In the modern parent, children have no role models
Growing up in an extended family was awesome. Every adult treated each child as his or her own. We as children knew every old person within our clan as rremogolo, malome mmamogolo, mmangwane, malome or rakgadi. Every one older than us was mogolle or nkonne. Our behaviour was modelled around those we lived under. The older people conducted themselves in a way that we all envied or wished for. Our whole system of upbringing revolved around being groomed into being good children and later good adults. Life then was simple and the society did not have any complicated systems to admonish or curb deviant behaviour. Adults themselves would want to live an exemplary life that we as children envied. Such were our village role models. In modern societies role models are basically seen as individuals within our midst, who provide some code of behaviour and set of values to be emulated. Such people are normally seen as essential for young people as they transition into adulthood. Such was life in the pre-independence society in which I grew up. In those days we had a great number of such exemplary characters whose life we all dreamt to emulate. We had good parents who strived hard to be role models for us their children by just being good people. All they wanted was being good parents. Good parenting was some kind of pride for our parents then. I can’t say the same of our people today. Most of us in the modern society do not seem interested in raising our children to be good citizens? Yes we have become part of the complex global village but we still have values and norms that define our present and past. What is the role of parents in child upbringing lately? The extended family system has collapsed and parenting has no bearing on the uncles, aunts, and the clan. According to the American Psychological Association “parenting practices around the world share three major goals: ensuring children’s health and safety, preparing children for life as productive adults and transmitting cultural values.” It is therefore my view that a good parent should strive to make good decisions in the best interest of the children. It is a fact that children watch everything that parents do carefully. Our parents and their parents before them might have not been as sophisticated as ourselves but they performed better than us in providing their children with good role models and good parenting. Some of the things we do today would be shunned in the olden days, with punitive measures. Take a walk in all the villages and hamlets in this country today, we have an alcohol problem amongst parents. Parents spend too much time at public bars and do not care when drinking mates the age of their children share a table or space with them. In our youth, it was a taboo for an adult to share a calabash of traditional beer with people younger than him. During the days I was growing up as a young boy, I never saw a drunken adult wobbling about in public. It is no wonder today’s children are difficult to control and tame as was the case in the past. Parenting and role models are no longer a part of our adult population. Remember “e gata ha ya pele e gatileng teng.” We are a dead society.