I have always said that Knowledge is a critical resource for victory at any level. Knowledge is the foundation of intelligence. And intelligence is required for any level of warfare regardless of the kind. Knowledge is more than important. It takes you beyond where you can ever imagine, it reduces your error rate, it keeps you safe and helps you maximize your greatest potential. Knowledge is the take off point of any kind of value. In the 2000s, knowledge is the essential tool for managing complexities. Because when complexities are intensified, there is always a greater and greater demand on knowledge. Equally, the greatest challenge of society is the family institution. And the family institution has suffered consistently all through history simply because the children of yesterday who lacked adequate upbringing are now the adults of today and will create the children of today and the adults of tomorrow, and the vicious cycle continues.
So, ignorance is the common ingredient all through generations. But note that this ignorance is not the ignorance of all things but the ignorance of key things. Just as we do not need a bunch of keys to open a door but the right key, so we do not need the knowledge of all things to organize the society. Instead, we need the knowledge of key things; and the family is key. The crisis of the family is the crisis of the nation and the crisis of the nation is the crisis of the family. And if there is any tool that weakens the potential to build great families, it is the place of correction. If you ask me, what is the one thing that if you can learn, can increase your capacity and potential for success in building a great family? What can increase your success potential by almost 70% as far as building a family is concerned? I believe the answer will be: correction. You see, misbehavior is a constant and error is nature. Perfect behaviour eludes humanity so much that even you as a full blown adult sometimes still misbehaves and makes clear mistakes. Our individual and collective peace must not; I repeat must not be tied to perfect behaviour since none of us can be perfect. If this is true, correction also becomes critical to manage a reality as constant as imperfect behaviour. If you lack the skill to administer correction, you will be miserable, frustrated and depressed.
All through history, families have never been destroyed until they get the correction skill wrong. Now, there is this terrible assumption that punishment is correction. Punishment is never correction. Correction is a skill while punishment is an imbalance in nature in that any fool can punish. You don’t need formal training to know how to punish, you only need to be born; but you need education and training for you to know how to correct; it is not a gift of nature. It is a skill that must be learnt. While everybody can sleep for example and anyone can determinedly wake up at a particular time, to perform surgery, you need more than determination. Determination without skill in the surgery theatre is murder…clean murder and an honest and sincere jail term. Determination to correct without skill in the home is a vice. The goal of punishment is to acknowledge your hurt and to share the pain of your hurt with the offender. It does not by any means transform. On the other hand, the goal of correction is to bring the offender to a human state of acknowledgement of error, remorse, and to govern behaviour in a way that transforms the offender and blesses both his immediate environment and society at large.
Studies have shown that over 90% of parents never correct in their lifetime, they only punish. The reason they don’t correct is simply that they don’t know how.. See, “The plaster should be no wider than the sore.” It’s as simple as that. Punishment never fits the offense and never governs behaviour. To achieve that, actions must be carefully thought out before they are stated or applied, and even then it will be necessary to modify and refine them as they are being used. That’s correction and that takes learning. In the following example, I illustrate how correction and consequences should be selected, applied, and enforced, and describe the principles of behaviour upon which the procedure is based.
Correction demands that we make the decision of whether we want to be right or we want to progress. Punishment underscores how right you are, but correction creates transformation and progress. Now, a 10-year-old boy has been leaving his bike lying in the driveway. His parents frequently have to stop their car, get out and move the bike, then get back in the car and drive into the garage. Not only is this annoying, but a less careful or alert driver might hit or run over the bike. A punisher will give the boy a piece of his mind, a good scolding, a heavy dose of logic, a spanking, and the pronouncement that “If I ever see that bike lying in the driveway again, you won’t see it for a month—if you ever see it again!”. See, this action is obviously worse behaviour than leaving the bike in the driveway.The better way is to decide in advance exactly what the boy is expected to do with his bike. This is correction. It might be as simple as having him put his bike on the lawn, against the house, beside the porch, or out of the way in the garage. This then becomes the expectation of the boy’s behavior. Knowing in advance the expectations of his behavior is fair and is of primary importance.
Next, the parents must decide how to state their expectation to the boy so he fully understands it, and can demonstrate that he understands it! This is best accomplished in a simulation or role playing exercise. But on this altar of punishment, families have been ruined, children wrongly programmed to become malfunctioning adults and society is always the victim. I hope i’ve helped a bit.
The wisdom in human exchange is to understand that all relationships require work. Peace has a price. And prejudice has a cost. But those who must see and experience value must know that harmony and cohesion does not just occur. They take time, patience, and two people who are willing to put in the effort. Today, I want to share the things I believe your marriage and your family needs from you. Note that I’m not talking to a couple now. No. I’m talking to you alone. You are enough to create a turnaround in your home. I’m talking to you as the husband or the wife. Then, I’m also talking to those hoping to occupy either of these two offices soon. I’m talking to you alone.
