How to Shield Your Children from Corruption

24 03 2019
Robtel Neajai Pailey
Robtel Neajai Pailey

Rife in every section of Nigerian society, corruption is more visible in the armed forces who clog highways with sandbags and drums, and openly extort money from motorist.

I was driving with my 7 yrs nephew, Jonathan, by my side. It was a hot afternoon. We came to a police check.

“Do you want to be a policeman? “ I asked mischievously.

 “No,” the boy answered, without hesitation.

“Why?”

I was curious to know the reason for such categorical rejection. A police job is honored work in many countries.

“They are corrupt!” he quipped with blinking.

The policeman by the car in front crumpled something into his pocket waved him on. We were next.

 I wound down and greeted him cheerfully.

“Anything for your boys?” drawled the officer.

“Nothing today, sir” I said, sheepishly. “May be tomorrow.”

He waved us on.

We drove on in silence. I was wondering how much harm was done to children by witnessing daily daylight graft on our roads by men in uniform.

It reminded me of another story a woman told me, some time ago, about her 7 yr old son, Hamza. He had just joined the boy scouts, the uniform and badges gave him such a trill, he felt like an officer, and like officers do, he wanted money. The next day, on his way to a scouting activity, he stepped into the middle of a busy road and faced a fast approaching taxi. He had seen policemen do all the time. As the car raced towards him, horn blaring, he raised an authoritative hand. Stop!

 The car swerved at the last minute to avoid running him over, the driver spat at him, passengers cursed and showed him their five fingers. Passersby screamed as they hauled him by the ear out of the road and someone whisked him back to his shocked and grateful mother. That was the end of his scouting career.

The difference between Jonathan and Hamza, it occurred to me, was that Jonathan goes to a private school where Christian ethical code were taught every week. During classes, teachers emphasize the difference between good and evil, and how lying, cheating; in word corruption, harms. They help them discover good and do it, the help them uncover evil and avoid it; they learn that they can make mistakes and how to be quick in correcting themselves.

Hamza, on the other hand, attends a public school ill equipped to teach him Math’s and English, but very efficiently creates an environment that makes it hard for him to be virtuous.  He learns from older pupils how to steal, smoke, drink and climb school fences at night to visit brothels. He never been furnished any argument against the corruption he sees.

Yet more Nigerian children attend public schools than private schools, and we cannot have it both ways. Either we teach these children about the evil of corruption now or we have corrupt citizens later.

This troubled Robtel Neajai Pailey, a Liberian academic, activist and author until she decided to do something revolutionary.

 In 2012, frustrated with all the rhetoric about fighting corruption in Liberia she wrote anti-corruption books for kids. The first one, Gbagba loosely translated, means ‘trickery’ or, ‘corruption’

 “I realized that integrity must be strengthened at the earliest stages in a child’s life in order to mitigate the practice of corruption in the next generation” she said.

Gbagba is the story of young twins, who leave the countryside to visit their aunt in the capital, Monrovia. The intrigues of adults in everyday corrupt practices—robbery, bribery, fraud, vigilantism—collide with the children’s strong moral sense of right and wrong.

Immediately after the children arrive in the city, a thief “in dirty clothes” snatches their suitcases in broad daylight. The description of the robber tells us that that the man is poor and desperate. But the idea that it is greed rather than dehumanizing poverty triggers the man’s thievery incites the threat of mob justice

And in no time, the twins later observe their aunt’s driver bribing a police officer. Their aunt’s indifference during this encounter stands in stark contrast to the twins’ sharp perception of the unfair advantage that takes place after the transaction.

You can watch the video adaptation of the book here and please share with your children

Pailey was inspired to write the book in order to give children the verbal tools to question the ethical and moral values of adults around them. The book received critical acclaim and has been adopted as compulsory reading by Liberian Ministry of Education

“Eight to 10-year-old children are the perfect targets because it is at this stage that they begin to form an ethical core,” Pailey continued.

 “In writing Gbagba, I imagined myself a proverbial anti-corruption pied piper, without the instrument of doom…. Even though Gbagba‘s setting is Liberia, it remains a universal tale about children’s emancipation from the confusing ethical codes of the adults around them”

As Pailey says, children are the moral compass of Liberia if not the world. When they start publicly exposing corruption for what it truly is, my hope is that adults will be shamed into living more honestly, with integrity.

