The Quality of Our Kenyan Children in Sweden.
|There are already lots of initiatives aimed both at the most gifted and at the most disadvantaged Kenyan children in Sweden. There are also lots of initiatives for improving the well-being of Kenyan society in Sweden. The proposed focus is how can we improve childhood for every Kenyan Child in Sweden? Making friends, building relationships, experimenting, imagining, taking risks and making mistakes are important for the mental health and well-being of children.
We need to allow our Kenyan children to have vivid lives in everyday adventures. Strong families must be at the heart of that social revival. Kenya children are among the poorest and least advantaged in Sweden. But that’s not the worst of it. Coming from the bottom on subjective well-being is how our children themselves rate their lives here in Sweden.
Our children face some of the greatest risks and discrimination in Sweden. We need to tackle the problem we have with our children. Why has this problem arisen? How did we get into such a mess? There has been a failure of leadership at every level. In other words, it’s a social responsibility for every Kenyan in Sweden to play a role.
Swedish government can’t bring up our children. But the government’s decisions have an influence on how our children are brought up. Most of the Swedish policies are put there to protect the interest of Swedish children. The first test of any policy must be this: does it help families? For example, it’s a disgrace for the richest country in the world to have so many children growing up in poverty. (poverty to the Swedish Scale: 1050kr/m)
Ending child poverty is central to improving child well-being. However, poverty is far from being the only factor. A dynamic economy is essential to create the wealth we need to eradicate poverty. But greater wealth will not bring greater happiness or greater well being if it is accompanied by even greater family failure. Quality of life matters as well as quantity of money.
Our working habits are damaging our families; we need to change our working habits but how can you do it here in Sweden? As a Kenyan parent, you have more than one family to thing a bout. Some people back home need some cash from us every month. We need to work extra to recover the money we sent home.
Marriage is supposed to be supported through the system for the benefit our Children. Marriage is a good institution that encourages people to commit to each other. We must encourage this institution that has been left behind if we want to improve our children well being.
We must take action with the government and other institution to work with them and challenge some of the current policies concerning children. We want our young Kenyan people to recognize that we’re all in this together. That our freedoms come with responsibilities attached, that our freedoms are only preserved by our collective commitment to self-restraint and duty.
We can argue for ever whether violent video games are a cause or a reflection of the violence in our societies, and we can rightly debate at length the right role for the law in this area. Let us object toys that support violence and let us be gender sensitive when dealing with our children. But we as Kenyan in Sweden should also want people to exercise real responsibility when they want our children to work with them.
The same goes for clothes and accessories that seem to treat young children as fully sexualized adults. Of course the law can’t go here and somehow outlaw clothes that sexualize children, but parents, the media, politicians and others shouldn’t be frightened to speak out. Collective disapproval is a powerful tool in regulating behaviors and establishing social norms.
If children are misbehaving we should say something. If we’re met by a valley of abuse then other adults have a duty to intervene. We don’t want to live in a walk-on-by society. Children learn their morals and their manners from their parents. And that means both parents – including fathers must play a role in bringing up good leaders of our nation.
I don’t pretend that parental responsibility comes easily. The fact is that bringing up children is a very difficult job far harder than anything we do in our professional lives. If people are to take their responsibilities seriously, they need to be respected for it. And this brings me to an old -fashioned word you don’t often hear these days: authority.
Authority is the culture of persuasion that operates in a family or a community with settled rules and understandings and for a Kenyan parent, this is not a vocabulary. Our Wazee used authority in many aspects. At school, Kenyan teachers are given the same authority and some of us we liked it because it shaped our now lives.
It’s the system of natural boundaries, what Wazee wa Kenya calls “moral chains upon our ancestors” Acquiring these chains, sounding out these boundaries, is an essential part of the business of growing up. Of course, we need to teach our children to make the world a better place, to do things like taking your litter home with you or turning the lights off when you leave the house. But we also need to say ‘No’.
Munala Wa Munala.
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