1.1 Background to the Study
Parenting involves the process of nurturing and building up the physical, emotional, social, intellectual and moral life of a child from infancy to adulthood. Proper parenting is therefore, an integral part of transferring social norms to, and raising responsible citizens among, younger generations. This explains why the Old Testament aptly links proper parenting to a healthy and well-organized society (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). However, poor parenting has become a common, universal problem that threatens the well-being and survival of contemporary societies. More-so, several other social problems that are rampart in the modern era are by-products of the problem of poor parenting. Yet, the Bible is a rich source of good parenting models. Particularly, the Old Testament writings contain patterns of parenting that tend towards raising children who are wholesome individuals and who go on to ensure a healthy society. This goes on to reveal God’s intention to build human societies that are devoid of corruption, indiscipline and violence. Furthermore, it lays the foundation for each individual member of the family and society to be humane, patriotic and constructive.
Currently in the Nigerian society, there is a general decline in the standard of morality among the citizenry and President Goodluck E. Jonathan in Ombe (2012) attributed the problem to the lack of right attitude to issues and realities of life among the citizenry. Even-though this ugly trend of moral depravity and negative outlook to life cuts across the age groups, Okoye (2012) maintains that it is more ravaging
among the youths in Nigeria. The implication is that young people are at the centre of the high and increasing levels of social vices such as prostitution, armed robbery, corruption and general insecurity. This point is also buttressed by Mariety (2009) who observes that the youths in Nigeria are involved, and in most cases in the vanguard, of violent conflicts that have occurred in different parts of the country in recent times. This primarily implies that the major problem with the Nigerian society is structural in the sense that something is apparently going wrong at the home front and the nation is feeling its effects in terms of youth dysfunction and depravity, which dovetails into various other social and moral problems. The bigger effect of this problem leads to the observation of Nwabueze in Edike (2013) that Nigeria is on the verge of becoming a failed state. According to him,
This country is on the verge of becoming a failed state, there are so many failed states in Africa and Nigeria is on the verge of getting that status of a failed state. Before now, we did not know about kidnapping, but it has become a way of life. Did we know about bombings before? But today, churches, schools, offices are being bombed on daily basis, the worst is that the bombers are not coming from outside the country, we are bombing ourselves. A nation that cannot provide a credible election for her people is a failed state; in 2003, 2011 we had no credible elections, yet we are talking about democracy. A country that cannot secure social and economic rights for her people is a failed state. Read chapter 2 of Nigeria’s constitution and you will understand what I am taking about, they are not leaders but looters.
On the strength of the foregoing, this work argues that despite the fact that so many other factors contribute to the increase in the tide of crime, immorality and general dysfunction among the youths, the problem of poor parenting is highly fundamental. This stems from the observation that whatever one sees in the larger society is a reflection of what goes on in the family. In other words, although the
researcher acknowledges other causes of the unfortunate culture of wanton waste and impunity but this study pitches its tent with poor parenting. The major factor in taking this position is orchestrated by the manner of child upbringing, which is being referred to here as poor parenting. By extension, this means that there is a slack in parenting today and as a result, certain un-cherished behaviours are fast becoming the culture of the people. This view is buttressed by Azu (2012:1) who observes:
With the prevailing situation in Nigeria the country is in dire need of innovative parenting to raise outstanding children and rebuild it. It has been established that poor parenting is at the heart of the numerous challenges facing the society today: be it economic, social or political.
Arising from this development, the major institution that is responsible for raising children and building the youth is the family. More-so, within the family the only process that facilitates the proper upbringing of children and inculcating values that make them constructive citizens is parenting. Thus, considering the place of proper parenting in national development, this work undertook to examine the problems associated with parenting. This is because proper parenting is a fundamental strategy to ensuring a peaceful and stable society. In other words, in any society where there is a culture of right parenting, there is a viable and enterprising future for that society. In accomplishing the task of this study, the Old Testament model of parenting is analysed with the hope of identifying its strong areas and using them to recommend changes in contemporary parenting patterns while hoping to transform modern day society into a peaceful, stable and cohesive haven.
1:2 Statement of Problem
In the Nigerian society, there is an apparent show of lawlessness and resilient display of various social vices. This ugly trend does not in any way suggest that it is a recent development. For a long time, the culture of lawfulness, accountability, responsibility and social integration was short-changed for mediocre values and many factors are being blamed for the down turn of events in Nigeria. Even though the list is endless, some of them include, the ever-increasing rise in unemployment, corruption in the leadership class, lop-sidedness in the distribution of national resources, political and administrative positions, ineptitude and the disregard of the principles of rule of law among the ruling class.