“Nigeria… we hail thee!” Who doesn’t love this country? Even some of those that have plundered its revenue in the past love the country and wish things were different. I love Nigeria, even if I do not totally agree with every decision that has been taken by its leaders, past and present. The great respect and love for this land overflowing with milk and honey (and cucumbers, lol) is what has made it possible for me to still choose to be addressed as a Nigerian. However, if your love for this nation begins and ends with you, then you’re not as patriotic as you probably believe you are. Your kids must be made to feel this same thing.
Yes, even with all the short-comings, emergencies and insurgency, you can grant your kids an objective view about thiscountry. This view will most likely stick around through these temporary circumstances until the nation gradually transforms into that which we all collectively envision. It is equally vital to note that the speed with which this transformation will take place also depends on how strongly we desire for it to happen and how much (or little) we as individuals are contributing towards the actualization of the transformation of this country we all call ours whether at home or in diaspora.
One way you can contribute towards building this nation up is by instilling a patriotic mindset or love for this nation into your kids. Those who will succeed you when you’re no longer here, do they feel it is worthwhile to uphold this country? Or will they do everything within their powers to tarnish its image. The United States of America which thousands of our professionals migrate to annually was just a country like ours, with founding fathers that had collective visions which they successfully passed on to those that took over from them. Those ideals have sustained the U.S. till this day.
It is important to instill in our children a love for this country as well. Patriotic children will grow into patriotic adults. They will feel compelled to act and make necessary changes, great and small, to better this country and the lives of those who live in it. This article offers some simple suggestions on raising patriotic children.
1. FLY THE NIGERIAN FLAG
So many Nigerian homes have the Stars and Stripes flag of the United States of America. A few others even have the Ghanaian national flag. As a truly patriotic Nigerian, you must put up one big green white green alongside too! The Nigerian flag is a symbol of your child’s identity and pride. You might even choose to put up a map of the country somewhere in your home.
2. DON’T LEAVE YOUR KIDS AT HOME DURING VOTING.
Yeah, an individual under 18 cannot vote but please take your kid along to the polling center. Make them understand what elections and voting is all about, and the significance of our choices on national development.
3. CREATE ROOM FOR POLITICAL DEBATES AND INTERACTION AT HOME
Stimulate their minds by making them express their opinions on a wide range of issues related to politics and nation building. Not only will you help them stay up-to-date on current events, but it will also teach them how to tolerate the opposing views of others.
4. GET A COPY OF THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION FOR YOUR FAMILY
You don’t want your kids groping out there without a single clue as to their rights and privileges as Nigerian citizens. Even though we’re quite familiar how little attention are paid to these rights in reality, knowing them is vital. It also helps to keep menof the Nigerian police force in check.
5. CELEBRATE NATIONAL DATES
Treat October 1 (Independence Day), May 27 (Children’s Day), May 29 (Democracy Day) and any other important moments in the country as a period of celebration and reflection. Make your kids feel the value and the true importance such moments hold.
Encouraging kids to love this country may be the biggest step we can take to secure the future of this nation. When there is patriotism, citizens will not discuss about secession or marginalization. We want our kids to be great in future, to maybe become the President of Nigeria someday. It is your duty to train him or her to be patriotic so as to fit that capacity in due time.