Nigeria’s leading investigative newspaper, PREMIUM TIMES, TW Magazine, and Parenting Resources & Initiatives of Atlanta USA are facilitating a dialogue session on Parenting for Nation Building.
Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Christopher Kolade, is expected to open the event today in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Participants at the session include Amina Oyagbola, HR/Corporate Services Executive, MTN Nigeria, who will speak on the ‘Imperatives of Work-Life Balance;’ Nimi Akinkugbe, CEO of Best Man Games, will speak on ‘Money Value and Children;’, while Ayodele Adeboye, Country Manager, Econet Wireless in Nigeria, will present ‘Parenting by Example.’
Bola Odetokun of Parenting Initiatives & Resources will also speak on ‘Critical Life Values: Precursors in Nation Building and Living in the Diaspora.’
PREMIUM TIMES reporters would bring you live updates of the session as they unfold.
The hashtag is #parenting.
11.19: Arrival of guests at the event.
11.38: Singing the National Anthem as event commences
11.47: Opening remarks by Dr Christopher Kolade
Christopher Kolade starts by joking about the “unnecessary oppression” regarding the ratio of females to males in attendance.
“When I came in here, and I saw the sheer number of ladies compared to men and I asked, is it only ladies that are interested in parenting?”
He says parenting is a subject he’s familiar with.
“Linking parenting with nation building is a new approach for me.
“It is important for us to know the kind of nation we want to build. Truth and justice is an indication of the type of nation we want to build. If we want to build a nation that reflects truth and justice, we learn those things first.
“Truth and justice are not just concepts themselves, they reflect the way people relate with one another.
“When parents begin to have more than one child, there’s certain concept of behaviour. Every Child is inclined to seize the best part of anything to share. You have to teach them why it’s important to share. Sharing means you have to give up something.
“Do parents actually think of how satisfied they are in bringing up their children?
“You must be an example of the type of values you want your children to have.”
“Just loving your child is not enough. Taking care of your child is not enough.
“God gives us gifts because there’s a responsibility attached to it.
“We have a responsibility to bring up children. What that child becomes on future is heavily dependent on the way we do our parenting.
“All parents should be custodians of good behaviour. We are the ones God is depending on to build these kids into what they will become.”
12.03: Second speaker Mrs Amina Oyagbola speaking on “Imperatives of work-life balance”
The next speaker is Amina Oyagbola, HR/Corporate Services Executive at MTN Nigeria. She is to speak on the “Imperatives of Work-Life Balance”.
She says it is not easy to be a parent and get to the zenith of your profession at the same time.
She asks: “Are we working to live or are we living to work?”
“A lot of working parents, especially females, the schedules of work conflict with the schedule of school. I think work schedules are designed around men.
She says she was fortunate to have a partner who did the school runs because he was self-employed.
“But men cannot do school runs the way a mother does it. But I’m very grateful to him.”
She tells women to brand themselves appropriately as well as have an identity and a voice.
Don’t be afraid to ask for time to enable you attend to your children.
“We have to make our choice. The choice is still ultimately yours. Whatever choice you make you have to live with the consequences.
“In the early years of my career, I almost quit.
“I had three children. I was living in Satellite Town and working in Victoria Island.
“I just had a baby and I was the only senior management staff.
“I will wake up at 4am and cook for the children, breastfeed my baby.
“I’ll leave the house 5 am, drop off those that needed to be dropped off in school and take my new baby to my mum at Ikoyi.
“I don’t believe in excuses. I don’t believe in telling stories.
“I was also special assistant to the CEO so it means I cannot close until he closes. I’ll close, get to Ikoyi to breast feed my baby. One day I got home by 1 am and my husband said this is not sustainable. We had to take a decision to move to Dolphin Estate.”
She says she was working to get a new life, as well as to provide for her children.
“But what is the value of I’m not present in their life? We cannot as working women abdicate that responsibility under the guise that ‘I am working.’
“I give the credit to my husband because it was a team effort. I really cannot imagine how you can be a successful woman without a supportive spouse.
