Are children supposed to have the right of expression without fear and prejudice? This is a big question which most African parents would need to answer. Fundamental human right included right to freedom of speech, expression, religion and respect for one another. The African child do not seem to have these within his right.
The African parents have before now trained a child to believe that:
- He or she cannot talk while the elders are talking.
- Cannot be in the sitting room when a visitor is around.
- Do not have the right to express himself or complain when sent on an errand
- Has to be careful the kind of question he or she can ask the parent, or else, he will receive the beating of his life.
This reminds me of Kola, a smart boy who was born to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Bamidele. He grew up at Lalupon, a ghetto village in Ibadan, Oyo state. Kola barely eats three square meal a day. He had to do menial jobs whenever he comes back from school on daily basis. This was how Kola made savings to buy some of his textbooks and exercise books he used at school. Kola was one of the most brilliant students in the school during his days at both primary and secondary school.
One of Kola’s teachers, Mr. Ajayi had severally noticed that he is too drawn to himself and anytime he was asked question in the class, he fidgets. He barely, talks without his lips shaking and his body vibrating with facial expression of fear and timidity. One day, Mr. Ajayi decided to visit Kola’s family without any prior notice. He was startled at what he discovered. He witnessed where the mother shouts at him at every little errands. Fuming with rage and uncontrolled anger like a combusting engine. While at an errand, another one was coming immediately. Kola most of the time got confused with the errands and began to wonder what was initially assigned to him to do by his mother and which one to attend to first.
Mr. Ajayi, a well-educated teacher with both foreign and local experience in teaching and also had received several trainings from a British professor in education. He was able to learn how to impart knowledge using the British curriculum which emphasized Montessori style of teaching. Mr. Ajayi had to call kola’s mum aside on one of the occasions to advise her on the need to allow Kola gain some freedom to express himself. He went further to encourage Kola’s mum to create more room for interaction between Kola and her. This will give Kola the sense of belonging and some confidence to relate freely with her and by extension to his colleagues and teachers in school.
Fortunately, Mrs. Bamidele (Kola’s mum) was able to listen and adhere to Mr. Ajayi’s advice. She tried to explore the advice and noticed a tremendous change in Kola’s interactions and level of confidence exhibited both in the community and report coming from school. Since then, she learnt a better way of bringing up a child and became a propagator of such an idea.
The African child sincerely deserved self-expression.