’Training children properly goes beyond sending them to expensive schools’
By Godwin Okondo
CONCERNED about children and youths who now live in a world where immoral practices seem to be the new normal, Dr. Ike Ugochukwu, has written an inspirational novel that seeks to instil good morals in young people to help them navigate what is increasingly becoming a difficult environment to raise children. Titled The Fading Generation, the novel was publicly presented on October 27, 2021, at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos, and had in attendancee a cast of eminent personalities from different walks of life, as well as students who came to celebrate the author for successfully coming up with such a timely novel. Among those present were the book reviewer who lectures at the Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos, Dr. Henry Ogunjewo, book presenter, Dr. Christian Iroemeha Ike, chief launcher, Nduchekwa C. Ike, co-launcher, Dr. Emmanuel Okworiogho, event chairman, Deacon Lanre Rufai, host, Rev. John Okrikri and chief hosts, Mr. Augustine and Dens. Meg Udoh.
The Fading Generation tells the story of a once closely knit family, whose peace is suddenly fractured when the only daughter Omololu gets pregnant. The book explores the salient issues of parental guidance and influence, teenage pregnancy, culture bias, prejudice and the rich and diverse cultures of Nigeria.
While presenting his keynote, Rufai said, “Many of the skills children acquire in their early years are fundamentally dependent on the quality of their interactions with their parents. Parents play an important role in bolstering the academics of their children and shaping their social and emotional skills. They also have an influence on the children’s positive and negative behaviours. The quality of parenting children recieve in the early years affects their cognitive protection and social skills. Considering that these skills can be passed from one generation to another, parents should ensure they continue to improve the quality of caregiving, which is very important.”Ogunjewo, who reviewed the book, said, “I appreciate everyone here for taking time to be present. This is a wonderful opportunity to bring us all together. There is a relevant message packaged in this book and I advise all to read. The Fading Generation is an exhilarating story. A fading generation can still be saved. From this book, I have learnt not to condemn people by their culture or customs. This book contains lessons that will live with everyone forever, and I recommend it as a must read for everyone.”The author, Ugochukwu, also shared the inspiration behind the novel. According to him, “I crafted the book based on my experience. What inspired the writing of The Fading Generation was my experience living in Fadeyi in those days. I observed the behaviour of some young people.
“A girl lived with her grandmother in the house where we lived, and during the break period, she would come home with her male and female friends, and they would lock themselves in the room and we didn’t know what they were doing. One day, her uncle suddenly came home in the middle of the day and opened the door, and saw most of these children topless, and when they saw him, they ran out.“That was when we knew that these children would leave school and come for illicit practices. Sometimes afterward, one of them came on a Saturday with the mother crying, and the mother said her daughter was pregnant. They started looking for the boy who was responsible, but they couldn’t find him because they were students, and they visited and mesed themselves up during school break and left.” Although this was long before the phenomenon of ‘baby mamas’ gained currency, the author argued hat th practice was well underway but perhaps not in a loud sort of way as it is now.“That was the time of the ‘baby mamas’”, he said, adding that “they were very prevalent then, especially within that Fadeyi environment. As a matter of fact, the products of that time are the vagrants (area boys) we have in Fadeyi today.
The level of violence has increased because of these children. Instead of these children to go to school to learn, they ended up in the house to mess up. So, I began to write The Fading Generation.“Does it mean we don’t have a generation of girls who would say no to peer pressure and illicit behaviour until they get married? Don’t we have people that will marry as virgins? I started asking myself these questions. That’s how The Fading Generation started. The Fading Generation now looks at these societal issues, the problems that girls face when they get pregnant: they face rejection from their fathers, mothers and people generally, and you can’t blame the parents because maybe these children are their hopes for a better tomorrow.
”The author said the reality of teenage girls’ pregnancy on the parents, especially the father, can be devastating and could lead to all manner of harsh but regretable decisions. But Ugochukwu argues that parents should still continue to play good parenting even when their teenage daughters fall prey to the sort of indecency that leads to pregnancy, noting that daughters in such situation need the love of their parents the more to restart their lives and chart new paths for themselves later in life.According to Ugochukwu, “Just like Omololu, the father had all hopes on her. Unfortunately, she took in, and that hope, to the man, was dashed. But even at that, when these girls enter into trouble, is that all there is to their lives? Is it the end of their lives? No. In The Fading Generation, you can still nurture such girls, cause them to restart their lives and reinvent themselves, and to live meaningful lives, and contribute to the society; that’s what parents are not doing.“Parents no longer inpart virtue in their children. To train children in high schools is not all there is to life or training children. You have to impart quality virtues in these children, so that when they grow up and become something, they will not be messed up by the winds of peer pressure.“It has become worse nowadays because parents believe that the best way to train a child is to send them to expensive schools. It goes beyond that — you have to impart character in the children. Teenage pregnancy has become worse nowadays, because these days, they don’t even care, and people mistake dating as avenue for irresponsible behaviour.”