Columnists Features

Parents’ attitudes matter

EDUCATIONAL JOURNEY with EPHAT MUDENDA
‘I AM a man of little education, and I’ll always blame my parents for neglecting me in this area. This time, I’d have been ‘somebody’ in society.”
This complaint was expressed by a long-time friend, Greg Chifita (not real name).
Greg is very bitter about having grown up without being offered a meaningful opportunity to climb the education ladder.
He, like many others who yearn for more, academic-wise, feels that if his parents had given him the financial and moral support which every child requires for them to have a bright future, he would have positively contributed to the well-being of both his family and society.
In the context of this column, education refers to the process of teaching, training and learning – in schools, colleges and universities – aimed at improving knowledge and developing skills among individuals.
This process, therefore, demands that parents, whether biological or by association, should play a role in instilling a sense of responsibility and discipline in children who should be morally upright and law-abiding, as well as socially and economically useful to the nation. This should be done on the basis that a family is a nucleus of society.
There are many benefits that result from this kind of empowerment, including overcoming poverty through increased household incomes.
Of course, from a wider perspective, supplementary roles of significant others, organisations, the government and development partners – both internal and external – are of great importance in ensuring that citizens’ right to education is fully realised.
But as parents, first and foremost, our attitudes about education should inspire our children, and we must show them how to take charge of their educational journey.
From a tender age, young people should be able to see their fathers, mothers, aunties, uncles and guardians in general as their first teachers in life. As role models, we should find time to read and count with the little ones, and help them to learn new things.
It is important to pay attention to what each child loves. An appreciation of what exactly interests a child will enable us to help them explore it.
Reading aloud – in the child’s hearing – will surely expose her or him to the vocabulary and structure that should be a foundation for a rewarding education.
If children are allowed to choose books that they like, they will definitely be interested in reading even more, thereby enhancing their mental faculties.
Besides relating what children learn to everyday occurrences such as the weather and some aspects in the political world, parents should give children chance to express their feelings and ideas on such events. This way, we will help them take charge of their learning, both within the home and in school.
Dalton Miller-Jones, PHD, says: “We want them [children] to be responsible for their successes and failures, show them how engaging learning is…”
It is important to keep television and social media (Facebook, WhatsApp) to a minimum. Allowing children to play with friends, toys, and letting them engage in safe games suitable for their age will assist them in taking charge of their agenda.
Certain areas of interest, skills and their ability to find solutions to simple problems will also be enhanced.
These and other attitudes on the part of the parents will, no doubt, shape the way children will pursue success.
Now, have you ever wondered why the person next to you – your brother, sister, husband, wife, nephew, niece, friend, etc – seems not to be interested in school matters, however, hard you try to empower them?
One does not just feel like sitting in class to acquire some knowledge, another simply hates the subjects offered and their individual teachers, while the other says he or she can’t stand the thought of being inflicted with the so-called examinations at the end of the year in a hall or room that makes one feel as if they are in a slaughter house!
If you have individuals with such an attitude towards school in your life, look back and analyse the attitudes of their parents.
Theirs could just be a different case from that of Mr Greg Chifita.
ephatm@yahoo.com/ emudenda@daily-mail.co.zm

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