“But for the mentoring I received, I would have exited my career in 1994.
“Have I found work-life balance? My answer is that I am at peace with myself.”
She says that in retrospect, the easiest days as a parent were when they were toddlers.
Mrs. Oyagbola says there’s nothing wrong in taking a career break to stabilise your family.
“When you step out knowing you are taking a break, the mindset is different, knowing that it’s not terminal, that you are coming back.
“A good work life balance? I look forward to going home everyday because my home is my sanctuary. That is because my husband made it so, my children make it so.
“As a boss in the office, where I’m used to giving orders, I’m always conscious that it doesn’t extend to the home.
“When I get home, I know I’m entering a house where I’m a different kind of boss, where I have children who expect me to be a mother to them, not a supervisor.
“I pray that we find that work life balance.”
12.59: Ime Enang introducing the next speaker
13.01: My Ayodele Adeboye speaking on “parenting by example”
“I want to look at parenting from another angle. Doctor (Kolade) has talked about parenting and nation building, Amina has talked about work life balance.
“Essentially, children will copy what you do, not necessarily what you say.
“The guys who are malfunctioning in the public space didn’t learn better.
“My view is that you can’t be a better parent than you are as a person.”
He says he is speaking in the context of parenting by married people.
“If your right hand is your dominant hand, it represents your strengths and giftings, while the other hand represents your weaknesses, areas you’re not called to.
“If you are a mother acting as a father and doing a poor job of it, it’s because you are not gifted.
“You cannot be a good parent if you are not a good person.
“When you find that you are always at loggerheads with people, you need to ask yourself a question.
“You also can’t be a better parent than the marriage situation you are in.
“When parents are absent from home, nannies and other domestic help influence our children’s values, children are forced to grow up too fast; miss out on their childhood and balanced development.”
He says such children are very likely to see God in the same light as their absentee parents – absent.
He says he doesn’t believe that women are equal to men.
“Equal is a mathematical term that means one and the same. That can’t be true. Women are, rather, equivalent to men, which is that they are of equal value, not equal. They have different roles.
“Women, especially in this century, have proven that they can do those jobs that men used to do in the past as breadwinners, and do them even better.
“The best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. And the man has to be present to do that.
“As a parent, you must learn to take responsibility. If we don’t take responsibility, our children cannot take responsibility.”
14.01: Bola Odetokun, founder of Parental Resources & Initiatives, speaks on “Critical Life Values: Precursors in Nation Building and Living in the Diaspora”.
She says children should be taught to treat others as they would want to be treated and to go out of their way to show kindness.
“Teach your child that no one owes them anything, and to consider whatever they get or anything people do for them as a privilege and be thankful for it.
“We need to go back to those days of being kind and being generous.
“I have seen children behave as if the world revolves around them. Let’s teach our children to be grateful for life.
“Don’t allow a child to play the blame game. He/she needs to take responsibility for their choices and be ready to live with the consequences.
“Let them know it is okay to be standing alone as long as they are standing for the right thing. Majority is not always right.
“If your child is used to ‘everything is done by my mother,’ you are churning out a vagabond.”
14.16: Nimi Akinkugbe, the CEO of BestMan Games, is “unavoidably absent” but will, via video, speak on ‘Money Value and Children.’
She says the family and the home environment are where children grow up and are the key predictor of how children grow up.
“I hope we do all we can to protect our families,” she said.
“She says games such as Monopoly enables the family to come together and sit face to face.
“Families have a huge influence when they are cohesive.
“Our values influence our views, our decisions, and our behaviours.
“I do believe that bringing up children to develop a very healthy attitude about money is very important.”
“Even if you can afford everything that your children want, you’ve got to restrain yourself and avoid spoiling them.
“What do we owe our children? We owe our children the best education we can afford. What do we owe ourselves? We owe ourselves a comfortable retirement.”
We have come to the end of the session on “Parenting for Nation Building”.
Thank you for staying tuned.