Saturday, 29 June 2013

Before your baby clocks 5

Take a look at your baby; boy or a girl, toddler or preteen. Take a look again, because you are looking at a very unique gift! No other individual is like him or her. No other eyes or nose, no matter how similar, is exactly the same as your baby’s. His laughter and frown; his gait and posture are all so uniquely his that none other can parallel it. But it doesn’t end there; it’s the same with his traits and habits, likes and dislikes.
But have you ever wondered why this is so? Is it just so that we can easily tell him apart from another baby? I think not!
Rather, I favour the answer that it is because his path in life is very unique, very his. He doesn’t need someone else’s eyes because he was not designed to see things the way others do. He has no need for another’s laughter, because he wasn’t meant to use his to bring joy to everyone, but only to his own. But I find something amiss in all this beautiful design, not from nature but from our society. It stems from the fact that even before we begin to appreciate the uniqueness of our babies, we ship them off to the assembly lines called schools. And in the schools, where generic employable graduates are being mass-produced, the uniqueness of our babies is lost somewhere underneath the uniform they wear. Maybe wearing a school uniform, in fact inadvertently symbolizes the way schools replace our baby’s uniqueness for societal uniformity.

Don’t get me wrong. By all means, send your baby to school, give him an education. Classroom education increases your child’s chances of future productivity, civic participation, healthy lifestyle, life-expectancy and earning power while diminishing his proclivity to crime. But, when he comes back from school, please do your part to help him retain his uniqueness. Don’t let him forget how special he is and how another him will never be. Even though the school is helping to make him employable, endeavour to provide him with the tools that will enhance his uniqueness or it may be blurred from his memory and consciousness forever.

What I am advocating for in this piece should begin at infanthood. Parents should look for the unique marketable package (UMP) that God has put into their baby; help him develop it, so that he can deploy it (as a career/business venture) along with his school education when he is old enough to become productive. Discovering and developing their UMP has often been a product of painful years of soul-searching for most people. But it needn’t be so, if parents had been actively involved in doing so with them from childhood.

How to discover your baby’s UMP

Let’s examine this with a few examples:

When your baby is playing in the nursery, when he is talking to fellow toddlers or when he is rummaging through your bedroom and you are screaming that he should drop that vase, endeavour to look out for clues as to what his unique package is. Items or activities that your baby is often drawn to are pointers you shouldn’t miss. And I don’t mean the ice-cream in the fridge or the water tub in your backyard. A child who is enamoured by beads or works made from them, not only once but every time, not only at home but even on social outings, not just when he is three years old but when he is four and five and on and on is communicating something to the parents.

When you find that you always have to ask your daughter to stop playing with the knitting needles but three months on, one year on, you are still shouting the same instruction and she is now hiding it in her room to play with when you are out of sight; take note. When your son drums on every surface he finds, including the head of his younger sister and you beat him, but he still continues drumming anyway that you sneakingly catch him drumming in class when last you went to his school; take note.
Another pointer is the sights, smells and sounds that always catch your baby’s attention. What does he watch on the TV, in magazines or as you are driving round town. If your baby always remarks about a bill board on his way to school, listen to what he is saying or what is on the sign. If your daughter does not watch any other channel on cable but the Food Channel and each time she sees you cooking, she comes around to watch and ask those one-million-answerless questions about cooking; take note. If car mags, car racing games and the Grand Prix are recurring themes of your child’s habits; take note.

Finally, watch what your baby always reads without being prodded to. The particular class subjects he loves to read or the kind of books he picks from the shelves in your study, irrespective of whether he is bored or happy, he’s on vacation or school is in session, he is hungry or full are other pointers you don’t want to miss.

Honestly, it sounds like hard work but what about parenting is easy?! However, if you train yourself to recognize patterns it will become easier and it will help if you can journalize your observations. In fact as soon as you have a baby, open a Unique Qualities diary for it. Regularly enter habits and traits that you find bearing resemblance to the points listed above and hand it over to your baby in addition to the other gifts at his/her 18th birthday. I wish my parents kept one for me, but my mum’s memory bank has worked wonders for me still. Thank God she’s very much alive for me to help myself to the things she so vividly remembers.

By the way, it is often difficult getting the attention of our young geniuses. Try these suggestions by Danny Rabara, which many educators have used successfully.

We continue next week, same time, same url with how to develop and deploy your baby's UMP. Have a nice weekend and thanks for reading!


  1. Very insightful piece. Learned a lot from dis. Keep it up bro!

  2. Waow!I'm short of words

  3. Wow! Just reading through! Quite expository I must say! God bless you Segun for this piece!

  4. Wow! Hard-hitting truths nicely delivered! Very insightful piece... Nice one! More wind to your sails sir!

  5. Wow! Hard-hitting truths nicely delivered! Very insightful piece... Nice one! More wind to your sails sir!

  6. This is very instructive for everyone with a child around.

  7. Very enlightening,immediately I read this I looked @ my son(very active toddler) in a diff light and realised,I'v been too harsh on him,less screaming now and more thnks anywayz very great piece looking forward to d next one.God bless

  8. This is wonderful... My daughter loves dancing... she does not care... what you say about her dancing steps...if She does it very well or not, she will continue dance regardless of what you say or think about her inasmuch the music it still on. I remember one day, I took her out to meet a friend (for a business talk) in one club in Ibadan. As we are talking, I don't when she stood up and she started dancing...what caught my attention was that peoples that were passing was looking at her... And a guy just came and said fine little girl you dance well come and dance with...she collected many gifts that night because she amazed them... I believe with this write up... i can go on and develop her dancing skill..

  9. That's the spirit, Ayo. Help her to develop it and you would be presenting the world with graceful dance steps of the next generation.