After producing computers, manufacturers install operating systems like windows to support all future applications to be installed in the system. While installing useful software and applications into the system, they also install antiviruses to block harmful applications and software. Connecting their systems to the internet or other devices without installing antivirus exposes their systems to harmful virus attacks. Children are like new computers gathering behaviour-conditioning information, thoughts and characters from their environment. Without instilling resistance to harmful influences, they become exposed to immoral behaviours from internet, peer group, media and environment.
Recently, there is a serious alarm about the level of immorality, recklessness, crime and desperation among youths, especially in Nigeria. Stories of children being sexually active and reckless, joining cult, drug, fraud and robbery gangs fill many with shock. Yet, the influencers of violence, immorality, greed, laziness and indifference flood the streets, internet, fashion, television, music and dance-steps. These mind-damaging influencers may not be expunged from the society without infringing on their rights. However, young ones can be equipped with the reason and willpower to protect their minds from the harmful distractions.
Many cultures believe that humans are born tabula rasa like empty computer disks without prior information. From their first till seventh year, they constantly and rapidly gather different information from their immediate environment, especially the family. They learn how to eat, speak, walk, greet, work and relate with other people and things in the world. They easily copy beliefs, biases, characters and attitudes they observe in their environment, or the ones they are taught. These initial inputs form the behavioural background upon which an individual develops other behaviours and thoughts in life.
Progressive societies rise from people’s agreement to collaborate in using their different human and material resources for improving the society. They train people to get income, prestige and fulfilment by developing and utilizing their potentials for productivity, administration and security. Loyalty to these trainings for social good often depends on the foundational characters in a person. Just like the efficiency of a new software depends on the quality of operating system (OS) installed in a computer. Also, like computer’s antivirus that detects and blocks viruses (harmful software), trained minds discern and resist character-damaging ideas.
Most character-damaging ideas rise from the wrong use of pleasure, fear and desire for possession.
PLEASURE: humans derive pleasure by interacting with their environment, especially humans, through playing, singing, dancing, storytelling, discussing, gathering, working-together, procreating or eating. By engaging in these activities, people develop fondness for the activity, the feeling and/or the people involved. In progressive societies, this fondness inspires people to develop and utilize their specific potentials for sustaining and increasing the pleasure. Yet, when the fondness for these pleasurable activities or people obstructs the person or other people’s development, it becomes vicious. Negative dimensions of pleasure manifest in gadget, drink and drug addictions, gluttony, sexual and other forms of recklessness.
Due to difference in stages of maturity, capacity and functionality, some objects of pleasure are judged inadequate for some people. Minors, people under special formation or duties are barred from some pleasure activities like sex, hard-drugs and alcohol. These sources of pleasure have deep and long-lasting costs on emotions, perceptions and general behaviours. Thus, barring some people from these sources of pleasure is intended to reduce distractions in their duty or developmental process. Also, moderating their use of the unbarred sources of pleasure is necessary to avoid over-attachment that distorts their process of development.
However, you cannot always monitor people to enforce abstinence or moderation in their interaction with sources of pleasure. The excessive monitoring brings resentment, secrecy, dishonesty and smart criminality that deforms people’s minds. Instead, you can convince and guide them to redirect their energies to discover, develop and utilize their potentials for greater happiness. Hence, societies educate members on discipline as the antivirus to block character-damaging sources of pleasure starting from the families before encountering other institutions.
FEAR: is the troubled feeling that comes from thinking about losing ones’ life, opportunity, source or state of pleasure. The pleasure can be lost by the introduction of pain or destruction. People react to fear by seeking to escape from the source of fear or by confronting the source of fear.
- Negative Flight: to avoid losing some possession, comfort, fame, privilege, favour or something else, people lie. Out of fear, people lie to escape justice, duty and social responsibility, or to sustain previous gainful lies. Overcoming this fear requires courage to accept practical truths about one’s situation, and courage to positively confront the situation.
- Positive flight: involves avoiding the confrontation of fear in matters that your honour is not affected. This includes escaping from assassins, armed robbers, unnecessary arguments and rowdy mob.
- Negative confrontation: to confront the fear of loss, some people endanger other people, surrender their values or compromise their standards. Faced with threat of scarcity, torture or loss, such people easily betray others, reveal secrets, steal or kill to survive.
- Positive confrontation: other people directly confront threats to loss without endangering other people nor losing their honour. This reaction to fear requires a lot of courage and discernment. Courage is the ability to do something dangerous, or to face pain or opposition, without showing fear. In case of impending scarcity, courageous people choose to work hard and save better. In cases of pain from justice as punishment, virtue, training or development, they dispose themselves to endure pain and learn from it. In direct threats about social matters, they endure pain in order to protect their honour and the society’s interests. When necessary, they explore diplomatic and non-diplomatic means to neutralize the threats, avoid destruction and fortify their security system.
The antiviruses for fear are discernment and courage. Discernment (sincerity) helps people to evaluate the causes and consequences of the fear for the individual and the society. What are you afraid of losing? Is it worth fighting for, as contribution to preserving oneself, the society and its ideals? Fight for it… Is it not worth fighting for? Let it be.
