Unfit parents

02 May 2013

The recent call for Government to reintroduce Bible studies in the country’s schools is troubling on many levels.


The ostensible reason given for the reintroduction of Bible studies is that it will help to stem the decay in moral and religious values.

The whole argument is absurd and typical of the self-hatred colonialism has inculcated in us, to the extent that we unwittingly denigrate our own cultural heritage.

Firstly, it suggests that we as Africans had no moral or societal values prior the introduction of Christianity and the Bible.

This means that we accept the white racist argument that until Abraham and Christian Albrecht brought Christianity to Namibia in 1805, we were all savages and barbarians.

The most troubling aspect of the Bible studies debate however is that we as Namibians increasingly want to abdicate responsibility for our own lives.

We demand that the State must take responsibility for providing us with a livelihood and jobs, and now we even want the State to take responsibility for parenting our children.

We don’t want to take responsibility for the unhealthy lifestyles we often lead, our failure to remain faithful to our partners, our reckless sexual behaviour, irresponsible management of our own finances or our own sometimes dishonest behaviour.

Everything is always someone else’s fault, never our own fault.

It has become increasingly common to see people in leadership positions such as politicians, managers and CEOs spend their entire working lives trying to avoid having to take decisions because it might land them in trouble.

That is not leadership, but the very antithesis of leadership.

This country desperately cries out for leadership, not only in our political life and the workplace but also in the home.

We seem to want a ‘Nanny State’ that runs every aspect of our lives from cradle to the grave.

We somehow hope this will give us the freedom to lead the carefree lives of children, with no responsibility or accountability so we can dedicate ourselves to a life of pleasure and self-indulgence.

Even when we have the financial capacity, we don’t want to pay for the education of our own children but feel that should be the responsibility of someone else.

The most fundamental duty we have when we bring a life into this world is to raise that child to become a responsible, independent, self-sufficient, law-abiding human being with a strong sense of civic duty and high moral values.

We have a right to expect efficient services from our politicians and public servants because we pay them handsomely from our hard-earned tax dollars in the expectation that they will deliver those services.

However, we have no right to expect some things from the State.

The obligation to bring up our children to become responsible, well-rounded citizens is not something we can pass of on to the church, the State or anyone else.

It requires taking personal responsibility and a very much hands-on approach.

Let’s be clear about one thing. When our children misbehave at school or beat up teachers it is not because of a lack of Bible studies, but because of poor parenting at home.

When our children go off the rails and become juvenile delinquents, start breaking into houses, engage in other criminal activities or become drug addicts or alcoholics we have no one else to blame but ourselves.

If the parents have failed in the home, no amount of Bible bashing or even a degree in theology can compensate for the lack of loving care and guidance parents should give a child.

To have a child is not a right but a God-given gift, and this gift comes with responsibilities.

If you are not ready to take up the responsibilities of caring for, raising and providing for a child rather refrain from having one and keep that condom on.

The true mark of adulthood in all societies is the readiness and capacity to take responsibility for raising children. The phenomenon of children having children, child-like adults having children or adults who are frankly unfit having children is a widespread problem in our society.

The long queues outside maintenance court, the neglect of children that live without adequate food or clothing and child-abuse are clear testimony to how many of us are unfit for parenthood.

The most basic requirement for raising a child is love, and no parents can hope to raise a well-adjusted and emotionally stable child without a loving environment in the home.

Love also means devoting time and taking an interest in your child’s upbringing and development.

Unfortunately, in the rat race of modern life where parents spend most of their time in desperate attempts to accumulate more and more material wealth, devoting time to their children becomes the first casualty.



The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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