“Free Paipah Bun!”

Ting aling aling school bell a ring, teacher….” And with that children will set foot on what will later become for them a memorable ground of learning. Initially, many will be afraid and uncertain of what to expect but their experience will give them enough strength to face future challenges and to prove that the brave may fall but never yield… (Fire burn wood but tempers steel.)

September, a new school term begins, and for poor people it’s a colossus struggle to provide books, uniforms and tuition fees. It undoubtedly will also be a continuous hustle for bus fare and lunch money throughout the school year. Yea man! Even Abroad people have it hard so y’u can imagine how things are dung a yard.

Long gone are the days when parents could economize by cutting an exercise book and pencil in halves and stitch a piece of blue jeans or khaki cloth into a school bag. The government back then, provided every child with at least one set of uniform and at recess each student was given Nice & Nuff milk, a bun or vegetable patty. Those days, it wasn’t Nike or Adidas, no sah! It was strictly Boogah Crep a tek the lick, Hush Puppy or Bata shoes and pupils took pride in punctuality and neatness in their appearance.

If the best way to conqueror an enemy is to get right in its face then education is the mechanism of choice for poor people to engage and combat the enemies of illiteracy, unemployment and poverty that have beset generations of have not. Come September morning, (Hallelujah Amen!) parents will make the sacrifice in finding a way to send Little Johnny or Sarah either off to prep school, college or university.

As the little ones make the journey into the unknown corridors of learning and the older students into familiar halls of study every student will burn in their heart a distinct sense of ambition and pride and no doubt the parents likewise. Let us therefore create in each child the courage to take their steps with vigor and determination so that they can overcome whatever obstacles they will encounter.

When children realize they can challenge adversities they will give of their best…What greater personal triumph can there really be than in putting maximum effort into one’s endeavors? It is an accomplishment that surpasses weakness and sets high standards. Even the croaking lizard that jumps from a high coconut tree would then praise itself if no one else did.

Children must be guided with affection and encouragement. Parents must let their admiration and expectations be known. Time must be spent accessing progress and praising successes but more so assisting children in reaching their goals. Harsh criticisms of failures or shortcomings are not necessary. Instead, politely discuss the situation with empathy for positive change. Remember always, “If at first we don’t succeed try, try and try again… The great civilization of Africa was not established in a day”

Set reasonable time for study and play…because hard work and no play will make Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl. Turn the television and radio off during study time, it can be distracting and when possible, study with them, you’ll be amazed how much you too can learn. Hey! Watch what they do online/computer, pass by regularly, reactions often tell when something is wrong but ask questions if in doubt, don’t ever jump to conclusions.

Never forget, early to bed, early to rise make a girl/boy healthy, wealthy and wise. Children need enough rest in order to be attentive in class. At least eight hours sleep is recommended. Breakfast is a must; it is the most important meal of the day because an empty bag cannot stand…Nobody can’t learn on hungry belly. Water, fruits and vegetables are important to one’s health and nutrition…obesity and bad cholesterol can be from eating too much junk food.

Be involved, attend parent teachers meetings. Set a time schedule for homework and school activities and see to its completion. Reading makes a man/woman and will broaden one’s horizon so encourage reading books other than school text…in short, get them a library card and when possible read with them. Think of the opportunities of growth should children become involve in the various organizations such as key club, cadet, girl guide, student council and U.N.E.S.C.O. Finally, please do not forget that we cannot and will not achieve change overnight, we will falter and we will fall but it’s never impossible to rise from a fall.