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‘Samu Ekhator: Your Children Are Not to Blame

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dreamstime_m_12825247The truth is, a joke has to be funny. A witch has to know her broom; some things just have their code. A laid down ‘how’ of some sort. But what’s the code for child training? How do we define the line between discipline and tearing down esteem of our little one? In hope that you’ll be generous enough with your time to finish this, you’re probably going to ask “what does he even know about parenting? He’s never even seen the pains of labour, nor had to care for an overbearing teen!” You will be correct; but let me quickly add that I’ve been a child, I live near you and I’ve been around for a while.

Parenting is not a mere dance in the rain. It dwarfs the many troubles that comes with wooing a difficult girl. Parents go through a lot for their children, I see it every day. The selling of beads, jewelry and lace to pay the hospital fees of Odion and Ovbokhan; the last-minute borrowing that enabled you get Udoka’s Christmas and New Year clothes so as to save his fragile esteem; the swell times you missed with the guys to come home early enough so Osazee could see you before he went to bed. Parents are a wonder (of course there are exceptions).

The way I see it, you don’t deserve a medal for caring for your child. Raising children is not ‘OLIDARA’, your child should not pay you back. No child begged to be born, no child! If you had the ‘pleasure’ of producing children, it’s only normal that you summon the complementary decency to raise them joyfully and not grudgingly. Stop selling pressure to your children! Stop burdening young minds with the science of bread-winning.

Our streets are heavily laden with broken children trying to pay their parents back as a debt for raising them. What nonsense! Isoken is spreading her legs like rumour in every corner of Elegushi, because you told her she was your only way out of the slum. Now you wonder why Chris allowed them sell cocaine to him. Maybe, he would have trekked a more honourable route to limelight if you hadn’t made a chorus about how your neighbour’s son Imatitikua didn’t have two heads anytime he came second in his class. That day, you bruised the frail ego of your son. A child with a damaged self, will grow into a like adult. The heart of a child can be more easily reached by those they trust – Parents. So also are their dreams and self-esteem.

When Farhan in 3-Idiots was asked by the interview board the reason for his consistent poor grade in college, he cited FEAR! He said in his own words, “my parents thought I would save them from poverty and that scared me”. The child whom the parents wear the guilt of parental debt, they scare to failure.

It’s quite unfortunate that you couldn’t achieve your childhood dream of becoming a doctor, pilot, novelist, lawyer, farmer, businessman, engineer, anything! I’m sorry, but your children can’t live your dream for you. They should not. Only you can do that. Maybe, you want Fabian Jnr to be the first Pilot in the family or clan or church or village, but he chose Photography. Now your love for him is now as dry as the flower betrayed by the weather. It will be hard to understand, but try. Maybe it’s a family tradition for Adesuwa to be a lawyer but she simply wants to teach dancing and poetry. A dream is a dream, no matter what! It’s better to be small and fulfilled than to be big and miserable! Teach them how to dream, not what to dream. When you know better, you do better. When know better that your children are full human beings, you’ll treat them with love and respect. Apologize to your children for the pressures, tell them they’re not perfect.

As you plan marriage and dream of childbirth also prepare for parenting. Let your children meet you ready! Assure them that your love and commitment to them is UNCONDITIONAL. Teach them to live a great life. Tell them that you’re responsible for them and not the other way around. Teach them to pursue excellence and not perfection, to cook their own dream not warm your own, to live their lives to the fullest and free of the guilt of parental debt. Preach to them personal greatness. Remind them that it was a privilege to parent them and there’s no debt whatsoever to be paid. Let them know that whatever noble craft they pursue; they have your blessing. Teach them that children are to bring honour to a home, not salvation.

And as you allow your children the liberty to live their life and say like Raju’s father, “go live your life my child’, you will save their children. And the children after them.

Photo Credit: Goldenkb | Dreamstime.com

I'm a farmer. I write when I'm not in playing or wondering why cooking takes so much time. I think every matter has two handles. I'm @samuhub on social media. Link: www.samuhub.blogspot.com

24 Comments

  1. Oreofe

    November 30, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Amazing!!!!!!!! God bless you.
    People this is where I expect you to comment and encourage the writer

  2. Xisca

    November 30, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Well articulated hun. I could really relate to the article. As if i were the child.

  3. Tracy

    November 30, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Beautifully written!! You are blessed! You are a wise somebody and your children would be both priviledged, blessed to have you as a father. Thanks a billion for this article.

  4. Nengi

    November 30, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Excellent. I am with you.

  5. jefka

    November 30, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I sent this link to my mother and her response was same as all my 24 years ” Nwi, you are the daughter who God has appointed to take me outta this country and bring me glory”
    Thing is most parents whilst wanting the best for their kids end up unconsciously moulding the child for a particular destiny. (Please take note of the most and not all parents).
    When I was 5, I was called the wonder child. I could dance, sing, act,play 5 games excellently and I learnt how to write in cursive. My parents were elated at the thought of having such an awesome child who not only did all mentioned and more, but was in addition very book smart.
    Fast forward 7 years later, I started failing woefully in class. From top of the class to 25th. My mum was devastated. What happened she kept asking. Well to answer that question…….I simply wasn’t into science. I wanted to be an art student because I intended to be a script writer.
    Till today,the grace of God gets me by, being street smart also saw me through but I wake up each morning feeling very unfufilled.
    Now I can’t even go back to school to study an art course because of this damned recession.

    • Marian

      November 30, 2016 at 11:32 pm

      Check online, they have a lot of free courses you may find helpful till you can save up enough for a formal one. So many artist now, i see their work online, you should reachout to them.

    • Catherine

      December 1, 2016 at 2:43 am

      Check coursera

    • advertising dear

      December 1, 2016 at 8:38 am

      Find a job in advertising. I had that same issue; loved the arts and studied a science course, I ended up in advertising and loved it. 4 years later I got bored with the ‘creative lifestyle’ and now I’m a client – an assistant marketing manager.

      That said, we owe it to our parents to honour them with the fruit of our increase as much as we can afford. Anyone who gets into crime most times had the propensity for it.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      December 1, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      Yes oh, Coursera is the real deal for grabbing a few free courses.

      It’s not too late for that change oh – as my people dey talk am, “Anytime when you wake na your morning”. Start looking into online and other resources to develop yourself creatively as your first step.

      @ ‘Samu (author of this article), this was a really good read. And insightful… no be small “Isoken is spreading her legs like rumour in every corner of Elegushi, because you told her she was your only way out of the slum.” Very true and very sad.

  6. itohan

    November 30, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    amazing write up as a parent have learnt from this thanks

  7. where is the glossary

    November 30, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Hello writer, I can totally relate to all ur Bini terms and analogies . Very good good read. Keep writing

  8. Iya

    November 30, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    “Raising children is not ‘OLIDARA’, your child should not pay you back. No child begged to be born, no child! If you had the ‘pleasure’ of producing children, it’s only normal that you summon the complementary decency to raise them joyfully and not grudgingly. Stop selling pressure to your children! Stop burdening young minds with the science of bread-winning.”

    I almost started crying reading this…the excerpt I pasted above is what has been in my head continuously for the past year. My father has been making it seem like the only reason he played his role is only for himself; that we his children will grow up and take care of him simply because he did what was required of him as a father. Expecting us to help out with family responsibilities while trying to build our own lives. We are 6 children and it’s particularly bad for the first 3 of us because we know he expects us to help in taking care of the last 3. We didn’t give birth to those children, neither did we ask to be born and everyday we feel bad that we can’t do more. He’s always comparing. “This one’s son built house for his father; this one’s daughter bought car for her father.” It’s exhausting listening to him. Sometimes I just want to lash out “As we can’t do all those things, what do you now want us to do??! Become prostitutes?!” Really exhausting…

  9. Nene

    November 30, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Parent live vicariously through their kids and it’s not fair.

  10. Marian

    November 30, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Loved the article. I see a lot of peopke stuck in a path their parent wanted for them.

    I also see people who are struggling in their mid to late 20s because they had too much free will and dismissed the advice of their parent or did not even have parents to advice them. I graduated with a friend who switched his major to what he thought he wanted and went against his parents advice. He’s so miserable now and i feel so bad for him. He can not get a job in his field and it’s been more than four years.

