Tomorrow’s patriotic adults

Tomorrow’s patriotic adults

Many years ago, when Ghana became independent, taking on the true identity of a Ghanaian was actually recognised as something that needed to be constructed through projects that were instituted.

In his book “Living with Nkrumahism”, Jeffrey Ahlman explains how pedagogic experience was the major strategy employed to instil the mindset and attitude of independence into the hearts and minds of Ghanaians. Institutions such as the Builder’s Brigade, Young Pioneers and Trade Unions were set up to train youth and workers ideologically in patriotism and nation-building character.

This effort was deliberate and targeted because of the importance of patriotism to nation-building.

Compulsory courses

In some countries, courses such as Civics and History are compulsory subjects in high school. The ultimate goal is to achieve informed patriotism.

To be a patriot means to wholeheartedly love and sincerely support one’s country of origin and its interests. A patriot is, therefore, someone who drips with loyalty to his motherland, seeks her welfare and is committed to kith and kin. This is evident by how this patriot works for the development of the motherland.

On the occasion of Ghana’s 67th independence anniversary, it is worth reflecting on what deliberate efforts we are putting in as a nation to raise tomorrow’s adults who ultimately must be patriotic and committed to Ghana’s development. Will today’s children be patriotic at all?

What difference will today’s national investments make in their lives tomorrow?

Today’s children are saddled with many peculiar challenges that threaten to rob them of a sense of belonging and personal identity.

Challenges

These challenges include exposure to social media, where the temptation to borrow other alien cultures and adopt certain strange values and lifestyles is so rife. 

In those days when children were to be seen and not heard, it was rare to even sit in a common room with adults and engage them.

Though this practice had its own downside, it did maintain a culture of respect, where there was a clear distinction between an adult and a child.

Today’s child is privileged to enjoy common (social media) platforms with adults in a space where the lines are totally blurred. Our kind world and respect for all, especially adults, is gradually becoming unpopular. It is much easier to be rude and insensitive whilst shaming people who disagree with us or we disagree with. This is unfortunately common on radio, social media platforms, etc., regardless of one’s age or status - a thing which would be hard to do if we had to look the person in the eyes.

Our children are not only learning this incivility, but some are actually adopting this behaviour of total disrespect for even persons placed in government positions. As a nation, we witnessed this when some students made a viral video displaying their brazen spirit of rudeness toward the gentleman occupying the highest office.

Sadly, incivility is an infection that affects witnesses significantly. And so children exposed to this behaviour, whether from adults or other children, will imbibe these too.

As children start school, and they begin to understand moral values whilst learning essential skills, schools must provide them with civic education deliberately from this young age.

These formative years are key to the development of the foundation for building the pride and sense of duty they need for their motherland and citizens.

As they say, patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion (or the mere celebration of a significant day as a holiday), but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. (Adlai Stevenson II)

If the pedagogic strategies (bereft of any politicking) at the time of Ghana’s independence worked. What extra efforts do we have to put in today, considering the challenges of this age?

The writer is a Child Development expert/Fellow at Zero-to-three Academy; USA
E-mail: [email protected]

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