Victory is personal, and once your part is played, you have the right to expect the energy of life to reorganize situations and circumstances to begin to work in the direction of your dominant expectations. It’s nature. It’s the design of life, and it works. For me, these things are debts that you owe. In the best marriage, pain and disappointments do exist, but a resolve must also exist such that no matter how demanding it is, you will also focus more on the parts of it that bring joy, meaning and fulfillment.
Top on the list of what you owe your marriage is ATTENTION. You owe your relationships, and indeed your marriage and your family the attention their individuality deserves. Attention by the way is the creative and passionate use of your time, energy and resources in the direction of those you consider valuable. And neglect based on lack of attention damages marriages far more often than malicious abuse. There’s nothing more vital to the bond you share with your spouse than simply being there.When we pay attention to each other, we breathe new life into each other. With frequent attention and affection,marriages flourish, and the individuals grow stronger. This is the side effect of a good relationship – we help heal each other’s wounds and support each other’s strengths.Marriage is worth the extra effort. And it’s wise not to wait for your spouse to do what you like before you share your time, energy and resources.
Next is TRUST.The entire fabric of our society – people working, living and breathing together – relies on the positive beliefs we have about each other – a subtle, inherent trust. This trust is the glue that holds every peaceful civilization together. Which is why trust is the greatest compliment you can give a person.The only way to build this trust, or find out if someone is trustworthy, is to trust them. When you do this in marriage, without a doubt, you’ll automatically get two results: A friend for life or a lesson for life. Either way, the outcome is positive.
Next is HONESTY. When your intentions are good and your cause is just, honesty will always help you. When your heart is open to love and truth, your lips will not utter lies that haunt you. When couples are honest with each other up front, the truth may hurt sooner, but the suffering always dies faster, and out of this suffering comes growth and blessings.Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed. Be honest about what you want in a marriage and how you want to be treated. The bottom line is that marriages don’t hurt. Lying, cheating and twisting reality until it screws with someone’s emotions is what hurts. Never mess with someone’s feelings just because you’re unsure of your own. If you are unsure in any way, be sure to say so. Always be open and honest.
Next is LOYALTY. Stand by those you care about in their darkest moments. Brave the shadows alongside them until they’re able to find the light. You can’t promise to be there for someone for the rest of their life, but you can sincerely be there for them for the rest of yours. When it comes to marriage, remaining faithful is never an option, but a priority.
Next is TEAMWORK. The most important trip you will ever take in life is meeting others half way. You will achieve far more by working with people, rather than working alone or against them.That’s what healthy relationships are all about – teamwork. The strength of every marriage depends on the strength of its members, and the strength of each member depends on the quality of their relationships.Anyone who helps you to make your half-hearted attempts more whole-hearted through passion, love and teamwork, is a precious friend and teacher. You can be such a person for your spouse. Connect with him or her, and conquer the world together. This is a great gift in marriage.
Next is ACCEPTANCE. There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. Even if it seems perfect now, it won’t always be. Imperfection, however, is real and beautiful. It’s how two people accept and deal with the imperfections of a relationship that make it ideal.Since perfect behaviour does not exist in any human, our best love cannot and must not be earned by perfect behaviour. The quality of the happiness between two people grows in direct proportion to their acceptance, and in inverse proportion to their intolerance and expectations. They must appreciate their similarities and respect their differences. Then, Forgiveness is one of the greatest virtues to which you should always seek. Imagine if everyone you knew was willing both to apologize and to accept an apology. Is there any problem that you all would not be able to solve?The willingness to admit that we are all human, and to forgive sincerely, is a sign of your emotional strength and maturity. Ultimately, this forgiveness is for you. It sets you free from the shackles of the past so you can take the future in stride.If it is true that not one of us is perfect, then ignoring to forgive must be a silly choice. All I have shared here is nature. It’s the design of life, and it works.
Finally, I want you to know that after over a decade of marriage, my best lessons are that God is faithful, love is a choice, peace is always within reach and marriage is science. I hope I’ve helped a bit. I wish you well. I wish your marriage well. Stay rooted…
I want to shed more light on my earlier post-Which do you care about-The IDEALS of a FAMILY or the TOOLS that create it? In it, I mentioned that the tools that create a family (sex, weddings) are different and less important, compared to the ideals that sustain the family. I also mentioned the need to ensure that adults entering into marriage are able to deploy the necessary quality of thinking (philosophy or concept of marriage), discipline and morality.
While this might sound bizarre,shocking or aggressive, call it whatever you want, I desire that government will create some critical standards for people desiring to marry to meet before they can be issued a marriage certificate.