The book has been turned into a play and the play was well received by parents, teachers, and school administrators in Liberian and other African countries.  It has also been converted to a play, and 200 theatre-goers enjoyed the performance in the audience on debut day.

A parent of one of the cast members informed Pailey her daughter is now the integrity police in their household, pointing out when her parents and siblings are being dishonest.

This is a worthy investment Nigerian government should consider making, inviting Pailey with her project and give children like Hamza the knowledge they need to fight corruption in themselves and later in Nigerian society . Pailey has since written a sequel to Gbagba called Jaadeh.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





“Dump him” list for girls

20 03 2019

Here is a list for girls of sixteen behaviors enough to end a relationship- or, at the very least, place serious doubt in your heart about continuing the relationship.

School boy and girl
  1. You’ve had to tell him more than once to stop.
  2. You feel the need to “fix” him.
  3. He looks at pornography.
  4. He hits you, pushes you, or does anything to frighten you.
  5. He has a drinking or drug problem.
  6. He doesn’t care if you lie to your family.
  7. He leads you away from God.
  8. He puts you down- even if he then says he’s “just kidding.”
  9. He cheats on you.
  10. He lies to you.
  11. He flirts with other girls.
  12. He uses guilt to get you to do what he wants.
  13. He resents time you spend with your friends and family.
  14. He behaves badly and then blames it on other people or on things that happen to him.
  15. He can’t stand on his own two feet without you; he emotionally unable to function by himself.
  16. You can’t stay with him and remain pure.”

From Jason & Crystalina Evert and Brian Butler, Theology of the Body for Teens: Student Workbook, p. 170. 2006, Ascension Press.**





Boys behaving badly.. By Pius Adesanmi (Professor)

18 03 2019

Today, I decide on a capitalist lunch alone. My assigned driver takes me to a capitalist restaurant – one of the elitist watering holes of anybody who is anybody in Nigeria’s centre of power.

I invite the driver to come in with me. He is shocked. He is used to waiting in the car. Or being given some change to go and find an appropriate Mama Put for his own lunch while the Ogas eat in the capitalist location.

I have no idea why I asked him to come with me. Inside, we strike a picture of contrasts. All eyes raised. All eyes looking at the odd pair.

We are taken to a table for one because the waitress naturally assumes that my driver is just carrying my phone and will find his way out to wait in the car as soon as I am seated.

I ask her for a table for two. She looks at me, looks at the driver, mouth agape. Something ain’t adding up. She takes us to a table for two. The driver is in a strange universe. Fish out of water.

I help him with the complications of the life of the rich: how to order swallow and “protein” from a menu in the ways of the rich instead of barking at Sikira to add more ponmo and shaki at Iya Basira’s buka. I order the same swallow and protein for both of us.

Inquisitive looks. Hostile looks. Querying looks. You’d think we were a black and white interracial couple that had just entered a public space holding hands in America or Canada. It is the same looks of disapproval. But this time, it is not from folks frowning on interracial border crossing. It is from rich Nigerians, big Nigerians, Ogas at the top and their accent-forming sophisticated mistresses, feeling that their space has been violated by the presence of my driver.

Much to my disappointment, nobody says anything to us and I miss the opportunity of a fight. However, I’m extremely pleased with what is going on – this sense that I am violating that space gives me immense satisfaction. I am also pleased that once he attacks his food, the driver no send anybody again. He eats with the natural noises of his normal buka environment – sneezing, belching, guffawing, etc.

There are moments when one has to be a strategic agbaya if it serves the purpose of getting on the nerves of a certain class of people so I join in the bad behaviour, also belching loudly and drawing satisfaction from the disapproving looks on the faces of some of the accent-faking sophisticated ladies and their male company at other tables.

We walk out royally after our meal. I can sense the happiness which engulfs my driver. We strike a conversation about it all on the way to the airport. He tells me that the most painful part of it for him is that all those madams and ogas spending about N10,000 for a meal for two are often people who owe their drivers, cooks, houseboys, house girls, gardeners, maiguards and nannies salary arrears and refuse to pay.

