Children have similar characteristics as the youth but they are more fun inclined and spontaneous; even more curious but have lower attention span. This means that they get bored easily and are not inclined towards a routine. Other age brackets may have reservations towards engagement but if fun and adventure are involved, children would never turn away any engagement no matter how complex they seem. Children’s level of understanding is heightened more when they engage in something that interestingly takes all their attention thereby keeping them glued to the activity.
The language they understand is fun, liberty and more fun. They are boundless in nature and are always eager to exercise this boundlessness. But the language they should understand if we want them to grow and become productive is fun, liberty and discipline. By this, they will learn to be adventurous yet cautious of their environment and its boundaries or limitations so as not to cause any kind of damage to themselves and others.
Therefore, there are three things they need in order to be productive in anything they are individually designed to do:
Value | Skill | Life
But these already sound boring and too hard to comprehend or accept by an average child. So the question is “How do we inculcate these elements into them, and ultimately make it their culture?”
VALUES are abstract and most times, they are related in the context of rules and regulations which are meant for the grownups. But the children are not wired to be restricted into a block of what needs to be done or otherwise. They are interested in an experience that would linger in their hearts and minds forever.
Perhaps this was the reason stories were fabricated in early times in teaching children the values upon which a village or community is founded. Naturally, a child does not subscribe to rules and laws but when woven into something interesting they could relate with, they take ownership of the same rules or laws they would naturally reject. And many times, they will voluntarily act as enforcers of these rules and regulations.
Presently, we have neglected the methods of woven values and conducts into stories, short plays and other forms of entertainment that engages their minds while the true essence of the values find their ways into their hearts.
They are not wrong or right to have wanted something interesting and out of the box because that is simply who they are and we must work with this reality to weave lasting values into their hearts. It is important that facilitators and educators make sure that the true essence of any entertainment designed for the children is not missing.
If the essence is missing as we try to get their attention through fun or entertainment, then we are just supporting lawlessness.
Games and simulations, etc. are some of the best bets of inculcating values in children in this era of advanced technology and their character is what is built up by inculcating these values into them.
SKILLS are needed for building their competences and these competences would make them translate their values into tangible values that can be experienced and valued. But to effectively do this, they must be motivated not necessarily by physical rewards but the outcome of the exercise they are about to engage themselves.
Engaging them in the various areas of exercise makes them develop skills they are not aware they could master by themselves. These exercises would increase their competence and build their professionalism at a very early stage in life. These exercises would also help them to crosscheck their inner values with what is happening around them thereby propelling them to take necessary actions in making sure that what is within is the same as what is without – around them.
The values are like the essence while the skills are more like the powers needed to promote these essences and make them widely accepted among their peers and even older ones.
The joy of watching children create lasting values always influences the perception of people to life.
By the virtue of exercises, they are accustomed more to both skills and values thereby making them exemplars of what a particular community stands for. Mainly, what skills do is to help the children exercise their values. Their competence is what is built by woven skills into exercise.
Unlike other kind of competence, these skills have values entrenched in them which means their character and competence becomes integrated and intertwined or woven together. This is because the competences are rooted in the consciousness of their characters or values.
LIFE is not supposed to be lived in isolation. An abundant life is lived with people of same likeness with one heart and mind – one major goal. Anyone living in isolation is living less than design because no one is designed not to interact. This reality must be taught to children not by instruction but by deliberately and cultivated practice. This is why community relationship must be imbibed in the children by facilitating team works and team dynamics between them.
To focus on competition is to focus on division but to focus on collaboration and relationships is to focus on community and togetherness.
Community is what makes life worthwhile. We must let the children know that their true and maximum capacity can only be achieved through community and collaboration; that focusing on individual capacity is to focus on a life that can never leave up to expectation.
From time to time, peering to solve problems, puzzles, to engage in exercises must be encouraged and they must be taught to see problems as competitions and not their fellows. This should be done by making them see a common goal even while they are doing different things. An average child is competitive but if we must make them more collaborative, we must paint them what they need to be collaborate for. It is also crucially important that we give them something to cherish and love.
This is where values come in . . . If the values are well driven into their hearts and these values include placing collaboration way higher than competition, then capacity building as a community would be easier. It is therefore expedient that we focus keenly on community as a sure way of building capacity. This is because character, competence and capacity point to the man in isolation but character, competence and community point to the man as an integral part of a large spectrum of people who have totally lost self actualization to find joy in communal and collective actualization.
Skills and Values apply to single entity but when Life is introduced, it speaks of a holistic and wholesome entity. So most times when we engage each child in isolation, we must make sure they do more of engaging themselves collectively as one body. The true value and competence of any society is realized by collaboration. And this is what we must base our engagement with the children on.
The response of the children is what we have envisioned and when they grow to become youth, they will only multiply what we have and raise the standard set before them. Children are entities responsible for keeping the integrity of anything and also purifying its substance in the same process.