In human development beginning from childhood to adolescent there is what Psychologist term as ‘Critical period’. It is a very delicate time in human development, especially childhood.
The future of every family, social or religious organisation and a nation depend enormously and deeply on how their young ones or children are raised or treated. Hence, where a country will be in future is determined by how that nation treats their children or young ones. Therefore, the children of this nation must be given directional training to yield the desired results. For the reason that, the system put in place always determine the outcome. Thus, the results desired are dependent on the systems put in place.
Critical period really is a specific time during which an organism (man) has to experience stimuli order to progress through developmental stages properly. As human beings we have a critical period for language development. In particular, if children do not start speaking around a certain time, it can become even more difficult for them to pick up their mother tongues.
Again, critical period in Psychology refers to a specific time during development, when the brain is particularly receptive to acquiring a skill or knowledge. Research has tacitly established that, when exposure occurs after this critical period has elapsed, it is much less effective. For example critical period occur during early childhood, when the brain is extremely flexible in adapting to new types of information. As more information is taken in the brain becomes entrenched in certain types of processing making it difficult to acquire new information when fully matured or after puberty.
Additionally, a controversial type of critical period is the period for learning foreign language. Infants and young children readily learn multiple languages with native – level proficiency. However, starting around puberty this ability to learn a new language rapidly declines, with many people unable to ever reach native fluency. The above goes to confirm the saying that, ‘you cannot teach an old dog new trick’. In other words puppies are given all tricks before maturity.
Critical period a term in Psychology, hence, gives a clear indication on how to skew nation building to the benefit of her citizens. The failure to condition and deliberately feed and expose younger generation to made in Ghana products and programmes has contributed immensely to the country’s underdevelopment. Development therefore, is deliberate and an intentional act to transform a nation and her citizens.
In this write up I will put forward some of the medium which has led to Ghanaians refusal to patronizing locally manufactured products.
The quest for Ghana to take her place among the community of industrialised nations such as Malaysia is hinged on what as Ghanaians we are exposed to at childhood to adolescent. Until as a nation we recue or divorce ourselves from our marriage to foreign programmes, activities and products every frantic effort will be wishful thinking. Therefore, the Government and the Educationist must look into what makes up the Ghanaian conviction.
Let’s consider the pictures at the back of exercise books of primary school children. They are made of foreign personalities. In football for instance, pictures of Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and that of Lionel Messi of Barcelona and from other European Leagues are colourfully decorating the back of these exercise books. Again, in the area of music and movies the pictures are made up of Hollywood starts and Western music artist. In boxing the image of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are also splashed out there. When kids at such tender age are exposed to foreign stars of varied backgrounds, what will they look out for in later years?
The Nature Argument
Those who believe in the nature argument will agree that, kids at their early years of development are considered ‘tabula rasa’, meaning they (children) have a brain that looks like clean slate. Hence, there are no pre-templates or ideas already on the brain. Therefore, at the tender age of these kids mental development will it not be prudent the inputs are Ghana made? As these kids develop mentally, it is wise to place before them everything Ghanaian. It will equally be unwise to deploy negative stories to force feed children with false facts about other ethnic or race groups.
A public speaker, Stephen Covey said, “I am not the product of my circumstances. I am the product of my decisions” Hence, we are the makeup of what our society teaches. Therefore, the Ghanaian child’s taste and preferences are made up by what society has to offer them. Then, what is the Ghanaian society of today offering to their future (children) leaders? For instance, what type of biscuits are these kids being fed with? And are there available Ghanaian biscuits on the markets?
It is incumbent on the leaders of today to feed the Ghanaian child with everything made in Ghana to inculcate in them taste for Ghanaian products. Therefore, whether it is the nature or nurture argument, what the Ghanaian child is exposed to at childhood determines who they will become in future.
The attempt to establish a factory in every Metropolitan, Municipal and District in Ghana is very laudable. However, authorities and stakeholders should be very careful. The idea is tremendous; however, the taste and trust in Ghanaian made products hold no sway over foreign goods. Confidence in a product is reflected in its qualities and that same product delivering the needed purpose for which it was designed to serve. Hence, the confidence to taste and trust a Ghanaian product, for example rice, should start during childhood.
The future of every project or programme depends on the young generation of the implementers. Hence, the survival and the continuous flourishing of ventures rest on how the younger generation is planned for in the programme(s) and carried long. For instance, what is the plan for the younger or future spectators of Ghana football like? Because, the current generation of spectators are cable or pay per view television European football fans, while our stadiums are going empty gradually. European football is feeding our current generation to the detriment of Ghana football.
The insecurity in our various stadia is another contributing factor. We seem to be playing the denial about the security gap; however, it is gradually affecting the fortunes of Ghana football.
Additionally, when we watch European football tournaments or Club football, kids and toddlers are brought to the stadium. This is to generate, nurture and grow the next generational spectators of European Club and tournament football. How many parents are willing to either take their children or allow them to go to the various stadia across the country? Will it be in sync with truth that, Ghanaians as a people, we do not plan for the future? Because, in truth, the future of Ghana football is bleak as compared to the evergreen European football, which is well marketed and promoted among their citizens, especially, the younger generation. We need to improve upon security in the various stadia as well as the facilities to enhance Ghana football. Development in whatever form or shade should be deliberate. Hence, when Singapore was expelled from the Malaysian Federation, the late Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) said to the people of Singapore, “The world does not owe us a living, we cannot live by the begging bowl” Therefore, whatever Singapore has achieved has been deliberate and dedication premised to attain a certain target. This is based on the belief of the late Lee Kuan Yew to the effect that, “Democracy does not necessarily bring about development. Development is deliberate”
Adding, Norman Vincent Peale a Minister and Author also says, “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that” Ghana and for that matter Ghanaians are capable of transforming Ghana through the application and implementation of beliefs of critical period.
Factually, the world owes not Ghana and by extension Ghanaians a living and survival by the begging bowl as well. The above clearly illustrates that the strategy to skew citizens to go for or after Ghana made and everything Ghanaian should start at childhood. The saying goes that, one cannot teach old dog new tricks. Hence, what is expected to be introduced to the Ghanaian child should be done early enough before puberty. In other words, the child needs to develop the taste and confidence in Ghanaian goods and products at childhood.
However, many parents are feeding their children with false facts about other ethnic groups thereby creating disaffection, hatred and mistrust among their children against others. It gains much effect, because, that is the ripe age that these kids can be brain washed to accept or reject an idea.
The stage between childhood and puberty is the right age to get children to accept and appreciate the beauty in diversity.