That is when it occurs to me that he probably would have appreciated the cash equivalent of what I just spent on a single lunch for him.

Our bill was N8000.

At the airport, I give him N4000.

His profuse prayers are the last words I hear as the airport terminal swallows me on my way to Lagos………
~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pius Adesanmi is a Nigerian Professor with Carlton University in Canada that is among those that died on the ill fated Ethiopia airline

Rest in Peace Professor Pius Adesanmi…..🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾





Breadseller or model, a good job is attractive

15 03 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Jumoke the bread seller whose ordinary work turned her into a model has uncovered how extraordinary and attractive an ordinary work done well, with love and a smile can lead to success.

In 2016, 27 yr old breadseller, Olajumoke Orisaguna—Jumoke, a mother of two was pounding the streets, carrying her wares on her head, eking a living to save her family from starvation.
Unawares, she walked into a street photo-shoot and was caught in the background. While editing the pictures later, the female photo-journalist was so smitten by her photogenic beauty and determined to find her, she posted the picture on instagram and successfully tracked her down and offered her a job as model, thus making an inspiring rag-to-riches story that held Nigerians spell bound for years. Fans couldn’t get enough of her, hope spread among desolate millions in the streets that one day their luck will change.

Olajumoke Orisaguna walks into a photo-shoot accidental
The Picture of Jumoke at background that made her famous

Her parents were too poor to send her to a formal school, Jumoke had trained as a hairdresser because and in 2010, met and married a craftsman. But their combined income wasn’t adequate to feed their two children. To haul the family out of appalling straits, she moved from Osun to Lagos with one of her daughters, to work in a bakery. It was a hard and difficult work, on foot each day with a tray laden with bread loafs on her head. Yet, come rain or shine, she kept a smile on her face.
That afternoon walking past people talking pictures, unconcerned, she smiled and hurried on, calling for customers; little did she know that Lady Luck saw her.

She had since become a runaway success, yet she remains inwardly unaffected by it, humble and straight talking her reality TV shows are filled with great street wisdom and is the darling of you-tubers.

In one of the episodes, she spoke with her usual unadorned candidness, of the shocking things she had seen on social media, things like a man getting married to a man and a woman marrying another woman.

With the candidness of a child she expressed it as utter “unNigerian” and unthinkable.

Jumoke’s wisdom

She was simply expressing her opinion, and besides she isn’t a lettered woman, and as Peter Kreeft, philosophy professor of Boston College said, “There are certain falsehoods that you need a PhD to believe.”

Yet, the floodgates of hate and cyber bullying were immediately flung wide open and attacks on her person and family began. Orchestrated and led by a Ghanaian self proclaimed transsexual who continues to smear her, intent on ruining her, and getting her blacklisted by modeling companies.

Not satisfied with hounding her job, they have turned on her husband and marriage, spreading vicious rumors that she was sleeping with other men and disrespecting her husband.

Yet, come hell or high water, Jumoke is refusing to succumb to threats, and continues sharing her hard gotten wisdoms with Nigerian youths who adore her. And she is not all talk, often swinging into action when she comes across women in grim straits. She recently convinced her promoters to intervene and build a house for an aged woman she saw being evicted from her home.

Jumoke

Yet, young people best remember that Jumoke’s success wasn’t entirely of her own making. “Lady Success” lent her a hand whilst she was busy with her ordinary work selling bread, for love of husband and children.

How true what someone said, that success, true success is really carrying out the duties of everyday and the little things of each day well, with a smile if possible and always elegant. For it is along ordinary paths of life that we meet our destiny.

Still her success is an unlikely story for millions of indigent youths. A rare combination of luck and the goodness of a relentless photo-journalist had made her what she is today, and many Nigerians may never have such luck. They should not be disheartened however, but rather continue doing their ordinary work well, throwing in a smile along, even if their work should suffer the privation of remaining unclaimed till death.

They should remember that just as a man submits to the cruel torture of a surgical operation in order to save his lives; it is quite possible ordinary life’s cruel sufferings might save the life of their souls if accepted with love and a smile. “Pain or suffering of any kind for that matter can, be bearable when accepted as a form of purification,” some spiritual writers say.