I’m sure a part of you is saying – Really? But please bear with me while I explain the rationale behind this.
I believe the law should regulate this wild desire to start a family without the required mental, financial and emotional resources. Now, this opinion can’t get more absurd to some – WE ALL DON’T HAVE TO BE PARENTS. If and when we choose to become parents, responsibility demands that we make all the necessary sacrifice to protect the life of an innocent child who didn’t apply to visit the world.
Have you watched some animals to see how seriously they take parenting? If some animals can take responsibility, it then becomes an abuse of our essence if as humans, we don’t live up to expectation in parenting. If evolution claims we are higher animals, it also indirectly spells that we raise offspring by higher standards.
Parenting is RESPONSIBILITY. It is our noble duty to raise children, to support them by taking an active part in guiding them on the way to becoming mature adults for the fulfillment of their unique destiny. Parenting means embracing the task of teaching children to think along principles, embrace discipline and find meaning in living by a strong moral code.
Enough! Of parents who lack the traits to oversee the development of their children into responsible adulthood. I say this to advocate for the abandoned children who have ended up as victims of child abuse, molestation, child pornography, teenage pregnancy and prostitution. UNICEF estimates that nearly one million children enter the sex trade every year. Experts say that nearly 10 million children are working as prostitutes, with 90% of them being girls. Do you think such children came out of deep-thinking, loving and responsible parents?
In Nigeria, children are deployed as beggars to appeal to the sympathy of passers-by. In Somalia or Congo, they are armed with weapons and thrust into the horrors of war to either kill or be killed.
Still, there is yet another category of sincere but ignorant parents who provide plush mansions for their children to live in and send them to elite schools. They provide all things except the most important of all – parental care and attention.
See, because the bar of entry for bearing children and entering into marriage is low, a lot of half-baked people lacking character can now start a family with gaily indifference. Since it is now considered a status symbol rather than a noble call to responsibility, no superior value is attached to bringing forth a child outside of societal expectation from the couple. Even children are now being used as emotional weapons by women to secure the commitment of suitors. That is how ridiculous and unabashed we have become.
My advocacy is this – adults should be barred from marriage or parenting until we have secured a good knowledge of the emotional, mental, financial and even spiritual preparedness of the intending couples.
Even now, government must legislate some kind of law that assures thorough preparation in thinking, discipline and morality before people can enter into marriage. The law should also assess resource management and emotional intelligence.
It can begin with Nigeria even if it’s not done elsewhere. We can no longer assume that bearing children will automatically make a man or woman responsible. They must prove their maturity. THIS IS THE LIFE!
While it is easy to blame corruption, crime, tribalism, nepotism etc as the culprit of an unstable and wanton nation, one discreet and subtle culprit that escapes a superficial investigation is a degraded family institution.
How do we bring this artful dodger to book? Is the family now a faceless entity? NO! It is people that make up the family. It is the people, who fail to see that the tools for creating a family are not equal to the ideals or principles that sustain the family.We need to hold them accountable for the lack of maturity that creates this mess.
The tools that create a family are simple events such as sex, wedding, self preservation through procreation etc. The principles, ideals and wisdom needed to sustain a family are of a different mold and include quality of thinking (philosophy or concept of marriage), discipline and morality.
Problems arise when tools are celebrated above ideals and purpose. This leads to an abuse of the family institution and IGNORANCE PRECEDES ABUSE. Abuse then is the root cause of the moral decadence that prevails in society today.
I say this because wrong concepts will create dysfunctional families that will give birth to ideologically defective individuals that will go ahead to exhibit unlawful behaviours or perverse judgments that weaken society. Because society is an offshoot of the family institution, this is how society perpetuates wrong value systems – dysfunctional families.
If all of us are products of a family and a typical family runs a defective “behavioural-shaping curriculum”, we can imagine the products of that family and society – sexual abuse, violence, armed robbery, corruption, cultism, etc. We can also imagine the products of a family that runs an effective curriculum – sanity, integrity, exemplary leadership, development, a holy regard for the human life etc
Parents and adults become defective when the primary motivation to initiate the institution is merely sexual pleasure or a need to prove their maturity, based on the weak standards of societal norms and expectation to get married.
How can we correct this?
Adults must ensure they have the right mental framework or concept for starting a marriage. They must understand its demands, responsibilities and benefits for social and economic transformation, individual and collective fulfillment. They must shape their own thinking and those of their children to achieve these ideals.
Adults must train their children to obey rules and regulations. They themselves must model the exact positive values they want to see in their children and society.
Adults must have a strong and effective moral code that guides their actions and judgment, and they must skillfully impart this into their children.
