It was a sunny afternoon; I had decided to spend the weekend at my brother, Obika’s home in Sango Ota, Ogun state. We had just returned from a town meeting, looking all sweaty, so I and Obika settled down for some fresh air at the verandah while his wife got busy preparing lunch for the family. We began to discuss how we would raise money to support an ongoing road construction project in the community where he resided.
The state government seemed to have abandoned roads in Ado-Odo Ota community which houses one of its largest petrol depots.
Just as we were brainstorming on this issue, Collins, my twelve-year-old cousin walked in.
“Dad, when are you going to buy my French textbook now?” he asked, reaching for a red piece of cloth hanging on the rail.
“Abeg make I hear word jare, all the books I have been buying, have you finished reading them?” His dad replied. From Collins’ reaction, I could deduce that he knew he was guilty of not being the studious type but was just trying to impress.
On his father’s behalf, I gently assured him that his demand would be met. As I observed what just transpired between father and son, I casted my mind back to the days when I was like Collins. My parents really laboured to ensure that majority, if not all, of our needs were met. My mum was such an industrious woman; within the space of six years she had ventured into frying Akara (bean cake).
selling fruits and, later, raw food. Her level of business intelligence still beats my imagination till today. Dad too was a popular taxi driver; people living in and around Magodo axis could attest to his courteous approach towards passengers, coupled with a good sense of humor. There is never a dull moment when dad handles the steering.
It gladdens my heart, knowing that I did not disappoint my parents but performed excellently back then in school.
My elder siblings did well to set a good example for me to emulate. None of them had to repeat classes or carry over any course in school. Notwithstanding, they had their own flaws at some point in time. Dad had to scold brother Obika for an average performance in Mathematics when he was in SSS 2. Every well-meaning parent wants to see their children perform well, especially in Mathematics and English language; they may not be so keen about other subjects.
Sometimes I wish I could travel back in time to my childhood days when all I needed to do was keep asking until my needs were met. Unfortunately, this only happens in movies. The reality is, I am now a grown man surrounded with responsibilities; I have bills to pay, a wife and two kids to cater for, and of course, my septuagenarian parents needing care.
It is mind boggling to note that there are many today who still harbor an entitlement mentality, despite having made a transition from childhood to adulthood. They have refused to be weaned from a life of dependence on parents, relatives and friends for survival.
They are yet to discover and explore areas of strength, leaving everything to be determined by fate. They know nothing about building relationships and giving value. They are the type always ‘needing 2k urgently’ and would not hesitate to take offence on anyone who dares to probe further into their situation. These are the category of people always ranting and arguing at the newspaper stands, on radio, on television and on social media about the government not doing enough to help Nigerians. Some of them even transfer this aggression to their homes, beating up their wives for making certain basic demands that should be met.
More disturbing is the fact that you will find quite a number of these people thronging places of worship for prayers from time to time, yet, nothing seems to change about their lives except age because they refuse to practice what they have learnt.
Every phase of life comes with its attendant responsibilities. It is the duty of children to study their books and to help out in house chores like washing the dishes, running errands, fetching water, etc. Childhood is also a good opportunity for talent discovery and development to the end that a person gains mastery in the process of transitioning into adulthood. A phase of working to earn a living and responsibilities.
At old age it is expected that a person ceases to engage in vigorous physical activity and begins to enjoy whatsoever benefit is assigned to him or her, either as an employee or as self-employed. It is also a time in which an individual fully assumes the position of a councillor, giving out useful advice to the younger generation on issues pertaining marriage, business, career, health and others.
As we journey from one phase of life to another, it is expedient that we make the best use of our time, contributing value to ourselves and to other people in every way possible.