And anyone who examines himself honestly will find much to purify: sins, omissions in love, disorderly inclinations which must be paid either in this life or in the next. Suffering is necessarily part of this life, and those who wish to go straight to heaven, after a life spent wholly in God’s service must not shrink from it

And St Paul exhorts in scriptures, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us when we contemplate God face to face.”
And St. Josemaria Escriva adds,“ Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.”

Infact, Escriva, with Gospel in hand, constantly taught that God does not want us simply to be good . . . , he wants us to be saints, through and through. However, he wants us to attain that sanctity, not by doing extraordinary things, but rather through ordinary, common activities. It is the way they are done which must be uncommon. There, in the middle of the street, in the office, in the factory, we can be . . . holy, provided we do our job.”
Young people might not all become famous like Jumoke, but their work no matter how ordinary, done with love, and extraordinarily well, is attractive and is a sure path to happiness.





The Girl Who Looked Death in the Eye and Smiled

8 03 2019

#InternationalWomensDay

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

People the world over flee illness and suffering and despise death as an evil that must be avoided at all cost. They feel themselves most unfortunate, even unlucky if ever one or the other should overcome them. Yet, there was a young girl who did not despise and fly from suffering and pain, but even looked death in the eye with a smile, accepting and embracing it as a gentle caress full of affection from a God who loved her so much.

Who was this girl and how did she come to have such uncommon attitude in the face of pain, suffering, even death. What gave her mind to understand that acceptance rather than hatred and rejection are the most effective antibiotics against infecting the soul with bitterness. What were the outcome of these her radical ideas?

Her name was Maria Montse Grases, a young Spaniard who lived in Barcelona. She was only 17 in 1957 when she was diagnosed with a rare and painful bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma. In the 50’s   Ewing’s sarcoma was a death sentence.


Maria Montse Grases

 Montse loved life and had an infectious smile straight from the heart. Her eyes shown like diamonds, tall and strong, it seems there was almost always a perpetual smile on her face, a smile that came straight from the heart. Her eyes were kind, friendly and filled with playful mischief.  She was neat and tidy and her clothes reflected style and taste. She especially liked a green plaid skirt that reached her ankles

  She liked sport and music as well as traditional local dances. She was a good athlete, playing basketball, tennis, and ping-pong. But her favorite recreation was outings with friends.

In many sense she was like any other girl; yet, she was unlike many other girls because she radiated an inner charm and her virtues and character made her attractive to all who met her. 

She almost never worried about herself but busied herself taking care of others, she showered love and attention on the needy and suffering; and took her friends to visit poor families and sick people, and she regularly gave religions classes to the local children in parishes, and would sometimes bring them toys and sweets.

 She took great care of her spiritual life of prayers because she loved God with a personal love that was both intimate and filled with reverence.  To her, God was a friend with whom she could share everything, the deepest secrets of her soul, she laid bare to him daily in prayer and anything that worried her.

Like every young woman, she had her personal shortcomings.  Impulsive and brusque at times, she however never compromised with her personal defects, wrestling resolutely against them and struggling to control her occasional ill temper, and be friendly and jovial with everyone.

This greatness of heart shone like a brilliant star when she demonstrated a rare capacity to dedicate herself to something greater than herself. 

When she was 11, her parents came in contact with Opus Dei an institution in the Catholic Church that shows ordinary people how to be holy in the ordinary circumstances of each day. They readily understood the message of Opus Dei and within two years both had joined Opus Dei.

Montse’s parents thought her how to deal with Jesus with confidence, they strove to make her stable companion of Jesus sparing no effort to make it happen.  It was her mother who first suggested she visited a center of Opus Dei, where Christian and human formation is give to young girls. In attending the means of formation given in the center of Opus Dei, she perceived one day God was calling her to serve him as a celibate member of Opus Dei. She was sixteen

After meditating, praying, and seeking advice, she asked to be admitted to Opus Dei. From then on she struggled decisively and with constancy to seek holiness in her daily life. She struggled to be in constant conversation with God, to discover the will of God in the fulfillment of her duties and in caring for little details out of love, and to make life pleasant for those around her. She was able to transmit to many of her relatives and friends the peace that comes from living close to God.

