On Child Indoctrination

The Deeper Life child learns early of evangelism. Five year old, she comes to school to tell her classmates who wear earrings that it is bad to do so. Year 1 teacher is away and I’m covering for her and so two of the kids run to me to complain, ‘Ms Jennifer, Deborah said it’s bad to wear earrings.’ And so you start racking your head on how to explain to these liluns that people have different beliefs and all that until Deborah adds: ‘also trousers.’

So you look down at your jumpsuit and wonder if Deborah is also trying to spite you. Or spite you.

Jennifer Chinenye Emelife is a writer and a teacher. She lives in Lagos.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Bert says:

    5 years is very young. If you also teach older children, you can teach them that adults are not always right. I’m your teacher, even I’m not always right. That never in their life they will come across someone who is always right. Therefor, to know what is really true, you should learn in life not to accept everything without checking whether things are really true. You can teach them about cognitive dissonance, perhaps not the term but at least that humans don’t like hearing something that is in conflict with what they think they know. And that they act either by ignoring the information, by saying that the other person is bad and wrong and the only good way: Check whether you’re wrong and if not, keep your opinion, and if you’re wrong then change your mind. You’ll be right again. It may take some . I think that you can help their life for the better by teaching them to align with reality, irrespective of what it is. Similarly, confirmation bias is something they should be warned about. The Golden rule would also help to make them better humans It will spread. Good luck with teaching and writing.


    1. Deji says:

      Excellent submission, Bert. Thank you.

      1. Bert says:

        I came to this site via Reddit. If there are people who want to discuss how teachers (and parents) can improve matters in Nigeria, please drop a note in

        I kept thinking about what Jennifer wrote and have been thinking what can be said in a classroom to get students to think. It would be of great help in the rest of their life, I think.

        (The unfinished sentence was: It may take some courage to do that, but it is a one time affair. Staying wrong is permanent and you may be confronted with it again in the future).

      2. Deji says:

        Thanks Bert. Will do that.

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