    I think Nigerian parents sometimes fail in the way they talk to their children. They don’t explain things and expect you to just follow their orders. I had to study my mom and learn how to talk to her. If she says do A i say ok then later go back to explain why i want to do B and we reason it out together.
    Try to understand your parents too. You can’t expect a parent who struggled to make ends meet to be okay with a child trying to study something they are not familiar with. Parents want their children to be better than them and the fear of their children not making it in life is what propels a lot of them to force kids to study medcine, Law… Most of the successful people they know are lawyers, doctors, accountant… so they equate success to those careers. You just have to acknowledge their fear and help them to understand you want the same thing for yourself. Show them people who are successful in what you want. ( this will not always work though)

  11. Kayla

    December 1, 2016 at 4:55 am

    @marian I really heart u right now, u have said it all. We cannot all blame our parents for every wrong. They only did what they know was best.

  12. LEM

    December 1, 2016 at 8:53 am

    ‘No child asked to born. None!’ Key phrase here. I mentally have to remind myself of this when my kids sometimes get on my last nerve to prevent me from doing/saying something nasty. I thank God for my parents who encouraged us to follow our passion and don’t try to make us feel responsible for them. Sometimes I unconsciously wish for my kids to follow a particular path but I have to mentally remind myself that I can’t mound their lives according to my fit. This sums it up I think ‘Better to be small and fulfilled than big and miserable’ PS please more articles from you, this was a winner.

    • LEM

      December 1, 2016 at 8:54 am

      *Mould not mound

  13. E

    December 1, 2016 at 9:30 am

    “Spreading legs like rumour “……Lol.. kuku kii me.

    Meanwhile, this is a beautiful piece. I read with teary eyes. Thank you for this.

  14. nwanyi na aga aga

    December 1, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Yes we didn’t ask to be born, neither did we ask to be taken care of. Our parents took care of us because they chose to. They could have chosen to let us be, just feed us and let us be what we wish to be in life, armed robber, rapist, kidnapper, teacher, dancer, singer, doctor etc. Or better still put us up for adoption. But they didn’t, they chose to steer us in the path they best thought fit. They dream of when we will be greater than them so they push us in the best way they KNOW, so that life will treat us better than it treated them, for that we ought to be grateful YES. Be grateful. I knew people whose parents didn’t bother about the kind of secondary school nor university they went to. I could remember my parents peering through their spectacles pondering on a choice of secondary school, calculating the cost impact of such high end secondary schools but choosing to cut down on their luxuries to ensure I had a good childhood with my siblings. For that I am grateful. Even though they steered me towards science today I have steered myself back to arts. If your parents forced you to take sciences when you were young, what happened after you had your independence from them? Abi are you still dependent at 22+ and ungrateful?
    Did i read that someone took cocaine because he was pushed to be a better person? Lool! At least he had parents to push him, some of his mates the only push they ever got was from touts pushing them out of their temporary abode under the bridge to the hot choking sun. Their parents they will never be able to recognize. True some parents live their dreams through their kids, but what happened after you got that medical degree? how come you didn’t go dancing and become the best? After that accounting degree, what stopped you from releasing an album that topped charts? Abi have you not seen ex-bankers that are known musicians, lawyers turned comedians? Let us learn how to take responsibility for our failures and stop projecting it to others. Determination is the key to success, if you are determined you will make it, irrespective of the obstacles on the way.

    • Sonia Paloma

      December 1, 2016 at 11:07 am

      I think you missed the whole point of this article *sigh*

    • Yinka

      December 1, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      “because they chose to” no its actually their responsibility.And read the post again,this time slowly.

    • Just Sayin'

      December 1, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      @nwanyi na aga aga…
      You missed it completely. YOU sound so off-key and defensive as if you are the acting spokesperson for the council of rigid parents aka my-pikin-must-tow-this-path-or-nuts. Coincidentally you represent a tribe most guilty of this.
      If you are looking for a tribe in Nigeria that drives and overburden thier children with selfish transfered aspiration its the IGBOS. So many of them languishing in underachievement because of what Papa and Mama expects, want or dont want.

    • Nwafor

      December 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      @ Just Sayin; Really, how has this turned into a tribalism issue! Nwanyi na aga aga clearly has her own opinionated view about child raising but this is not the forum for classifying one group of people as this or that. The article is food for thought and counsel for those who will heed to its advice. That judgemental quick to point & identify someone else as the “other” is why progress culturally & holistically evades Nigerians like you.

  15. 'samu ekhator

    December 3, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Thank you all for stopping here to read this and also for taking out your time to comment. I’m glad we all could relate.

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