Her brother George soon took notice that Montse had changed. Though externally, she was the same, same dress, she still attended classes on cooking and arts, but her brothers noticed that she was no longer arguing with him, and was more affectionate and tactful. She seemed to have suddenly grown up.

What made her so readily generous with God?  Some people attribute it to her parent’s generosity with God in having a large family. Montse was the second of nine children.

“Me and my wife agreed in everything, ready to start a Christian family, accepting all children God wanted to send.” Her father said.

Ewing’s sarcoma

One day on June 1958, Montse went skiing with friends and injured her leg. The pain was excruciating and won’t go away; her parents took her to a clinic. After lengthy investigations, the doctor took her parent aside, and told them she had a rare kind of bone cancer, causing the great pain she had been experiencing. But worse, it was incurable. She was going to die.

Devastated, her parents wept inconsolably, unable to speak or break the news to her.

Finally, they told her.

“Would it help if they cut the bad leg?” she asked.

“I am afraid my daughter, that will not help.” her sad father said.

To her parents surprise she brightened up and began singing a Mexican song and that night, as her mother recalled slept soundly.

Little by little, her illness got worse though, and she spent many a sleepless night squirming in pain; the treatment made her suffer a lot. Her pain increased to the point of being almost unbearable. From February 16th on, her leg was so swollen up to the hip that her skin began to crack.

Treating the leg was terribly painful. But instead of complaining, she hummed a song. She always had an affectionate word for those who treated her leg, even though they couldn’t help hurting her.

She couldn’t eat. To take anything was a real torture. Since she couldn’t swallow anything, she sucked on a piece of ice for refreshment. She usually commented that she was a coward because she was afraid the suffering would come.  

Jesus was afraid to die?

At first, she naturally was afraid to die. One day she said to a friend: “I’m afraid of dying, because I’m afraid to be alone.”

Her friend tried to encourage her by mentioning the scene of Jesus in Gethsemane was afraid to die.

“Jesus was afraid to die?” She exclaimed, astonished that she hadn’t thought about that before. Joy flooded into her heart.

“What joy to find myself afraid together with Jesus,” Montse exclaimed ecstatically clasping her hands, her face radiant with peace and joy.

 “Together with Jesus I will face death happily!”

The end drew to a close rapidly however.  At the beginning of March they had to call the doctor quickly because. Montse had such a weak pulse that it was hardly noticeable.

The doctor, when he took her pulse couldn’t hide his concern that was noticed by all. Montse broke the anguished silence by picking up the doctor’s bag from the bed and saying: “Mama, have you seen this strange bag?”

This made everyone smile.

She grew much worse. They thought the moment had arrived to give her the Blessing of the Sick. She also thought it would be good to have it as soon as possible. A priest of Opus Dei administered this sacrament. Montse followed the ritual with great devotion, showing no sadness. Every once in a while she smiled at her mother who knelt at the foot of the bed.

On March 18, eve of the feast of St. Joseph, it seemed that the hour of her death had arrived. Montse was very happy.

“How do I look,” she asked those who were staying with her.

 “All right,” someone answered. Montse wanted them to say, “Worse.” And when asked, “How do you feel?” she answered unenthusiastically, “Me? Fine; just look.” The clock struck eleven, and she asked, “What time is it? Am I still here?”

At twelve she was asked, “Montse, do you want to pray?”

 They said the Angelus. At that moment she was more awake, and she said: “Do you know what I think? I’m not going to worry any more. When God wants, he’ll take me.”

Soon to Heaven

St. Joseph’s day passed, and her general condition improved somewhat. The doctor came to see her and Montse asked later: “What did he say? What’s happening? Aren’t I going?”

“He said you might go at any moment,” they answered.

 “Can you imagine? Soon to Heaven, soon to Heaven! Will you let me go?” she exclaimed happily, hugging the person who had told her the doctor’s comment.