DESIRE FOR POSSESSION: manifests in gathering items for pleasure, work, security or meaningful life. Using their intelligence, humans developed cars, buildings, airplanes, computers, wears, tools, gadgets and machines for comfortable and meaningful living. Because of the pleasure and developmental assistance they provide at various stages, humans need them in the society. But as people’s desire for these items threatens their availability for us, we desire private possession or privileged access to them. The private possession of these materials enables us to use them when we want, or to exchange them for what we need.
Yet, without moderation according to the individual’s developmental, functional, survival and security needs, the desire for possession grows into GREED. Greed is wanting more money, power, food, etc. than you really need. Greed is stirred by a desire to secure distant-future provisions, to brag or control others using accumulated resources. By seeking to accumulate more than one’s need for functionality, greed contradicts the social principle of collaboration by depriving others of functional resources. Eventually, the greedy person begins to see others as tools for amassing wealth and pleasure, instead of partners in social development. Out of greed, they are ready to lie, kill, rob, betray, endanger others, misplace values and commit serious crimes. There are many viruses (criminal influences) and traps for greed in various societies. And without proper education about the purpose of possessions, people fall into these traps with several emotional and social consequences.
The antiviruses for greed are social responsibility and generosity. Social responsibility and generosity often grow in people through their experience of care and MUTUAL dependence, especially in their early-life stages. People’s mutual dependence in recreational and productive activities within families, neighbourhoods and communities instil the emotional attachment in individuals. This is the feeling that their happiness grows from relating with progressive humans in a society for work and pleasure. The absence of this emotional attachment and responsibility creates the need to bragging or struggling for resources with other people.
The family is the first factory, school or church where humans obtain these antiviruses before entering the bigger society. Unfortunately, modern political and economic arrangements constantly threaten the family’s roles in people’s education. Due to modern work demands, few families stay together or have enough time for family get-togethers. In African societies, the common tasks and plays that bonded people to their communities are gradually eroded by colonial influence. The post-colonial education system replaced the communal disposition for industrial collaboration with individualism, for seizing and privatizing different communal resources. Hence, instead of studying to develop their society with their resources, people struggle to work for the few colonially-aligned firms.
For Africans, re-installing discipline, courage and social responsibility as antiviruses against inordinate pleasure, fear and greed require social reorganization. When African nations reorganize themselves for productivity and development, these behavioural antiviruses will become necessary.
In general, building people’s character from early life require different stages of convictions:
- Humans become alive by relating with other humans: children develop this belief by playing, interacting and enjoying the company of other children. By playing and executing assigned tasks with others children, they express their natural affection and develop social attachment. This provides foundation for more emotional intelligence than locking them up with books, tutors, gadgets, toys and a target to surpass other people, instead of becoming better people. Replacing human interaction, plays and affection with objects can alienate children from their environment. They lose human feeling, become social media-freaks and selfish robots, who see others as threats or tools for pleasure and profit.
- Human affection is feeling for other people: from relating with others, children get involved in other people’s lives. They feel the joys and pains of their playmates, thereby developing compassion and concern for other humans. They learn to empathize with other people.
- Fulfilment comes from working for other people’s fulfilment: feeling compassion for other people leads to efforts to solve social problems. And humans find fulfilment by discovering, developing and utilizing their potentials for satisfying social needs. By exploring different aspects of the society with friends, they show their sense of generosity, potentials and interest in specific areas of social roles. Showing interests in specific areas of social roles informs guardians about children’s professions for fulfilment, instead of imposing their professions and life-financial-targets. Your father is a millionaire lawyer, you must be a billionaire lawyer.
- Discernment and discipline leads to full development of one’s potentials and blocks excess that brings sorrows: without moderation according to needs for development and social contributions, means of fulfilment bring anxiety and sorrow.
- You are responsible for your actions: no monitoring and external force is enough to impose discipline and discernment without the individual’s effort. The best discipline is self-imposed for the highest degree of perfection in one’s social functions and contributions. Teach them the right thing to do, the wrong to avoid, and the reason behind – development and fulfilment. Then, trust them to make the right choices and to manage their freedom and responsibility.
A parent is an inspirational coach, discovering and building children’s strengths and self-confidence, not a self-righteous prosecutor digging faults. If after 15 years of their lives, you still have to threaten them instead of dialoguing, then you have almost lost them. Without family affection, firm guidance and appreciation in their development of discipline, courageous sincerity, productivity and social responsibility, children develop positive-attention-deficiency. They either become bitter people pouring their frustration on others, or vulnerable people seeking validation from outside, possibly dangerous sources.
 Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, International Student’s Edition. S. V. courage
 Ibid. S.V. Greed
 Chukwunwike Enekwechi, “Managing the hypocrisy of international relations”
 Chukwunwike Enekwechi, “The social research for a new Nigeria” in Restartnaija June 5, 2018. https://restartnaija.com/2018/06/05/social-research-new-consented-nigeria/ retrieved