The morality of sharing money to Pupils in Imo (2)

As October 1 draws near

MIND AND BODY with Rev. Fr. Vincent E. Arisukwu

Wrong Formation: St. Paul’s foremost warning to Timothy is, “The love of money is the root of all evils” (1Tim. 6: 10). The worst offense any parent could commit against his child will be to introduce him to money as a standard for either consolation or love. Using money to attract a child is like using bone to attract dogs. When the bone is not available, the dog refuses to listen to the voice of the owner and could go wild. And scripture says, “Teach a child how he should live, and he will remember it all his life” (Prov. 22: 6). Let us therefore expose the harm which this practice of sharing money to children does to both the children and the society at large. Talking about the Almajiris in Northern Nigeria, everyone knows that the Almajiris would detest education in as much as the proper incentive is not available. Giving money to children who don’t recognize the value of education simply places emphasis wrongly. Education and money are two different things. When a child develops apathy for school and the parents give him money, watch that child the next day, he will cry looking up to the parents for money again and again. But if the parents flog that child the first day and drag him to school; he will promptly dress himself up the next day in order to avoid being whipped by his parents. To use money to attract children to school is thus a wrong formation, indeed laying bad foundation that will eventually collapse. It makes them to love money more than their academics. Again, St. Paul maintained that we can’t do evil so that good may emerge (Cf. Rom. 6: 1). This is captured in the common English parlance that says, “It is better to teach a child how to fish than to give him fish”. The best way to show a child the means to fishing is by providing him with good and qualitative education. This simply introduces him to the proper value of money and equips him in the best ways to acquire it. It doesn’t consist in dashing him money and feeding him with a false sense of imagining that money is easy to come by. This is what is happening here whereby the government has become one Sancta Claus that comes with lorry loads of money to distribute freely to children. Sharing money to children in Primary and secondary Schools is evil.


Disaffection: On the part of the parent- child relationship, this can instill disaffection for parents by their children. In a situation where a parent never gives the child money to spend in school and the child also comes back with money received from the government to give to same parent on demand, that child might begin to feel that the parent is good for nothing or even hated by his parent. Ordinarily, with the free education, it looks virtually as if parents don’t contribute to the children’s upkeep, what more when they come home to donate to their parents. Sharing money to the child can therefore end up corrupting the child by making him to have a very wrong notion of what money can do as well as it could inject a wrong image of the parents into the children’s psyche.


Pilfering: When a child gets used to going to school with money, experience shows that the tendency is for him to look for where to get it when the money is not available. This leads to pilfering. The child loses concentration in whatever he is doing because he feels the urge to buy one item or the other in order to assuage his thirst. This is the case here. Our observation revealed that some of these children who receive the money from the government don’t account for them before their parents. Some use it to buy ice cream, biscuits and groundnut rather than present the money to their parents for proper use. The much that some parents could do would be to flog the child whereas some only scold and curse, but the deed is done as the said child continues to wait for another opportunity to use his money as it pleases him. One was audacious to ask the dad when queried on the whereabouts of the money given to him by the governor, “Does it concern you? Is it not my money by the way?” Yet the same child finishes squandering the money and begins to steal from the dad and mom because he has become accustom to having money in his pockets. Sharing money to school children promotes stealing.


Endangering the Life of Children: When the call came complaining that children were returning from school at about 7.00pm, I imagined the risks involved in such venture. The question I asked myself was whether the risk was worth the money. What I don’t know is whether that is recurrent or if it was a mistake that those who shared the money in such schools could wait till evening to do the job. Two things are involved here. One is that the children could be exposed to greater danger or harm on the road while going back at such odd time. They could fall prey to child snatchers, get lost or even be injured under darkness.


They could also be tempted to use the money to solve their hunger problem having spent not less than twelve hours in school waiting for 300naira or 500naira as the case may be. Then the aim would be defeated.


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