Little by little she weakened. The nights were the worst. A continuous sweat left her exhausted. She became very thirsty and felt suffocated. The night before her death, Montse wanted to say something. But in spite of the effort she made no one could understand her. Early in the morning of that Holy Thursday, March 26, 1959, the directress of the Opus Dei house that she attended was close to her bed, and Montse asked her to say aspirations since she herself couldn’t talk anymore. About ten o’clock she tried to sit up to see the picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary that she had in front of her bed.

She whispered: “How much I love you. When are you coming to take me?” These were her last words. Her life ebbed away little by little.

At noon, those who were with her prayed the Angelus. She must have followed it with her heart. It was her last glance toward the One she loved so much, and to whom she had said so many things during her lifetime. Those who were with her began to say the Rosary in a soft voice, and they had just finished the first mystery when Montse died

Montserrat Graces, an 18 year old girl when she died on March 25, 1959 and was recently declared venerable by Pope Francis. She is a model for all women on women’s day. 





Big Brother Naija Trojan horse

4 03 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

They came in 2006 selling the story of a talent hunt but sold Nigerians a Trojan horse.

BBNnaija 2019 audition venue was like a scene from world war Z. Crowds of indigent youths thronged the venue pleading and wailing, crushed against iron railings, some broke their legs, and all were desperate to get in. They clawed their way coveting the $100k prize money, a ticket out of poverty worth dying for. Yet the big brother show is a rip off.

BBNaija 2019 audition
Crowds of Nigerian youths at BBNaija 2019 audition

The show is about 12 contestants living in an isolated house for 90 days, competing for a winner takes-it-all star prize by avoiding eviction. To please viewer to vote “stay” they must shed all dignity, self-respect and modesty, even engaging in explicit sex while the camera rolls.

Sex sells

With big colored eye on profit, the producers encourage sexual experimentation among the housemates on every episode, often plying them alcohol to loosen things up, and supplying cartons of condoms. BBNaija portrays sex as casual and consequence-free to minors who watch these episodes.

“Just as we read specific books and show educational movies to our children in hopes that they learn lessons from the characters, teens are more likely to have sex after being exposed to sexual content in the media,” says Dr. Carolyn Ross on Psychology Today

Parents who allow their teens to watch BBNaija shouldn’t be surprised if they begin having sex, and perhaps even high-risk sex and catching sexually transmitted diseases and becoming pregnant. They may even become sex addicts.

Early exposure to pornography (or explicit sexual content on television), says Dr. Ross, is a risk factor for sex addictions and other intimacy disorders. In one study of 932 sex addicts, 90 percent of men and 77 percent of women reported that pornography was a factor in their addiction.

In 2018, having interviewed Christians and Muslims, the Nigerian Vanguard wrote a good piece of the harmful effect of the show, denouncing it’s deviation to open immorality. Yet, the show goes on, and so many poor young people across the nation besieged the audition venues seeking last month, while families’ lap up episode after episode.

Follow the money.

The money comes from the evictions.  Every week when different housemate are placed on eviction, and the public use their money to vote them back in.  The votes come in millions. During one of recent BBNaija finale, it was reported that 170 Million votes were cast via text messages that cost N30. If you do the math, that is approximately $14M earned by the organizers.  

Gifty Brian Ajumobi ex-house mate

Since it is winner take all, all but the one winner gets paid while others walk away, broken, sold and scared and some never manage to pick up the broken pieces. (There are many unwed mothers’ among the ex-housemates.) Many of the used young ladies can’t find husbands, some like ex-house mate, Gift Brian Ajumobi, has multiple sex partners and children out of wedlock and is presently embroiled in paternity suites.

All in the name of entertainment

Whatever happened to the Nigerian family sense of modesty so admired by the world a few years ago? Now we pay to watch our youths feed, play and copulate. How diabolically naive we have become. Are we waiting for same-sex fornications and bestiality to add to the fun?

Parents and families should wake up and throw out this Trojan horse in their midst. A society willing to compromise its value and honor is a society without value and honor.

 It’s unfortunate that Atiku Abubaker who recently lost the presidential election, in a bid to garner popularity among the young, tweeted a congratulatory message to last year’s BBNaija winner.

