As the Managing Director, Globetech Remedial Limited, Mr Ola Oresanya walked towards the podium, applause followed each of his steps.
Oresanya was one of the parents invited by 1st Royal Character and Values Limited to relive their childhood stories, in order to relieve today’s children.
Oresanya, who was formerly in charge of managing Lagos State dirt for 10 years before he took a bow, looked into the expectant faces of the audience, smiled with visible sadness, and said: “My mother! I never forgot every word that my mother told me. Right now, I’m an orphan, but I will never forget what she taught me.”
Continuing his recollections with a wistful smile, Oresanya said: “She always told me to remember the son of whom I am. She said that I should ensure I maintain the name of my family and ensure that the dignity of the name was not stained.
“Whenever I did something wrong, she wouldn’t scold or cane me immediately. She would wait until midnight, and then wake me up, pray with me and then start talking about my offense. Today, I wonder how many parents still have time to wake their children up at night to have a discussion with them. Discussions with children at such hours usually sink in.”
Bringing up a child in the right way, so that at the end of the day he or she wouldn’t become a major problem to the parents and society, had never been an easy task. Many parents erroneously believed that the best way to take care of a child is to provide them with enough money, nannies and househelps.
But on August 4, a group of experts in parenting matters, gathered at Pertinence Place, Akowonjo Road, Egbeda, Lagos State, to chart the path to proper parenting.
The event was organised by 1st Royal Character and Values Limited (RCV). As a social capital development company, RCV asserts that character begins at home and that national values depend on strong family units.
The National Character Parenting Summit 2018 event witnessed a massive turnout. Incidentally, that would be the fourth edition of the summit. Mothers, fathers and children were part of the guests.
Oresanya explained to the crowd that good parenting was the bedrock to nation building of any country. Oresanya, who was the guest speaker at the event, said that parenting is an unending task which was all about nurturing children for growth, protection and provision.
Oresanya, who stated that his mother was a teacher, said that the woman used to wake up him around 1a: m to chastise him if he erred.
His words: “We use potent weapon of emotions for purposeful parenting. Up till date, I still remember very well things that my mum told me. My mother was in charge and in control, but these days, children control their parents. Parenting for mothers start right from conception; mothers start from then to speak to their unborn children. Parents are responsible for equipping their children with the necessary knowledge required in developing well-rounded adults, by offering good advice and setting good examples in the form of sharing their childhood stories.”
Oresanya, while urging parents to stop lying about their childhood to their children, lamented that communal parenting, which was the foundation of African culture had been eroded.
His said: “Before, people in another compound, have control over their neighbours’ children. We used to see children of other parents as ours. These days, neighbours see people’s children misbehaving and rather than chastise such children, will simply walk away. They feel it doesn’t concern them. This is bad. Parenting goes beyond biological parents.”
Veering off to parenting and sex education, Oresanya said that he had discovered that the toughest education to give to a child was sex education. “But most parents don’t know how to go about it,” he said.
He added: “Parents should deliver advice with wisdom. We need to bond with our children. When I was growing up, I was living in a hostel. I was not attending classes. My parents were not coming to check up on me. I was a bright student, so I thought I could scale through. But Mr Examination dealt with me. I was brilliant, but my result shocked my parents and I. Stories of failures from parents can boost our children’s self-esteem. The children would know that what they are going through, their parents had once gone through such. Be your children’s confidant.”
Oresanya, who urged parents to be role models for their children, further said that parents should know the best time to impart important messages to children. Bad timing could derail a child, he said. He noted that the mind of a child was very impressionable. He stressed that spiritual parenting was the foundation of every kind of parenting.
Oresanya explained that parents, while telling their children stories of their lives, either palatable or unpalatable, should take care in order not to tell them stories that might be difficult for them to digest.
He said that wisdom must be applied on the side of parents when using past stories to correct their children.
