into the family garden to pluck them after which we sat by the fireside especially on rainy days and roasted them while the pear softened in the hot ash. We would enjoy games of football together that would only come to an abrupt end most often when we heard the sound of the blaring horn from our late father’s Volkswagen Beetle 1300 approaching. We learnt to ride bicycles bearing whatever rickety Raleigh was available! We played Table Tennis, placing a large enough plank on elevated Sewage areas and demarcated the board with a stick resting on rusted milk cans. Tennis Stars were born from neighborhoods.
Outdoor activities are good for the heart, body and mind not only that, they also maintain a social connection through friendship, they bring joy and happiness. They propel stronger relationships between siblings and friends. The games we played were not only part of our learning process as children, but we had a positive influence on our mental, physical, emotional and moral being, those were the benefits that were reaped throughout our adulthood. Obesity was almost nonexistent in those days.
Children now are different, they don’t know how to play the traditional games and they don’t even know what is happening around them. They only know the apps in their devices and music. Music of all sorts, they can reel the names of hip hop artistes on top of their heads but ask them questions any current issue, majority will go blank! Yet they are glued to the television set either in their rooms or the living with the television permanently on a music channel. And it’s all our fault! because instilling discipline in our children is one of the cornerstone of parenting but we often fail to take heed.
We are quick to lay the blame squarely on the influence of the society. Well for me it’s not a valid reason! Monitoring is a must for our children. Think about it.
The spread of juvenile delinquency these days is largely due to parental laxity. Parents suffer constantly from fear and guilt while their children gaily romp about pulling the place apart. A good old-fashioned spanking is out of the question: such act is perceived as not modern child-rearing method nowadays; some even view it as barbarity.
Children are hardy creatures and most of them survive the harmful influence of extreme permissiveness which is the normal condition in the modern household. But a great many do not.
Honestly, this borrowed culture is not doing our society any good at all. We should instill the same old fashion moral tutoring our own parents imbibed us with while growing up in our children too. At least this will help them to develop vigorous views of their own and give them something positive to react against and help focus them morally and ethically. Infact, I am forced to believe that perhaps there’s some truth in the idea that children who have had an excess of happiness in their childhood fail to make a success of life. As parents, we need to go back to the basics and stop this decaying trend.
Instead, we allow a character like Naira Marley into our homes and encourage our children to proclaim themselves as Marlians! Though we should know better as adults and are much aware that he uses his brand of music to spread his negative influence on the younger generation to boost his popularity! Most of these kids now see him as role model to emulate and follow, but it is our collective duty as parents to be the role model our children should look up to.
The young man is more of negative impact than positive. When you take time to listen to the lyrics in his songs, the choice of words and slangs have done more harm than good to the youths. That’s why children that listen to his music now feel they have the right to be rude and mannerless based on what Naira Marley preaches in his music.