By Rev Fr Alfred Anagboso
God made us in his image/likeness and women specially endowed:
- Women are both successful as: homemakers, as well as professionals, academicians, bureaucrats, politicians. Agriculturalists/industrialists.
- 5 global roles: caregivers, conscience, farmers, educator, entrepreneurs.
- 10 important roles of women, performs the role of: wife, partner, organizer, administrator, director,, re-creator, disburser, economists, mother, disciplinarian, teacher, health officer, artists, and queen in….
- 3 traditional roles of women: lady of the house/home manager, family care taker, focus on the children and their happiness.
- Woman dignity consist of 3 things: self-respect, respect of others and full responsibility for ones actions
How can a woman maintain her dignity? This can be done by setting boundaries and asserting her self-worth. When you allow your dignity to be compromised, the family suffers
“The family is in crisis” is a commonly heard phrase these days. The family, if care is not seriously taken, is in danger of becoming obsolete. That is why parents are being urged by the fathers of the second Vatican Council to wake up to their responsibility:
Because parents have given life to their children, they are seriously obliged to educate them and, therefore, they are the first and primary educators. This duty, that is, educating the members of all the family, is so important that, when it is lacking, it can hardly be sustained. It is then, an obligation of the parents to create an atmosphere in the family integratily personal and social education.
The family, for that reason, is the first school for social human virtues, which all societies need. Above all, in the christian family, enriched by grace through the sacrament and the duties of marriage, the children should learn from their early years to know, to feel and to worship God, and to love their neighbours according to the faith received in baptism.
Training in moral values
I strongly believe that all parents would like their children to be orderly, generous, sincere, responsible, obedient, respectful, etc. But there is a big difference between a vague wish and a planned goal which is, to some extent at least, achievable.
If training children in moral values is going to get off the ground, parents have to make a genuine, purposeful commitment to it. To be specific, it is for parents to look after their children’s development in moral values – the development of good habits and qualities. They should not make the mistake of thinking that it is valid for them to delegate this noble job to the schools their children attend.
Bearing in mind that each family is different and that each child and each parent need different attention, it is important to briefly look at a layout of virtues or values by age level, keeping in mind the basic features of each age level and the nature of the values/virtues themselves.
David Isaacs (1984) gave the following divisions:
1″ division-up to 7 years old
The virtues or values to be inculcated into children at this age category are obedience, sincerity and orderliness.
Until they are seven, children scarcely have the use of reason and therefore the best they can do is to obey their educators and try to fulfil this duty with affection. Obedience is produced by parents making reasonable demands. They should be encouraged and taught to obey out of love, and not out of fear.
At the same time, parents should develop in them the virtue of sincerity, the virtue of orderliness. They are to be taught to be orderly in organizing things, using time, carrying out activities, without having to be constantly reminded.
2nd division, from 8 to 12 years old
The values/virtues to be imparted to children within this age category include fortitude, perseverance, industriousness, patience, responsibility, justice, and generosity.
Children at these age bracket undergo a series of biological changes with the arrival of puberty, and it is very desirable for them to develop their will, so as to strengthen their character.
All these values/virtues call for the use of the will. They have to do with “putting up with annoying things”, with “continually making an effort to give to other”, to “attain what they set out to achieve,” to “resist evil influences,” etc.
It might seem that these are rather a lot of virtues to be developing at the same time; but they are inter-connected. Where a child focuses on one or two of them he is likely to improve also in the others.
3rd division: from 13 to 15 years old
The values/virtues to be considered at this stage are modesty, moderation, simplicity, sociability, friendship, respect and patriotism.
The first three virtues are linked with temperance. It is important to emphasize these values at this time when children of these ages are becoming greater aware of their own intimacy. The purpose behind this is to help them keep goodness in sight and not let their passions go out of control.
4th division: from 16 to 18 years old
The values/virtues that need to be imbibed at this age level include prudence, flexibility, understanding, loyalty, audacity, humility and optimism.
The first virtues we emphasize for this age level are based on the ability to reason things out intelligently; in other words, it is almost impossible to develop virtues fully without certain intellectual capacity. I am referring to the virtues of prudence, flexibility,
Understanding and also loyalty and humility.
The content of the catechetical instruction is: prayers, sacraments and the word of god.
“Parents above’ others are to form their children in the faith and practice of the christian life by word and example”. (canon 7742~2 of code of canon law).
It is the duty of parents to form their children in the faith by teaching them how to pray, by praying with them, and by attending prayer meetings with them. Such Prayers you need to teach your children at home before sending them to catechism classes or sunday school. Prayers such as the Sign of the Cross, Our Father; Hail Mary, I believe in God; glory be to the father; Grace before and after meals, the Angelus, etc.
Sex is an important and normal human activity. This is because it is not only the means by which human beings reproduce themselves, it also marks the transition from child hood to adulthood.
Sex is a favourite topic for discussion. It arouses so much interest and curiosity among people of all ages whenever it is mentioned. This is why several newspapers and magazines in this country devote much attention and space to issues related to sex. They look forward to wide readership by carrying tantalizing headlines on sex or adorning their pages with suggestive pictures of half-nude and beautiful ladies.
It is unfortunate that some parents, educators and religious leaders believe that the best way to keep young people pure and clean is to keep them ignorant of sex. The truth is that sexual experimentation is highest among persons who have not had proper sexual instruction. Sexual curiosity can and do create problems.
Role of parents
In the light of the foregoing discussions, parents have a grave obligation to give comprehensive sex education to their children. They can do this in a number of ways.
First, remove the myths surrounding sex. Parents should feel free to discuss sex with their children, particularly, their adolescents. Sex is no longer a mystery. It is discussed openly by the mass media. Therefore if parents fail to educate their children in the matter, they will learn from magazines, newspapers, television, motion pictures, and from their peers.
Secondly, be aware of the physical changes in your adolescent boys and girls. These physical and biological changes generates interest in sex. Parents should ask them questions about their sexual feelings; share ideas and information with them; help them to adjust to their sex life.
Thirdly, emphasize the goodness of sex. Parents should not make their children have a bad conception of sex as something evil or dangerous. The first point that had to be made is that sex was ordained by god for the purpose of reproduction and not for immoral enjoyment. It is meant for only married people.
Fourthly, teach them to sublimate their sexual desire. By sublimation, I mean that a person converts his or her drives and desires into acceptable outlets; that one engages in productive work as a substitute for the satisfaction of sexual desires. For examples, you may teach your child to convert his or her sexual urge into something else that will absorb their interest such as gardening, writing, tennis or religious work.
Fifthly, provide adequate information on sex matters. By so doing, parents will assist their children to maintain emotional stability. Such information will help to minimize some of the hazards that go with sexual relationships. It will prevent unnecessary worries and anxieties; it will help them adopt the correct attitude towards heterosexual relationships with members of the opposite sex.
They should be made aware of the dangers associated with premarital sex. They should be encouraged also to discuss sex related matters with their parents.
A woman of dignity should be a model for the growing youth by correct dress code and inspiring actions.
Rev. Fr. Aniagboso, Dean, Nimo Deanary Writes from Nimo