Educators, writers, politicians and legislators must keep in mind that a great part of social and even personal problems has its roots in the failure or the collapse of family life. To fight against juvenile delinquency or against the prostitution of women and at the same time to favor the discrediting or deterioration of the institution of the family is both senseless and contradictory.

In spite of the obvious and genuine harm done by this show, we see no protests, families carrying placard and politicians debating on how to proscribe the show or prosecute their promoters, rather viewing statistics are spiking and more and more young people turn up each year for auditions.

It must be understood that the role of parents and families in social and political life cannot be merely passive. They themselves must be ‘the first to take steps to see that the laws and institutions of the State, films and reality TV’s do not offend, but support and positively enhance family life and welfare of minors

Nigerians should reject this show, looking for disruptive ways to ensure that those who insist on promoting this heist stop making money. They should also besiege the news media with the reports of the negative influences on children, calling out the promoters and exposing their true agenda.

On the other hand, families should support and promote family friendly TV shows that teach skills, virtues and discipline to children.





Changing Society’s View on “Hooking Up”

27 02 2019

Since the 1960s, we have witnessed an incredible liberalization of sexual mores. The ubiquitous use of sex in advertising, movies, television, and fashion—sex as entertainment, sex as economic incentive, sex as substitute for thought, for communication, for edification—has given a green light and public blessing to the unashamed use of sex as a crass commodity of self-gratification. Sexual gratification is often valued more than physical and emotional well-being, and the pursuit of the former has generally led to the neglect of the latter. Glamorized by the media and by celebrities, premarital and extra-marital affairs, together with the emergence of the “hookup culture,” no longer carry the stigma of social or moral opprobrium. Such practices tend to insinuate themselves into our public consciousness with little or no effective opposition.

During this time, we in America have seen myriad examples of plays, films, and TV shows evincing (overtly or covertly) envy and admiration for men and women engaging in adultery or promiscuity. Bernard Slade’s famous play (later adapted into a movie), Same Time Next Year, a story about extra-marital love, ran for years on Broadway. The award-winning movie The Bridges of Madison County (1995), a story about the happiness a lonely farmer’s housewife enjoys with a photographer, won the ASCAP Award for the “Top Box-Office Film” of 1996. The ever-rerunning TV serial (adapted from Candace Bushnell’s novel), Sex and the City, spotlights four professional women in their thirties and their big city sexual escapades as they search for the “perfect orgasm” and “Mr. Right”—in that order.

What lessons are learned from such shows? What do they teach us about self-respect, honoring commitments, and personal boundaries? The four sirens of Sex and the City may be sympathetic and amusing, but their affairs—however kooky or disillusioning—are romanticized and prized. Sex is portrayed as a desirable but short-lived commodity typically spoiled by attempts to transform it into a meaningful relationship. It seems that sex uncoupled from relationships has become the norm for many, and several studies bear this out.

Of course, it is true that many plays, movies, and TV shows often express a nostalgic regret for lost innocence and tarnished integrity. Nevertheless, the focus on casual sex in the entertainment industry and in society in general (also sometimes referred to as “hooking up,” “non-relationship sex,” “recreational sex,” “friends with benefits,” “no-strings-attached relationships,” “one-night stands,” and “sex without dating”) has become obsessive. The existence of this phenomenon alone is likely sufficient to promote the acceptance of adultery and sexual promiscuity—not because it is right, but because it is viewed as “natural,” “normal,” and something everybody does.

But what is the effect of this culture? As hookups increase, traditional dates decrease; “post-hookup, a follow-up date is rarely expected.” And as dating has waned, so too has marriage. Many young adults do not seem to have developed the ability to psychologically and socially settle down. Although young adults are becoming sexually mature at earlier ages, people are marrying later. In many cases, they do not marry at all. Family compositions have changed, and children are frequently born to parents at older ages than in previous generations. Divorce rates have skyrocketed, particularly for those who engage in premarital sex. Studies show “the odds of divorce are lowest with zero or one premarital partner” and “marriages preceded by non-marital fertility have disproportionately high divorce rates.”

These facts provide evidence that the well-known sexual prohibitions of the Bible are not as irrelevant as many seem to think. In fact, a growing number of young people—led by thoughtful college professors and mentors—have come to see the value of both sexual abstention prior to marriage and sexual fidelity during marriage.

