A veteran actor and Theatre Director, Lari Williams, on Sunday advised parents and school administrators to emphasise discipline and morals in the training of school children.
Williams spoke at the end of the enactment of his play, “The people’s Court’’ and some of his poems, by children of Holy Family School, in Lagos.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the show was a kick off of his celebration of 50 years in the entertainment industry tagged `Lari Williams at 50 on stage’.
According to him, the virtues that existed in school children over two decades ago no longer exist in the current school system.
“Gone are the days where school children ran over themselves at the sight of their instructors or even their voice; what we see today is what they call, `modern education.’
“Is modernisation meant to be an improvement or degeneration of the virtues? We should see our children projecting these values and morals of discipline, truthfulness and decency,’’ he said.
Williams said Nigeria was known for respect and morals in children, unlike what is obtained abroad, but noted that this was gradually fading following their exposure to films and internet.
“Most Nigerians in the Diaspora struggled to bring back their children when they get to the secondary level so that they would be given that moral and virtues training.
“That tells you that Nigeria has all it takes to train a child with our values and tradition, but all that is gradually fading away, which calls for concern by both parents and school administrators,’’ he said.
He said that his play, ‘The People’s Court’ is a projection of the dangers of telling a lie and getting involved in stealing other people’s property, which would result to imprisonment if proven guilty in court.
“My play is a warning to children on the dangers of not being truthful or seeking what does not belong to you; the school teachers and parents must ensure they lend their voice to this course,’’ he said.
Williams, who started his acting career in Stratford, in London, urged parents to check the friends their children keep both in school and during vacation, which influenced their personality.
“The kind of peer groups these children keep is very important and this must be checked and monitored by the school teachers and parents respectively.
“The way they dress, the choice of language, the books they read and having access to the internet are those setbacks affecting the current generation of children which demands a check,’’ he said.
Williams also enjoined schools to carry out more stage plays and introduce literature texts that would assist the projection of these virtues and morals in the children.
The poet, playwright, director and dancer, commenced the celebration of ‘Lari Williams at 50 on stage’ with a time out with school children.
He also awarded gifts to outstanding children in English language and literature –Sharon Amarachi and Blessing Kelechi — while Favour Noris and Mary Orji got the award as best actors in his play.
The grand finale of the celebration of ‘Lari Williams at 50 on stage’ will come up in September at the National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos.