This narrative expresses the thoughts in the mind of an African youth as she reminisces on her days as a last born teenager in typical African family. Enjoy!
By Temitope Ogundokun
I cannot believe I would be emotional about writing this after taking a flashback of 10 years ago about my life with my parents. It’s been both sides of the coin, though more of the bad than the good.
For the first time in my entire life, I had insomnia thinking about my life. I was woken by thoughts of how I have been badly treated by my parents.
The good sides of African parenting has an inexhaustible list:
▪️You get a fundamental training that can stand you out and make you different from everyone around.
▪️You have this intrinsic auto-correct conscience that brings you to your senses when you are drifting from the normal with a decelerating speed.
▪️You learn that the reverence for others is the beginning of home training, and manners really go a long way.
Enough with the goodies because you know better.
THE BAD ORDEAL OF PARENTING IN AFRICA
Do not our African parents respect the fact that when their child is fully grown, he should be treated as an adult?
You are also confused, right? Irrespective of your level of education, they should learn to accord you some respect the moment you are out of high school. Leaving high school as a teenager, we have already been wired to have a mind of our own, choose what we want, decide when to do things out of our own convenience, etc. But our parents certainly don’t get it.
You would hear: “I gave birth to you and you must do ALL I say when I want!!!” Dang it! That’s stale now. It doesn’t work again.
This is the 21st century. Knowledge is on the increase (as the Holy Book prophesies).
“When I was like you, I did all my parents told me to do. I did not give them any problem” they ‘naggingly’ ring this into our ears.
But they seem to play ignorant on their own intelligence over the fact that “times and seasons have changed” and things do not work the way they used to.
Have you ever been asked “what were you doing when I sent you on an errand? Why did you not do this and that?” in a soft mature and polite manner without they having to raise their voices or nag?
For me, never, it has never happened. Most times, we get yelled at for getting it wrong and never ever get appreciated or applauded when we get it right. Perhaps, rarely.
That’s a partial level of preferential treatment. I have a deep understanding of what this is because I am the chief recipient of this. Let me paint a scenario.
Being the last child (perhaps you are not), I virtually get to do every house chore (it should not be though, but then Africa says it should be) both in health and in sickness (like a marital vow), depression and happy moments, busy and free times. Anytime I forget or decide to take a chill pill from chores and be like “I have older siblings, let them do something in the house too”
My dear reader, that would be World War IX!
“Why are you this lazy?” I get asked. “Hullo, I have been working all day!” If I mistakenly think this loud, I will get this response: “Can you imagine the way she’s talking to me, so disrespectful”.
Deep down in me, I know there are thoughts of me being beaten, knocked on the head or even slapped, despite my age and status.
After the whole saga, I still end up apologizing and my parents would have this to say: “You would be provoking us, did you not read in the Bible that ‘Children obey your parent in the Lord for this is right… train your child so you could have rest’? I have trained you, yet you are not giving me rest”
In my mind, I would run this programmed thought that “the same Bible says ‘Fathers provoke not your children unto wrath…’”
My dear, the day this thought becomes words, you would know better. Your ears would be full of words. You would admonish yourself in the end.
The point here is, our parents should realize the fact that they are also wrong and learn to swallow their pride by coming out blank to apologize.
If you are like me who does not have any source of income (working on it by the way) and you mistakenly ask for money, your judgment day would be brought quicker than before.
“So you can ask for money now but you won’t do anything in the house?” or “Have you mopped, swept, washed, cleaned?”
It is high time you reached a compromise — like I have — of being totally independent, knowing fully well that it would be hard, hunger-stricken.
My dear future children, mum is working very hard to give you a life void of nags, unnecessary beatings, preferential treatment and a life full of Jesus and His words, discipline, training, love, attention, care, apologies when due, credits and appreciation, reward for hard work, listening ears, loving heart, impartiality, hugs, kisses.
#the valiant writer
#The voice of an African child somewhere
#I’m not the last child of my parents