Holidays : Time For New Skills

Students and pupils are back with their parents after nine months of hard work in school. Three months of break which they are expected to stay at home are often not so easy to manage. Even parents who sent their children to day schools still find hurdles going through the holiday period either because the daily follow up which they are expected to ensure for the growth of the kids is usually not simple to tackle or because they have their preoccupations which are bound to face modification to cope with the children staying at home all day.      
In some circumstances, children on holidays are often sent to meet their grandparents and learn values that build their sense of belonging to their various communities. Such initiatives have at times clashed with estrange perceptions, real or imaginary, which hold that custodians of traditional ethos are infested with witchcraft practices which could expose the innocent kids to danger. Parents are even the first to avoid going to their villages where such suspicion is rife. With such growing ideologies, local customs have suffered utter degradation and even erosion. Children guided by such philosophies are forced to spend most of their vacation either watching television, playing games on computers or serving on the internet for foreign models and norms. 
Even worse is when parents are running busy schedules both leaving the house so early and returning late for professional reasons or bound to struggle to meet social responsibilities. In such cases, the children are either left to fend for themselves, depend on electronic gadgets or peer groups for their upbringing. There are cases where the parents deliberately go for what they call modern trends by making sure that the children stay away from traditional habits that parents deem obnoxious. A priori, it is not wrong to protect children from bad practices. But gradually a lot of values which mark our African character are being side-lined for even more deplorable foreign models which in the final analysis leave the continent at dangerous cross-roads with virtually no identity. 
An immediate consequence of such a lifestyle has been that any time the others cough, Africa is obliged to catch a cold. How else could one understand the fact that the absence of wheat from Ukraine due to war with Russia would justify all skyrocketing prices across Africa. So what have we been learning in schools for decades since independence that local solutions are so difficult to hatch in the face of challenges back in our various countries. Roasted cocoyam, maize, plum and other local dishes kept most grandparents healthy and stronger. Suddenly, all of that has given way to bread made from wheat even when local substitutes do exist.  
To deconstruct such a mind-set will require another type of education. Certainly, that is easier said than done. Most parents are already so engulfed by the so-called modern lifestyles that they hardly find time to initiate their off springs into their local identity.  Not only are several valuable aspects of our traditions made to look inferior, they are generally being relegated to the background even when their cost-effectiveness is so glaring to everyone. Take the simple example of tying food in plantain leaves, building houses using local material and so on. Structures built with such materials have survived generations yet no official policy exist in most countries across the continent to valorise such construction materials. 
Socialisation values may have had its weakness, like any aspect of human existence, but all said and done, they might tend out to be the best way to go even if the invading presence of globalisation is there for all to see. Cases abound where children sit at home but prefer to communicate more with friends and acquaintances thousands of kilometres away even to the detriment of their family cohesion. Parents have even been known to spend huge sums sending children to school without taking into consideration the need for family unity only to be surprised that once such kids cross the ocean, they only relate with their parent financially or simply go after the trappin...



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