Oresanya further explained: “I used the story of how I failed during my secondary education and how I buckled up and later passed in flying colours, to bring back my last child on track, he was not doing too fine then in his secondary school. There is timing and stages when we can actually tell our children stories of our past mistakes. Until you are a role model to your child, you have not passed as a parent.”
He advised parents to be very careful in managing the minds of their children, adding that the family’s altar was not complete without the children. He said that even though children are far from home, parents should embrace, “E-parenting. You call them on phones to speak with them and monitor them.”
One of the guests, Mr. Wale Thomas, recalled how his father died when he was just 15-year-old and he had to learn a lot of Christian virtues from his mother, whom he described as a stark illiterate.
He said: “If you lost your family, you have lost everything. Don’t allow your job to take you away from your family.”
Thomas said that while growing up, even though he was very young, he noticed that his father made a lot of mistakes. He disclosed that he learnt a lot from many of his father’s mistakes and vowed never to tread those paths. He urged parents to teach children to ask questions, without being rude.
Recalling one of the mistakes his father made, he said: “My mum had five boys for my dad, but my dad wanted a daughter. He started making plans to marry another wife, which would be his sixth wife. I heard about it and went to him; I asked him if he was alright. I told him not to marry another wife. He was shocked. He said I wouldn’t understand. I begged him and told him that my mother might still give him a daughter. He still went ahead to marry a new wife. After marrying the new wife, his life was never the same again. The woman showed him hell. And like I told him, my mother got pregnant and had a baby girl. When I saw my dad, I said to him, I told you so, and he gave me a resounding slap on my face. I was shocked. He had never acted or behaved that way with me before.”
Thomas said that his childhood prepared him to have a different life in office and at home. He revealed that he used to do the laundry and the dishes at home. He also forged a tight bond with his children, especially his 15-year-old son, who just wrote his West African Examination and came out in flying colours.
According to him, he made sure that he discusses issues with his son. Thomas, who kicked against parents lying to children that they were brilliant as students, said that most times, such lies could be found out by the children and it wouldn’t be too good for the image of such a parent.
He said: “By God’s grace, my son is a gifted child. One day, I decided to have a discussion with him about my secondary school life and my result. He told me that he had already seen my result. I was shocked. I asked when and how. He said that he saw it a long time ago while searching for something. And all this while, he didn’t tell me. Imagine if I had lied to him about my result and achievements in school. He would have known that I was lying. Parenting by lying is very wrong.”
Executive Director, Media Concern Initiative, Dr. Princess Olufemi-Kayode, said: “Parenting is interesting. We need to know and understand our children. We should know how to handle each of them in different ways because they are different people. When they are adults, you begin to converse and share ideas with them. Parents shouldn’t lie or pretend with their children. Don’t lie that you were the best when you were in school, while you were not. The essence of sharing your childhood story with your children is the underlying importance; to make the child a better person.”
Editor, Nation Newspaper Online, Mr Lekan Otufodurin added: “Telling the truth about yourself to your children doesn’t mean they would no longer respect you. My father didn’t complete secondary school, he had to drop out and he told us the reason behind that decision. He left school in his 4th year. He said that because he dropped out of school, he would make sure that all his children were schooled to university level and he did. When he told us his challenges, we respected him the more.”
The Author/Sound Character Coach, Mr David Adegboyega, said: “Parenting is a learning process and it never ends. As parents, we should understand that we can’t and don’t know everything. We can learn from our children. When you see your child about to make the same mistake you made, don’t be alarmed, don’t be emotionally down, just sit the child down and talk to him/her. Or you tell him/her about your childhood and your own mistakes. Parents should cultivate the habit of having a conversation with their children.”
Convener of the event, Chief Executive Office RCV, Mrs. Bosede Olusola-Obasa, said that the programme was created as an intervention platform to help today’s parents. She added: “Whatever is not worth being seen by your children on your mobile phone is not worth storing on your phone.”
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