Ghana: Lessons Derived From the Discussions of Comprehensive Sexuality Education

15 October 2019

When you see a little bird dancing in the middle of the pathway, you must know that its drummer and protector is in the nearby busy. The current raging nationwide discussion as to whether or not to implement the Comprehensive Sexuality Educationin our First Cycle educational institutionshas been quite interesting.

The passion with which ordinary people, religious and traditional leaders and organised groups have spoken gives me a sense of hope, relief and satisfaction. The satisfaction is not whether the drivers of the agenda were misunderstood or attempted to lie or mislead Ghanaians.

At the end of the day, the youth and children of Ghana, who in my opinion have seemingly been neglected for a while now, have suddenly become the centre of great concern to us all.

Thus,it gladdens my heart that, society has woken up to its natural, fundamental and Godlyroleof protector to protecting the youth and children.

In a previously closely knit community where I grew up, a child belonged to the entire community. Discipline of a naughty child was not the sole prerogative of thebiologicalparents only but rested enviably on the shoulders of the entire community.

A child who misbehaved will forever be grateful to you if you disciplined him without reporting him/her to his parents. A report would have invoked additional punishment. The economistwill callit"double counting".

However, in our so-called "modern" Ghana, try advising a niece or a nephew for something he has done wrong. Your brother or sister, together with your niece or nephew will launch a project of hatred against you and you will forever regret poking your smelly nose into a "strictly private affair"."Leave my child alone, every body's child does that", they will say.

It is, therefore, very common to hear elders take a short hop to the conclusionthat these days' youth or children are very disrespectful and indisciplined. Like it or not, that is the bitter unequivocal truth. Listen to call-in sessions of any radio station with wide listenership. For the professionalism of radio station hosts, it will be buffet of daily insults. Youth insult elders with the impudence of a dying cockroach.

The rate at which politicians, revered religious leaders and respected traditional rulers are bashed daily is so alarmingly distasteful. Let's halt it because it breaks themoralfabrics of our society.

People were celebrated for their achievement in their chosen fields; education, politics, religion, sports, music or even dancing skills. I used to celebrate myself as a good dancer until I tried Michael Jackson's backsliding. My legs will not slide back however much I tried so I gave up. Good dancers were celebrated.

The scale has been lowered. The easiest way to become a celebrity now is to shamelessly master few insults, call into a radio station, target any respected person in society and deliver the insults eloquently with great clarity, precision and vengeance. Nude or profane persons whose senses are not working coherently andin fact, need urgent psychiatric help are being celebrated. Real achievement is now undervalued and over politicized. What is society doing about that?

Where does the buck of indiscipline stop, with children and the youth? NO, NOT AT ALL. A fish starts getting spoilt from the head, elders will say. I must say that there are instances where parents and society have failed in modelling a child despite all concerted efforts but that used to be the exception rather than the norm. In my opinion, societal, cultural and religious values are crumbling because, predominantly parents and the society at large have abandoned children, left to the vagaries of the menacing foreign culture and they learn the lurks and perks.

Thus, many Parents, religious leaders and traditional rulers are no more role models. Some of their actions and inactions have turned conventional wisdom upside down. The senses of integrity, appreciation, moral values and objectivity are being blurred by the desire to be rich, and rich quickly irrespective of the mode of acquisition. Society, erroneously, concludes that material things are the prime indicator of God's favour, so mankind has become mentally subservient to greed.

Take trotro from Madina to Kasoa and you will hear the gargantuan falsehood from people you would have respected in the absence of a mobile phone. While the person is still in Madina, he is lying to the other side of the telephone that he is at Lapaz and will be with him in 10 minutes. I have been tempted to recommend to Huawei and other phone producers to install a lie detector on every phone.

Take for example the number of chiefs who have violated the constitution and are actively involved in party politics. In our form of democracy, politics is about insults and peddling transparent untruth to each other. A chief who gets involved in party politics is thus inviting the inevitable to himself. Elders have it that an arrogant person does not sit by the roadside else children will hoot at him/her.

We often use the need for settlingbills and property acquisition as reasons for our busy life style. If care is not taken, we will in future have houses, bricks and sand, chemically mixed with super strong cement, without being homes and no sane person to inherit us.

One would have thought that the more educated or religious we are as a country, the better society we become. It appears we may be wrong. Education and foolishness can sometimes be comfortable, inseparable and romantically be on the same bed. The two are not eternal enemies as we think so let's educate our children and inculcate into them our moral values.

Children are left to the care of maidservants whom, sometimes, are themselves teenagers and need guidance. The services of maids are inevitable but children, just like our precious gold, should not be left entirely to maids and house boys. In some cases, both parents are physically present in the house but are busy whatsapping to the detriment of their children.

A typical irresponsible parent is one who pays only school fees and does not have the time to go through the home work of the child. Can we legislate a compulsory daily minimum one-hour conversation/supervision between parents, both mother and father, if still together, and their children?

Their performance will be monitored by their children and any parent who progressively fails will be made to do communal service. Can it work? Please do not intimidate or bribe the children not to report.

The biggest monster among the problems we have as a nation, arguably, is our lack of understanding of the concept of God. If we have a combination of about 20% of good Christians, good Muslims and traditional religious people in Ghana, the nation will develop. Corruption, unclean Ghana and all the vices in the Ghanaian society are spelt out succinctly in our religious books. The endless forgiveness and mercy of Allah as being preached are over emphasized at the expense of God's fairness to everyone. Until we blend the forgiveness, mercy and blessings of Allah with our conscience we will continue to misunderstand Allah and corruption and other vices will be our perpetual bed follows.

Poverty gravitates towards where Satan plays his music. In most cases a beggar has no choice. If in Ghana we are able to significantly reduce or cut the financial umbilical cord that connects international donors to our budget, we would emancipate ourselves. The president's philosophy of Ghana Beyond Aid may be laughable or seem politically correct. However, if you aggregate the cash that goes down the drain into the humble monstrous hands of corruption,you will have no option than to be persuaded that such cash if saved will be transformational to the economy; and the dream is achievable.

Few years ago, my humble wife gave my first ever Father's Day present to our one-year-old son to present to me. Permit me to share:

Daddy's footsteps

"Walk a little slower Daddy", said a child so small. "I am following in your footsteps and I don't want to fall. Sometimes your steps are very fast, sometimes they are hard to see; so walk a little slower, Daddy for you are leading me. Someday when I'm all grown up, you're what I want to be, then I will have a little child who will want to follow me. And I would want to lead just right, and know that I was true; so walk a little slower Daddy for I must follow you"

If we fail to walk slowly for our children to follow, we have our selves to blame. If we fail to nurture, develop, extend and deepen the understanding of our culture, societal and religious values among our children, the devil will proactively fill in the lacuna to teach them evolution, comprehensive sexuality, psychology, satanic body physiology and witchcraft. Allah forbid!

Arimeyaw Ibn Sueed

Accountant-CSIR

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