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Parents, children trading places




GOD’S plan is for parents to take care of their children, provide for them, protect, love and care for them. However, in man’s quest for numerical strength, man has biten more than he can chew.

For a typical African man, it is a pride to have a large family. In the past, one of the reasons for a big family is so that one can have so many hands on the farm. But today most parents would tell you ‘ so that I will have many people taking care of me when they grow up.’ They say it without batting an eye.

During my days in the university, it was very common to see a young girl from a humble background carrying the weight of her family. In most of the cases I came about, they were the breadwinners of their families. They provided for their families, paid the school fees of their younger one’s and even elder brothers.

One case that still stands out is that of a lady who was forced into marriage at twelve to a rich farmer in a remote village at Shendam. Just because her father needed her bride price. She had the sense to run off before she was deflowered by her grandfather husband. Somehow she found her footing through the help of an uncle in Mangu and she furthered her education.

By the time we became close, she was not only the breadwinner of her family but also the authority. We were then in the university. The weight of the responsibility on her shoulders made her sexually immoral. Every move she made was geared towards getting the attention of men. Going on like that, she had countless boyfriends with whom she was intimate just do she could cater for her family.

This lady was staying in a one-room self-contained apartment, but you should see how many dependants used to come for holiday. Shamelessly, her parents, including her father who sold her off to rich farmer, were always very demanding. She used what she had to provide for her family at the expense of her reputation, notwithstanding that a good name is better than rubies (Bible).

Another scenario is that of a father whose daughter was schooling in Kaduna and living big due to the heavyweights she was going out with. Every time the father needed luxury items like designer perfumes or money, he called his Kaduna daughter who never failed her daddy.

At this point, the father had stopped giving her financial support. She had become an authority over her life and came and went as she wanted. She had a nice apartment in the heart of Kaduna. And she dressed expensively at all times complete with gold earrings and necklace. In fact, she smelt like money and radiated money. But her lifestyle when one came close to her was nothing to write home about. It was prostitution with the high and mighty and involved strengthening herself with Babalawos, witch doctors.

As we were growing up, there was a mother who was fond of lamenting to her daughter, ‘Your own na kobo fuck you dey do? Your friends dey buy car,  build house even for their parents. You still dey eat my food. Na two heads dem get?’

The mother was frustrated that her daughter was not a blessing to her because she was not immoral and neither was she bringing in ill- gotten wealth to better their lives like so many girls her daghter’s age were doing. Instead her daughter still depended on her for everything.

It is not only girls that carry the weight of responsibility. I was told of a man who hates to see people giving birth to more than two children especially if one is not capable of providing for the kids. He became like that because he started paying his younger siblings school fees since he was in medical school. He parents naturally transferred that responsibility to him. He was not allowed to enjoy his money like his mates. His parents made it look like it was his responsibility.

The cases are inexcusable. Parents have forgotten that these are some of the reasons why our voice doesn’t carry weight. And vices abound in our society because we have left our positions due to laziness or self centredness. The first step is for every parent to be responsible and assert our positions in our home. The future of our children is in our hands.


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