A high-profile Family Enrichment dinner held, last Friday, in Kigali reminded many about the importance of the family.
Speakers called for the strengthening of the cherished family values, with President Paul Kagame, in particular, saying that strong families form strong nations. Thanks to the advent of capitalism and modernity, our families are less cohesive and bonded today than in the past.
Previously, families offered more than just shelter and care. They were a source of basic education and core values for every child. That’s where children would get to know all about their culture, heritage and they grew up as proud members of their respective families and communities.
Families passed on cultural values and beliefs from generation to generation, and by extension, the entire nation would be built around strong and effective families. They offered a sense of belonging and identity to their members, and served as the backbone of the nation.
Today, the story is a bit different. Parents rarely sit with their children and grand children to tell them those old stories they were told by their own parents around the night fire. Families have increasingly given up on their educational role, with a false belief that schools will do the job alone.
Many parents nowadays tend to think that their role is just to pay tuition fees and that the rest is for the teacher. They are wrong; teachers did not take the place of parents. Their contribution should be seen as supplementary to the duties of fathers and mothers.
Teachers are paid to impart knowledge and skills, but parents’ role is much broader. It’s about shaping responsible children and citizens.
If the family re-occupies its original place in the society, the result will be reflected on the communities we live in and the nation at large. It will give rise to a generation of highly cultured and inspired citizens who will jealously guard both the family and national values and identity.