Educators who have sound knowledge of the pedagogy of education would agree with me that children learn from practice and experience. No wonder proven educational philosophies such as Montessori lays emphasis on a prepared environment for learning. Therefore, children will be developed to exude love in interpersonal relationships if they are raised in environments where love is encouraged and practised and they are exposed to experiences outside their immediate environments where love is expressed and hate is discouraged.
There were many admirable features of the olden days’ communities where people appreciably found peace with themselves and accommodated strangers with love. Two are discussed below.
- Children observed and participated in actions that depicted care and love for domestic animals. It was common to acquire chicks and have each child take the responsibility of caring for and nurturing one to maturity. I can still remember my little friends then crying when their chickens or goats were slaughtered during festive periods. Some would have so cared for such animals that they would actually refuse to eat from such meals because of the affinity they establish with them. Such natural resources were helpful for emotional and intellectual development of children. Children were also privileged to acquire skills that could be commercialised in their adult lives.
- Most children were available to care for their old grandparents and other aged relations in their neighbourhood. Caring was indeed a way of life which children effortlessly imbibed. There were enough activities, events and practices that etched care and love for nuclear and extended family member deeply in the minds of children. We should recall that parental guidance was almost always available since aged grandparents were around even when young parents were busy with economic and other activities. Children did not have access to violence and hate-infested media reports and electronic resources.
Parents are now facing a lot of challenges in the area of developing children to love and care for other people because the social, economic and political environments are getting quite confusing and hatred prone.
Parents who are passionate and committed to giving their children their best should therefore not toy with the ‘prepared environment’ concept and accept the fact that they should create time to be available to guide their children properly. Parents who are busy with their career should take time to select child-care centers and schools that have what it takes in terms of educational philosophy, physical and well-monitored managerial structures to establish and sustain the right ‘prepared environment’ for proper child development emotionally, intellectually, socially, spiritually and physically. It is advisable for parents to spend holiday periods with their children or be sure to conduct proper integrity check of people and environment in any intending holiday home before releasing children to spend holiday periods outside the home. Children should not be allowed access to hate-infested materials, groups and activities.
The olden days’ traditional parenting environment was rich with natural learning resources on love. This is no longer obtainable in our environment of today. Parents are therefore now challenged to be available and establish strategies to provide the right love-enriched environment for proper development of children.
-Uchenna N. Nduka