For Adults on Children’s Day

Featured

Children

Aunt Nikki* called out to me as I walked past her shop. I was hoping she won’t see me as I walked past, but alas I wasn’t so lucky. She spotted and called out to me.

I summoned up my trademark smile and turned to her. “Kaa Aunty.” (Good evening aunty) I greeted her.

“Chinma imelagi?” (Chinma how are you?) She asked in response.

“Adim mma. I lua le?” (I’m fine, are you back?) I asked her. I asked her referring to the trip I knew she had taken recently.

“Alua lem. Mommy gi a?” (I’m fine. How is your mom?) She responded and asked.

On and on the conversation went. When I finally continued my journey, a thought occurred to me: I had become my mother!

My mother is the strongest woman I’ve met, just by being, she challenges me to be better. Let’s not even get into her beauty; my sister and I have concluded our family’s beauty is one that gets better with age. That’s the only way to get through the ‘your mom is more beautiful than you’ comments. I love and admire my mom very much, so much that I love it when people say I’m just like her. But I don’t want to be ‘all of her’. There’s some of her character I would rather do without. Top of my mind is the ‘Nigerian’ greeting culture.

The greeting/ conversation with Aunt Nikki that just happened, was exactly how my mom would have greeted her. And if I were with my mom at the time (or maybe a few years earlier) I would have said a simple ‘good evening’ and walked ahead a few paces to wait for my mom and aunt Nikki to ask about everything and everyone while silently wondering why they couldn’t just say a quick good evening and walk away.

But here I am, replicating that same behavior I would love to not do. I imagine a lot of young adults are in my shoes, wondering how we got to replicate behavioral patterns we dislike. Some of us have come to realise that the world isn’t so black and white and issues aren’t so clear cut. The clarity of our childhood and youth has been eroded by this adult thingy and we are on our way to being our parents, guardians, teachers, mentors.

0d98b6eba14d47c0742b594daeda8542

I have used an example that’s easy, almost a non-issue, but when you really examine every other of your behaviors and mannerisms, you will find yourself replicating your parents or the people you associate with. In the good and the bad. That’s how issues like polygamy, domestic violence, lawlessness, drunkenness, etc. become family traditions. A child will do what he/she sees you do a hundred times befre he/she will do what you have asked him to do once. In the words of Dr. Gregory House of ‘House’ medical series: monkey see, monkey do!

Try as we can, we cannot run away from the influence of our formative years, which is why as parents we need to nurture our children with this consciousness. Knowing fully well that we are the bows from which our children as living arrows are sent forth.

Children 2

For our sakes as much as theirs, we need to do better. We need to be the future we hope to see. It’s not enough to want to do better, we need to actually do better. Ko ba le da! (so that it can be well).

 

Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults. – Abraham Lincoln.

Have a happy Children’s day!

*Not real name.

xoxo chinma

 

Happy Children’s Day!

children's day

I’ve always wondered at children; marveled at their innocence and the beauty in their implicit trust. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a childlike heart (or spirit), the kind that is required to enter into the kingdom of heaven. I always wanted to be a mother; that is one thing I long for with every fibre of my being.

I love children, I’m passionate about children; their care, education, everything about them. From their drool to their stool, lol. It takes a special kind not to appreciate children.

There’s a lot to be learnt from children; their ability to love and trust implicitly, their unwavering faith in humanity, their unrestrained joy at the smallest of gifts; children are just so precious.

As we celebrate yet another children’s day; I can’t help but contrast my childhood experience with what children born in this day will experience. The standard of education is fallen, the economy is in the gutters, basic amenities are no longer basic; it can be challenging.

On the back of that our moral and societal ideals are seriously non-existent.

That ‘children are the future’ isn’t just a saying; it is the truth. The children we see today are our future, and the question we must ask ourselves is what future are we building for ourselves through this children?

When we are old and grey; our peers will also be old and grey. It will be the children of today who will be our medical personnel, banking officers, supermarket attendants, engineers, etc. Will we be comfortable putting our lives, savings, and/or working with them if we continue like this?

We often pray that no evil befall us; how often do we pray that no evil befall those around us? By this I don’t just mean family; I mean colleagues, domestic employees, corporate employees, and the random person you will brush past on the street. We need to be our brother’s keeper and by brother I don’t just mean family.

There was this story that went viral a few years ago of a domestic servant who unknowingly infected the children in the family where she served with HIV. If the mother in that home had just extended her love to that help by providing her with her own toothbrush; that would have been avoided. Think also of the story of the woman who always kept out some pastry on her window ledge. The story has it that the man who always picked the pastry will fail to thank her. She got so angry one day that she thought to poison the man. She had actually set out the poisoned pastry, but luckily for her she retrieved and replaced it just in time. That day; her son who was returning from war hungry was given pastry by a stranger; the same pastry his mother set out. Imagine if she had left out the poisoned pastry.

These two stories are just illustrations; the message is ‘to build for ourselves the future we want; we need to invest in the children of today, for they are the future’.

One thing I’ve learnt in my short time on earth is how small the world truly is. We Africans believe it takes a whole village to raise a child; have an impact in a child who isn’t related to you by blood, contribute to building the future you want.

Happy Children’s day to all children (myself inclusive, lol), may we have a future as beautiful as we can ever imagine.

 

XOXO

Chinma