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The amazing potential in children

FRIDAY, October 7, 2016: I am not sure what got me thinking about children recently. The more I thought about them, the more I felt like taking pen and paper and scribbling down my thoughts. They are precious, aren’t they? Yet, they can easily be the most neglected.
The main thought that I had was the potential that lies in every child. When we look at people who have made their mark upon the history of the planet or that of our nation, we easily forget that they were once helpless little children. Now the world depends on them.
In a sense, all children come into the world the same way. We all arrive on the planet crying. If a baby does not cry then it is a stillborn. It is born dead. So, often the first spanking we get is from a midwife, wanting to make sure that our lungs get the first breath of air.
However, after coming into the world the same way, everything else often depends on the parents that bring us into the world. For the next few years children are totally dependent on their parents for everything-food, clothing, shelter, education, hygiene, and so on.
Some children are born in the lap of luxury with everything that they need as far as this world’s goods can offer. Other children are born in adversity and poverty. Apart from the most basic of food and clothing, they lack almost everything else. Such is life, isn’t it?
Then there is the reality of the kind of parents or guardians a child grows up with. Sadly, many children are abused physically and sexually when they are still very young and these experiences scar their minds and consciences for many years to come.
Thankfully, that is not always the case. There are many adults today who will readily tell you that their childhood years were the best days of their lives. They had loving and caring parents or guardians who watched over them and truly loved them.
What is often amazing, however, is that a person’s childhood does not necessarily determine what they will be in adulthood. Many individuals who are outstanding leaders today will tell you that they had the roughest upbringing. Yet, they came out better people.
I say this because there are too many adults who are sitting on their lees and using some bad episode in their childhood as an excuse for their present miserable circumstances. That is wrong. There are others with worse experiences that are now true overcomers.
Sadly, this is often the case with those who are in prisons for crime. If you look at most of them you will find that they are products of broken homes, born outside marriage, or victims of childhood abuse. However, my point is that it need not always be that way.
We must never write off any child. That boy or girl who has mucus running down their face with torn clothes and shoeless dirty feet in your compounds can one day become the president of your country. It is this potential that occupied my thoughts today.
Many men who impregnate women outside marriage and run away get a shock of their lives much later in life when they discover that the child they refused to own is now a dignified citizen in society. That is when they want to show up and seek his or her favour.
I remember this happening to one Zambian president who will remain nameless for now. After he was elected president, a man came out of the woodworks claiming to be his father. The man at State House refused to accept him and did not want a DNA test.
It is too late. Where were you when the child needed you? Such selfishness must be punished by the mother who toiled alone to raise the child and by the child who must refuse to reward such negligence. We must all learn to look after children we bring on earth.
Let us do everything we can to bring out the full potential of children. Let us love them and give them the best possible education. Our nation’s future lies in the hands of those kids playing innocently in the rubbish dump, oblivious of the danger surrounding them.
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