The Unique Role of Women in Youth Development/Nation Building

Sonya Carson was a single mum who stopped attending school at grade three before she could read and write. She struggled with depression and worked so hard to raise her two sons Benjamin and Curtis. Even though Sonya was an illiterate, she devised a plan to get her sons to pay attention to reading and studying hard. Sonya refused to be a victim of her circumstances and pushed her sons to succeed in life. By this singular act she gave the world the renowned pediatric neurosurgeon who successfully operated on and separated conjoined twins joined at the back of the head. Ben Carson is currently serving his country as the United states Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Mothers are life molders and nation builders.

The word, “busy” is synonymous to modern day life. Efforts to make ends meet and the rat race of achieving an acceptable social status standard has eroded family happy times and relationships. Modern technology although with its numerous benefits to human life and businesses comes with its own disadvantages and distractions. The younger generation is fascinated by the new technological gadgets and social media; many spend precious hours engaging in unprofitable conversations with no one to guide and mentor them appropriately. Fathers and mothers are busy trying to keep their families afloat in the midst of new economic challenges of the 21st century.

Gone are the days when our mothers were at home or worked at jobs that enabled them to be at home when children close from school. Mothers were able to monitor the activities of their children and guide or discipline as appropriate. No wonder then that many of us formed a close relationship with our moms; no wonder that so many poems and songs have been written to eulogize the many sacrifices of mothers as they played a vital role in molding children who become responsible adults to society. Times have changed and we, mothers are so busy that we can barely catch our breath in the numerous challenges that life throws at us. How do we even begin to turn the tide of things around?

A group of women decided to create time to come away from their busy schedule to learn, inspire and remind one another about what was most important– empowering each other and yet able to raise young people who become responsible and dependable adults to their families and society. The National Biennial Conference of Pastors wives a yearly gathering organized by Foursquare Gospel church in her 2018 edition brought together women from different works of life and circle in society. This year’s theme is tagged, “Women Of Wisdom”. In attendance were the wife of Ogun State governor represented by Mrs Omolola Osota and Mrs. Folakemi Edun; the State Director National Orientation Agency, Oyo Directorate, Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu; Wife of the General overseer, Foursquare gospel church, Rev. Mrs Olubisi Meduoye and other ministers and women. 

Representatives of wife of Ogun state governor – Mrs Folakemi Edun & Mrs Omolola Osita; State Director NOA – Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu

As the team who accompanied the keynote speaker, Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu, State Director, National Orientation Agency, Oyo Directorate drove through the camp ground of the Foursquare Gospel Church situated along Lagos-Ibadan express way, there was something serene about the environment.

Team of the Oyo State Director, NOA sets out for the Women of Wisdom Conference.

A cluster of housing units lined up the road blending with nature as trees and lush green grass surrounded the environment. It is the kind of place you would want to go to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city; somewhere to clear your head, rest and regain your energy to face life again. Indeed it was an air of excitement in the hall as women relaxed and were charged by various speakers.

Women at the conference

Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu in her presentation talked about the uniqueness of women’s role in Youth Development and nation building. Her introduction paints an apt picture of this:

“Women play significant roles in our society from birth till the end of their lives. The main responsibility of a woman is to preserve the human race. As a mother, her position is unique. She brings up the children with extreme care. The first school of a child is the lap of his/her mother. It is in recognition of the vital role of a mother in the upbringing of a child that Napoleon said, “Give me good mothers and I will give you a good nation”. Similarly, Brigham young said, “If you educate a man, you educate one person; if you educate a woman, you educate a nation”. No doubt, the progress of a nation depends largely upon the way mothers raise their children”.

Sharing from her experience working with youths, she talked about young people who couldn’t be bordered to show up to take up empowerment opportunities government offered to unemployed youths. Mrs Dosunmu and her team in efforts to enroll these young persons in the N-Power program, placed several calls to many young people who had been selected but refused to fulfill the requirement of concluding the registration with her agency. It seemed like we are grooming youths with “entitlement mentality” and give no serious thought and time to one of the rules of succeeding in life which is simply  to, “show up and be on time”! Mrs Dosunmu passionately appealed to women present at the meeting to monitor and pay attention to ensuring that their wards become young men and women who are willing to learn and take a chance with opportunities that life brings their way.

Rev. Mrs Olubisi Meduoye & ministers appreciates Guest speaker – Mrs Dosunmu after delivering her presentation.

Key Points to note from her address:

  • Build a mother-child friendly relationship with your child.
  • Be a role model – watch how you live and behave as children naturally pick up on their parent’s character traits and this eventually shapes their entire lifestyle.
  • Teach your kids to do the right thing regardless of what other people may be doing.
  • Do not indulge or pamper your children; discipline when necessary.
  • Find time for your children regardless of your tight schedule.
  • Do your best to provide basic needs of your children even if your husband is incapacitated, not economically viable or even a deviant who dodges his responsibilities. In due season you will reap the reward.
  • The youth face a myriad of challenges which can best be overcome when adults create time to exchange of opinions. Youths have a lot of issues they want to discuss with adults and when they get a listening ear, they open up and learn from the adult’s wealth of experience.

In spite of the challenge of the 21st century as mothers we must go back to creating time for our kids and raise them to become the kind of adults we can be proud of in future.

Remember that after acquiring all the money and fame, you eventually get the future you invested in or did not invest in. Build relationships and not just career successes.

Ben Carson had this to say about his mum, Sonya Carson when she passed away in 2017:

“She was one of God’s greatest blessings to me, and it was her foresight and discernment that pushed me to reach my dreams”.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Principal Producer (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

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