Secular universities pose risks to good parenting in 21st century
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/11/secular-universities-pose-risks-to-good-parenting-in-21st-century/
By Douglas Olum
It was noon on a brightly sunny Wednesday, just a few minutes before 1 O’clock when I and more than 60 other people made our way into the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, Uganda. Most of the people I travelled with in the 67-seater, Uganda Christian University (UCU) owned bus were university staff. One group had already entered the hotel premises and another group comprised of students were following us in a rented bus.People were trickling in as we made our way into the Flower Room.
We were there for the annual Public Lecture organised by UCU and the African Policy Centre (APC). The Flower Room, located on the 5th floor of the multi-storied building,was already more than half full with people from other universities, institutions and organizations. The 2019 topic was “Parenting at risk: Raising children in the 21st century.”
Soon,Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi, the guest lecturer, walks in, dressed in a long,Indian-styled, orange,collarless, long-sleeved shirt. Welcomed by the UCU Vice Chancellor, Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Mr. David Mugawe, he settled upfront where the seats for the Guest Speaker, Discussant, Guest of Honour, the university chancellor and Church of Uganda Archbishop, and the Vice Chancellor were set. The rest of the members soon joined them before the lecture, slated for a 2 p.m. start.
Dr. Mangalwadi, a native of India known as a social reformer and Christian philosopher,addressed a crowd of over 1,000. He first took the crowd through the understanding of the word “father.” To him, a father is not just a man who makes a woman pregnant. But one who actively participates in guiding and raising his child – like God who guided Abraham to make a great nation.
Noting that a nation cannot be great without the knowledge of the father, Dr. Mangalwadi said it was unfortunate that in today’s world, the best universities around the globe do not know the father, and they teach their students with skills that are not backed by God’s knowledge and wisdom.
“Universities are the greatest risk to parenting in this century because they are the source of darkness,” he said. “The universities are not teaching their students important values like love. They make it easier for one to love their neighbor’s wife than their own because the neighbor’s wife will not ask them to mop the house or take care of the child. Loving one’s wife, not a neighbor’s wife, is what universities should teach but that is what most of them are not teaching and that is a great risk to parenting.”
Dr. Mangalwadi said the institution of marriage and the family is being destroyed. He, therefore, encouraged Uganda Christian University to stand up against the “forces of darkness” and cultivate Christian values in its students in order to reverse the trend.
He also said the university has a great role to play to changing the practice in Uganda where women are treated like machines.
“America is the only country in the world that has understood the concept of the family best,” Dr. Mangalwadi said. “In other countries, like Uganda, a woman is a slave in her own house because she cannot cause her husband to do anything. She is the one who cooks the food, tenders the children and does everything in the house while the husband is seated. The woman should not be doing the work that the wheelbarrow should be doing. It is dehumanizing to make a woman do what machines can do.”
He encouraged parents not to lean on their own knowledge while raising their children but involve the Church because their “own intellect is not good enough for proper parenting.”
Dr. Ronah Magara, the Makerere University chairperson of the university council, who was the Guest of Honour at the event, said children pick more of their lifestyles from observing what their parents do.She said while all parents may have good intentions to raise their children into valuable people, parenting is a deliberate, planned process that needs to be rethought because “good intentions are not good enough.”
Dr. Magara said when parents fail to guide their children, the television and other improper sources take over the parenting role, thereby spoiling the children.
Rev. Prof. Edison Kalengyo, who was the discussant, said while universities in Uganda think that children join them while they are already spoiled, many of them get spoiled from the instructions due to lack of guidance.
He, however, blamed promotion of children’s rights without responsibility and absenteeism among additional risks to parenting in this century.
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