You can h a r d l y opens a paper these days without reading of one horrendous crime or the other. Everywhere, East, West, North and South, crime seems to hold sway. Criminals are not born, they are made by many factors some of which are poor parenting, poor schooling and a failing system of cultural norms and the failure of the morals of elders. Speaking of elders, elders are usually the guardians of the morals and ethics of the community, but in recent times, these elders themselves have become harbingers of amorality and immorality.
How can the youth be corrected when those who ought to correct them have themselves missed the way? How can the society thrive when parents and elders of society now look the other way! They now ignore, if not encourage crime. It was not the case just a few years ago. When I was a kid, parents of our era were very interested in the activities of their children. Our parents were interested in who our friends were; they interviewed them frequently. Our parents were interested in our movements and in our whereabouts. We had to account for everything we owned and everything they found in our possession.
It was normal for parents to inspect their grown up children’s rooms. It was expected that a parent would examine a grown daughter’s bag, box and other possessions. Woe betides her if she owned anything that she could not account for. For us boys, our movements were monitored and controlled. We couldn’t go and come as we pleased, unlike now. We couldn’t take our boyfriends into the compound talk less of friends of the opposite sex, who were not allowed at all. We were not allowed to go out at night, talk less of going to parties and other functions held after dark. Our home curfew time was 6pm for secondary school and 7pm for university students. If you were absent from class, your parents were notified. If you were seen loitering on the streets when you should be in school, any older person who saw you would give you a correct flogging before either dragging you to school or home to your parents. Little wonder, that there was little or no crime because people were alert to their responsibilities to society and to one another. They knew their role as elders. But the reverse is the case today.
Nowadays, no one cares and no one borders. Parents hardly ever know the whereabouts of their own children. Some have never gone to see where their child is schooling or working. Many do not know the friends of their own children talk less of knowing their parents. Some see their children with money and never bother to know the source of the money. Some see their daughters with expensive clothes, expensive jewelry and expensive phones, yet they don’t ask. I have seen homes in which daughters bring their boyfriends to sleep over.
An abomination in my time! Yet these parents don’t bother to probe their own children. Even when they know that their children are doing wrong or are involved in one crime or the other, they turn a deaf ear and pretend! Why would crime not be prevalent when the family unit covers up their criminal members! Why would our society not be in decay when the family, which is the first line of social sanity, has collapsed? We need a new orientation. We need the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to wake up from its slumber. We need the churches and mosques to step up their preaching on morality. We need the Leadership and Citizenship Training center, a parastatal of the federal government to set up. We need the teachers to return to not just teaching but character molding of their students.
We cannot grow as a people when we abandon morals. Morals are the guideposts for civil and sane interactions. It is these morals that allow society to be stable and protective of its members. When a society has no moral fabric, it becomes just a jungle where anything goes. Clearly that is the road we have been headed for a while now but we must retrace our footsteps before it is to late. This column commends the federal government for releasing N200billion to the tertiary sector of education. It will not be enough, but it is a step in the right direction. Kudos to President Muhammadu Buhari on this score. –Aluta Continua