3rd August, 2010
Last week we started this topic on raising children. Thanks for all your comments and questions. Raising children is a very tough job. In fact, it is the most tasking yet, most rewarding job on the face of the earth. It is sad that mothers of our time have failed in their calling as mothers. We have now taken it to be all about money.
We see mothers now give money and good things of life in exchange for their time and companionship. No amount of money and comfort can take the place of a motherâ€™s love. We have been so deceived by the society and the media to believe that our children are happy once we give them money. We have been lured into believing the lie that all our children need is holidays to Disneyland and constant visits to Silverbird Galleria.
Have you listened to our children talk in schools and churches? All that matters to them now is the latest movie, holidays, fashion, hairstyle, music…. No child wants to talk about God any longer. They donâ€™t want to discuss education and societal values. This is sad because we have destroyed the lives of our children in our quest to make them better than their peers.
I see parents that cannot afford sending their wards to the USA or Canada for studies struggling so hard and doing things they shouldnâ€™t do because they want to prove a point. I always ask, how many of our leaders, good leaders studied abroad? I have even made the decision not to send my kids outside Africa for education, especially their first degree.
Check very well, how many of those kids have come back to be better than the ones trained here in our continent? They forget where they are coming from and embrace the â€œOyibo manâ€™s culture” according to Bright Chimezie. They donâ€™t even bother about their parents any longer. Some of them end up in drugs and other terrible crimes. A very popular elder statesman was once asked what his greatest regret in his life is. He said it is sending his children to study abroad.
Schools now push parents so hard to pay for IGCSE just because they have so much to gain from the payment. A teacher in the school where my daughter is, an elderly man, called aside and advised me not to make that mistake. He told me a lot about parents coming back to them to lament sending their kids abroad.
We send our kids abroad and make them forget their roots. I was dumbfounded the day I met a lady in a supermarket. She said she is from Anambra State, my state. We got talking and when I asked to know her town, she said Awka. I then asked, is it Awka Etiti or just Awka? To my bewilderment, a lady that wonâ€™t be less than 27 didnâ€™t know where she came from. I know a lot of women dread going home during festive seasons. You see nothing good in taking your Ã„jebutter child to the village. You want to take them round the world. Madam, very soon, you will be living in regrets.
I stopped my little daughterâ€™s relationship with a girl in her class. All the girl does is dance, talk on phone, party, eat out, but in school, she is nowhere. I later found out that she is just following the motherâ€™s footsteps. The woman is constantly partying, gets drunk, travel from one place to the other and sleeps with other men, even while married.
What about housework? We surround our children with so many househelps and make them feel like egg. Some mothers even frown when they see their children doing any housework. This is why girls are now all over the place, but there is no wife for men to marry. My own daughter was about going that way when I put my feet down to turn her in the right direction. I first removed her from a very expensive school where they grow up not to know there are two sides of life.
I took her to a school where she can be punished and brought up the godly way. She hated it at first, but I thank God that the teachers were wonderful enough to tolerate her and now she is enjoying the school. I make her to sometimes prepare breakfast for the whole house now and cook light dinners for her siblings. I send her to buy things within the estate. I recently gave an order that she must sweep and mop the house, upstairs, downstairs every other day. She is not finding it funny, but she has to obey me for her own good.
When you do all these to your daughter, itâ€™s hard, that I can tell you. She will cry and frown at it. Even your own husband may try to stop you, but madam, itâ€™s for her future. My people have an adage that says, if a child grows up responsible, the father takes the glory, but if that child turns out bad, he is the child of the woman. I was so happy the day a neighbour sent me a text and at the end of it said “my regards to your lovely, well behaved kidsâ€. I was so proud of myself and said even if I fail in other things, thank God I have not failed as a mother. No amount of money, no amount of title and social status can substitute for my joy when eventually I see my children as responsible and good citizens of Nigeria.
What about parties? Some mothers have sown this evil seed in their children that all they think of every weekend is going to the movies and parties. What are the movies they go to watch? Movies that teach them how to shoot and be rude to adults? Movies that have nothing to do with the African culture. There was a time my daughter started getting so excited about going to the movies with her friends. I had to stop that. She doesnâ€™t like hearing this, but I always remind her that the greatest thing she can do for herself is growing up a real woman.
You keep buying clothes for your children to stand out every weekend because there must be a party to attend. Just like some mothers, some children now make enquiries to know where it is happening. Ahah! we are only trying to bring up children who will be moving from one club house to the other as adults. I believe you are either a Muslim or a Christian. Why not make them spend more time in the church, mosque, reading their books, or at home learning from you.
Someone made a comment the other day that also got me excited. She said: “Amara, you are a great mother; you have so made these kids enjoy nothing more but their own company. I hardly attend parties, in fact, it’s more than seven years ago until this past june. My kids will always tell their friends not to bother inviting their mummy. There are more important things to do with our time than jumping from one place to the other, partying even when you are not invited.
What about family devotion? When was the last time you prayed with your kids? I was once like that. I nearly missed it because I go to work and getting back home I am too tired to pray with them. But a friend who spent a night in my house changed me. I now make sure I give them Bible verses to read everyday and then recite during prayers.
Mothers, please be careful what you give your children to wear.Yes, they may be children, but know that they will grow up with that. I was shocked the day I brought one very skimpy, lovely skirt and wanted my second daughter to wear it. You know what, she simply said: “sorry mum, I canâ€™t wear it, itâ€™s too short.â€ My sons can never dress like American gangsters.Please teach your children what moderation is when it comes to dressing. Stop buying strapless or monostrap tops for them. I am not against anybody wearing trousers and dressing good. I wear trousers, my children wear, but there are some clothes you shouldnâ€™t be seen wearing. There are tops with crazy write-ups.There are clothes for men that should be left for the mad man on the street.
Parents now buy very expensive phones for their children. Only my first daughter who is 14 has a GSM phone. My children go to school and come back telling me about their classmates with phones. Mothers, please retrace your step back to where you missed it. What are they doing with the mobile phones? I have a house phone and my children use it whenever they want to speak with their friends.
A lot is going on with the use of the GSM. So many of these children get to know what pornography is so early in life through the use of GSM phones. You may think it is stylish. I know you want to beat your friend to it, but you are making a grievous mistake. Some little girls and boys now have blackberry phones. This is why they come out of school with very poor results. Even the internet you have at home could be destroying your children. It’s fashionable, yes, but tell yourself the truth, what good has it done to your child?
Remember, no amount of money and social comfort can take the place of your love and time for your children. You need to see my kids talk to me, they donâ€™t talk to me as their mother. We talk as friends. We crack jokes; they know me as much as I know them. They find comfort confiding in me.
Before I stop, I must say this. A lot of parents frown and feel like killing their children once they notice they have a boyfriend or girlfriend. I donâ€™t think we should be doing that. Children get to a stage in their growth where they start getting attracted to the opposite sex. Religion cannot stop this. Your children may not let you know they are into it and there is no way you can ever get to know if they donâ€™t want you to know. This is why I say you must be their friend.
What do you do when you notice this? Dont shout, get closer to him or her. Ask questions about the other person and if possible, get to know his or her parents. Become family friends and occasionally invite them over to the house .Talk about relationships with them. Guide them and make them see you as a part of it. This way they can always open up to you and let you know whatever it is that bothers them. This is the easiest way to keep them from falling into sex before marriage. You may not agree with me. You could be one of those with the view that things should be done the way they were done in the 70s.We are now in the computer age where kids get mature so early in life.