BUILDING FIRE IN THE RAIN: RAISING KIDS IN AN AGE OF MATERIALISM
This is one lecture I attended and I wasn’t feeling sleepy. Well, I thought I should share my Dad’s paper with the 21st-century parent or soon to be parents because we need to redirect our focus from material things and bring up children that would eventually be the future of this country.
On another note, kindly say a little prayer for me because it’s my wedding Anniversary today! I am so happy and humbled by God’s blessings upon my marriage and family. Thank you so much for being here for me as well… I pray for much more fruitful years ahead. Amen.
Let me not bore you and let you read and take notes too …Being a Paper presented at the Hillrange Secondary School Seminar on 25th August 2018 at Centenary City Independence Layout Phase II, Enugu, Nigeria.
To build fire in the rain could be considered a suitable metaphor for an act of raising kids in an age of materialism. To build fire in the rain, however, brings one to think of the possibility of a dialogue between a thesis and its antithesis; the conversation between what seems possible and how that same what (thing) does not seem possible. From a picture or scenario we could paint around this statement, a whole lot of arguments or logical disputations could emerge and could equally be seen in our everyday life. One of such is in the act of raising children in an age of materialism; this act presents us with another form of logical disputation. But the most interesting aspect of all these is that they are issues or problems facing our society, our families in Nigeria and the world over today. Their currency (that are happening now) and actuality cannot be overemphasized.
Now, let us look at some keywords and phrases that will guide this discourse:
- To raise kids is to take care of the young ones until they are able to take care of themselves. It is during this period that the kids are educated at home and at school.
- “Material” is a substance that things can be made from building materials (bricks, sand, glasses, etc.). Things that are needed in order to do a particular activity: teaching materials.
- “Material” connected with money, possessions, etc. rather than with the needs of the mind or spirit: material comforts; changes in one’s material circumstance.
- “Material” connected with the physical world rather than with the mind or spirit: material world.
- “Materialism” (usually disapproving) the belief that money, possessions and physical comforts are more important than spiritual values: the greed and materialism of modern society.
- “Materialism philosophy” is the belief that only material things exist; thus no access to an opening towards God.
- “Materialist” is a person who believes that money, possessions and physical comforts are more important than spiritual values of life; a person who believes in the philosophy of materialism.
- “Materialistic” (disapproving) caring more about money and possessions than anything else. Children today are so materialistic.
NOW MY QUARREL:
My quarrel is not only centred on the increasing materialistic tendencies amongst children but also on the fact that a materialist is a person who “believes” that money, possessions and physical comforts are more important than spiritual values of life. That act of believe forecloses the door to access an opening towards God and spiritual values. And materialism is gradually and steadily gaining more and more apologists- persons who try to explain and defend materialism. So, it is not by accident that we are juxtaposing “fire” and “rain” or “raising kids” and “materialism”.When approached by aesthetics (purpose fulfilment), the act of raising kids in the present age is problematic… The totality of the environments in which kids are raised today may slip out of the category of conducive in content (process and product)as they work for other human purposes. And the artistry of the act of raising kids is only incidental to its primary service in efficiently conducting the kids to access an opening towards God because they would study things which are more specifically human, not just material.
2.1 My Quarrel: Kids’ Media:
Kids are not raised in isolated environments; they always have the nucleus society (the family) and the larger society (the school) as the media in which they are raised.
“To some extent, all institutional sectors of a society are instruments through which social and cultural changes are affected as well as instruments for stability. But certain social institutions seem more central than others in initiating and directing change. In modern societies, these institutions are the economy, government and the educational system” (Adum, et.al 2013)
2.2 My Quarrel: Nigerian Environment:
“The economic situation of any society highly determines the living standard of its citizen. In Nigeria, for instance, where success or progress is measured by how wealthy or rich one is, it is easy for one to notice the various socio-economic classes within the society. Most often, one’s economic class determines also one’s social position, no matter how the health is acquired. Thus, in the Nigerian society, success is synonymous with wealth. A student’s choice for a university course is primarily motivated by the economic viability of that course.
Most of the criminal activities in both the private and public sectors are motivated by the need to amass wealth and this is regarded as being successful. Our individual and collective orientation and emphasis on success and the various ways it is pursued could greatly determine the rate and direction of change” (Adum, et al. 2013:192).
- MATERIALISM FROM CURRICULUM TO OUR BUILT ENVIRONMENT:
Thus, the act of raising or educating kids, within their homes and families on the one hand and without in schools and amongst peer groups, on the other hand, has seemingly stepped down from the pedestal of the highest of the finest acts in caring for kids in families and schools to the position, say, of the highest applied act. Equally, on the basis of content, there exists an almost complete neglect of humanistic aspects of the subject matter of raising kids.
“There is a general attitude of materialism regarding studies as useful in order to make money, to acquire material well-being as if this were the highest horizon of man. It is obvious that the study of humanities, such as history, geography, literature, classical languages, philosophy and so forth, does not generate much income. Hence, students prefer to turn to the sciences geared to technology and business which are more lucrative”.This phenomenon has also influenced in many ways and depth the curriculum content of architecture in many schools in Nigeria. And this is happening in total disregard to the social challenges of architecture. “Because of its social use, architecture is subjected to enormous constraints which have no reference to its presumed aesthetic nature: codes and zoning, engineering specifications, safety regulations, provisions for lighting and access… If architecture is challenged as an art because of its primary social services, then it may yet make its place in the art of living. It contributes to and expresses the shaping values of people and cultures.
- CONCLUDING REMARKS:
(a) The Misplacement of Values:
“Humanistic studies are directly geared to man (that’s why they are called “humanistic”), while technological studies are more geared to material things (the plight of the so-called social sciences is that they have fallen between two stools: they are neither humanistic, for they treat man as an animal or a thing, nor strictly scientific, for they lack accuracy). Thus, the general swing towards the technological and business sciences thickens the already materialistic environment of blindness to the spirit, while in humanistic studies seriously conducted (not in the pattern of the “social sciences”, but on the basis of a realistic metaphysics) we get an opening towards God, because we study things which are more specifically human, not just material”.
(b) Understanding the Focus of Learning:
Raising kids fundamentally implies exposing them through a learning process. Now, learning has two parts: education and training. Education is institutionalised learning in which those involved in the process acquire fundamental principles or theoretical knowledge. Education equips the learning individual with knowledge and develops the mind and character. Education equips a person with the capacity to think and reason, so as to be able to provide theoretical solutions to present and future problems. Education is different from training and manpower development education. Education, training and manpower development are the three different parts of the human development process a nation must emphasise equally to promote rapid economic growth, industrialisation and development (Okunrotifa, 1978). But the content of what we learn must be based on values in such a way that our feelings, beliefs, etc. are not misplaced.
In itself, a material is good and it is produced for the good of man. The production of materials in the form of goods and services is an essential component of the economic activities of a people or society. It is also valid to sustain human civilization and the creation of national wealth. All this notwithstanding, one must not find oneself in a state of being involved in any material thing in an emotional or personal way.
But is possible to build fire in the rain, and so also to raise kids in an age of materialism. In a world, of today, where most hitherto events regarded as science fictions have become reality even on the basis of virtual reality, there should be no gainsaying that kids could be raised to be real kids in an age of materialism.
presented by Prof. M.M. Okonkwo
I hope this was a good read, trust me I learnt a lot from this paper presentation that is why I decided to share it with you. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.