Changing the Dating Definition

Boston College professor Dr. Kerry Cronin has helped bring about this reawakening. About twelve years ago, in an effort to counter the common practice of “hooking up,” Professor Cronin created an unconventional assignment in her classroom: she required her students to go on a first date and write a report about the experience.

This assignment was intended to counteract the hookup culture in which the connection of the parties involved is “intended to be purely physical in nature” and where the two individuals shut down “any communication or attachment that might lead to emotional attachment.”

Cronin found that many of her students were clueless about the actual process of dating. Because the hookup culture had become so dominant, “going on a date became a weirdly countercultural thing to do.” Professor Cronin thus concluded that “the social script of dating was really long gone.” So, she created a series of guidelines to teach the students how to ask someone out on a date and what to do during that date. These include asking for a date in person (“texting is the devil. Stop it.”), avoiding physical contact (except possibly an A-frame hug at the date’s conclusion), and forbidding the use of alcohol or drugs on the date. According to Cronin’s rules, the person who asked the other out must pay for the date, and the asker should have a plan for the date rather than asking the other person what to do. The first date should be relatively short and inexpensive. The key assignment was to establish real communication between the two individuals and allow them time to get to know each other.

Her program became so noteworthy that this past April a documentary film featuring Professor Cronin, The Dating Project, was released. The ninety-minute film follows five single people, ages eighteen to forty, as they attempt to navigate their way through the “dating deficit” that has been created by hanging out, hooking up, texting, and using social media. The film presents a sobering picture of what the culture of sexual liberation and free love has done to today’s youth. The film’s message is that hookups objectify the participants and leave both parties empty and unfulfilled. Today’s hookup culture makes it much more difficult to build lasting, emotionally connected relationships. True relationships take time and work, but they can be incredibly fulfilling. They enable us to grow our humanity in genuine self-giving love.

The film’s writer and producer, Megan Harrington, observed that “people are so connected and not connected at the same time. So many young adults are lonely. We all want relationships, but the superficial masks we wear on our social media platforms do not present our true selves.”

Even though Dr. Cronin is a practicing Catholic, her college course and the subsequent movie on dating have resonated with secularists who have come to realize that the “sexual liberation” they bought into has created confusion about stable intimate relationships. This intimacy crisis has effectively disconnected intimate sexual behavior from emotional connection.

Is Sex Spiritual?

Although social trends may change, values—such as disciplining and channeling sexual impulses—are timeless and universal. Today’s social practices do not reinforce the development of these unchanging values. To encourage healthy, committed relationships, we must strive to create social conditions designed to strengthen and encourage robust families. This is an essential and basic principle of the Seven Laws of Noah, a common worldview underlying Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Through her assignments, Professor Cronin is encouraging her students to follow the standards of sexual morality that form the basis of these three Abrahamic faiths.

As John Paul II put it, “Self-control is not needed because the body is evil—the truth is just the opposite. The body should be controlled with honor because it is worthy of honor.” Because our bodies are sacred property created by G-d within which resides His Holy Spirit, we effectively defile the Divine within us when we participate in the hookup culture (or in other sexual proclivities such as pornography or prostitution). A person’s body and soul are not possessions to either abuse, harm, or destroy. Lev. 19:1 commands us to “be holy,” a directive that carries strong ethical and moral implications for humanity as we strive to imitate Him.

Unmoored from a committed and loving marital relationship, the unchecked sex drive harms both the individual and the society in which he or she lives. The Noahide Code teaches us that both our bodies and our souls are entrusted to us by G-d and are Divine property. This perspective reinforces the Biblical concept that we are made in the “image of G-d,” thereby giving moral context to the psychological matrix of the human personality that involves a complex interrelationship of body, mind, and soul.

ARTHUR GOLDBERG

Arthur Goldberg is Co-Director of the American based Jewish Institute for Global Awareness (JIFGA), former Co-Director of JONAH, Inc. JIFGA sponsors http://www.fundingmorality.com, a crowd-funding site for those committed to Biblical values. He has authored Light in the Closet: Tora… READ MORE








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