This is straight talk! Only when adults starting a family pass the test of a mature and holistic thinking, demonstrate high discipline and maintain a sound moral code, can we begin to herald the social and economic transformation we dream of. THIS IS THE LIFE!
This piece is quite critical for every relationship; whether at work, in the family, marriage, in parenting, dating or wherever. To drive it home, it’s important I emphasize a common truth that crisis and conflicts are constants in life—that, regardless of status of any kind and at any level, a constant thing in every relationship will be conflicts. No matter who you are or what you have or don’t have; no matter how moral you are or even how knowledgeable, the potential for the experience of conflicts and crises are a constant. Perfect behavior eludes mankind and no peace exists amongst humans based on perfect behavior. We really cannot over-emphasize this.
Now, while conflict is sure, apology is golden. Apology is an amazing tool given by God for humans to use as a therapeutic system that incubates peace and harmony. Apology is a tool for creating peace, it is not peace. Apology gives the opportunity for peace, if well managed by both the one giving the apology and the person receiving the apology. Malice and unforgiveness continue to plague human relationships and create strife only because humans have not fully come to the ultimate human state of displaying empathy. Apology is one of the critical ways for measuring remorse, true forgiveness and maturity. Interestingly, while humans struggle with malice, strife and unforgiveness, animals seem to be programmed for the opposite. In the jungle, the energy for conflicts resolution amongst animals of the same species is amazing. In the jungle, animals don’t keep malice. They do have conflicts in fact, more often than humans, but the energy for going forward without strife is automated. Humans should learn. To be honest, the display of malice, strife and unforgiveness is a weak idea of exchange. To now pride oneself in one’s capacity for these negatives is the most classical way to define smallness, inner poverty and immaturity.
Now, only a lunatic or a confident fool can express shock at what is normal and react to it in any way that displays total surprise. I mean, if something is normal, it is obvious. If it is obvious, it has lost its capacity to deliver shock or a shocking effect. For example, your name is Fred. It is therefore normal to be called Fred because that is your name. it is obvious. If your dad says “Good morning Fred”…this is your dad here o…I know you can only respond normally by saying “Good morning sir…” or something. I don’t know what you will say actually, but I know what you will not say or do. You will not be shocked that you heard your name from your dad and you will not react negatively or display surprise. Why? Because it is a normal experience to hear your dad call your name. the point is made.
If conflicts are a normal part of human exchange, it should not arrest our emotions so deeply when it occurs to the extent that only with malice, strife and unforgiveness can we relate to it. To allow it for minutes is weakness, to take it to bed and keep it for days is evil. Malice, strife, beef, unforgiveness and the likes are really for the weak. As a matter of fact, new research has revealed that unforgiveness, resentments, maliciousness and the likes are capable of health damage, like heart attacks, coronary diseases and many more. Research has it that 87% to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. What we think about affects us physically and emotionally. To be honest, each of us should begin to work to become allergic to small behaviors like malice and its cohorts. It’s a wise and more peaceful way to exist; and its worth considering before it is too late. Malice only hurts its owner! And unforgiveness only withdraws peace and goodwill from you. Why hurt yourself really? And why reserve terrible diseases for yourself in the future?
The way to go is to allow your mind to embrace another kind of consciousness that defends your personal peace, incubate peace in your environment and increase society’s potential for togetherness, synergy and collaboration. It works for everybody and everywhere. And most critically, it works for families. The family is the environment that holds the greatest potential for familiarity; because the average human will spend more time with family than anywhere else in existence. Therefore, nowhere else exposes our differences than the family unit.
Between marriage and parenting, all of our maturity is tested almost on a daily basis. What’s certain is that people will not always say or do all you want. And People will not always act right. And what you want will not always be what is right. Those who never offend you, or those who forever do all you say or want, are the very species you should run from. They are your undiscovered adversaries. And very soon, your pain and hurt will reveal their true intention to you. Apology is the take off point for establishing rhythm and peace. It works. The way to engage it is to first of all accept that the wisest person is always the one that apologizes first, even when he or she is right. There are two things to apologize for: its either you apologize for the wrong you create or for the terrible way the other person feels even when you are right, or for both; depending on the circumstance. And when you apologize, find and use adjectives and actions that clearly communicate your remorse or understanding of the other person’s feelings. You lose nothing when you apologize, instead, you show strength.
This does not also mean you ignore the need to allow people feel the necessary emotions their naughtiness or wrong deserves; but you can always display more strength by letting the person know that while you may even be right, you care too much to see others hurt, even when they deserve their hurt. It’s maturity. Crisis is sure but your peace is your choice. Stop expressing shock. If human beings are perfect, forgiveness as a word will be unnecessary. Apology and forgiveness are free commodities. They should be freely given. You will soon need to be forgiven as well, trust me. Forgiveness is dutiful. THIS IS THE LIFE!