I posted a statement on my social media pages last week. This particular statement was made by a Reverend Father and spurred up a number of reactions from internet users.
It was quite funny though because as the usual Nigerians we are, we began to quote scriptures from the Bible. Anyway, who wouldn’t? After all, it was a cleric who made the statement. I took so much interest in that particular statement because it had to do with something that had really bothered me both as a parent, an educator and a parenting blogger.
“Making provision of houses for your children and grandchildren is the most foolish thing. Reason being it stunts the growth of the child, you deny the world the unique gift the child should bring to the world. The natural gifts of the child remain dormant… I suffered in my life, my children will not suffer”
Rev. Fr. George Ehusani
So yes! I’m ready to add my two kobo opinions from the point of view of a parenting blogger.
Reading through the early life of the richest men in the world one common trait I found in these men and women was their innovative lifestyle; Their ability to think and create. Let’s take a glimpse at the life of Amancio Ortega, co-founder of Zara.
Born into a very poor family, saw his mother who worked as a house help, beg for money. He started work at age 14 as a shop assistant most likely to support the family. There, he learnt the skill of making clothes. It wasn’t just about making clothes, but also about his attitudes to the customers that came around to make purchases. This attitude made return buyers seek him whenever they came around. Ortega banked on this quality. He THOUGHT!
Ortega’s financial status pushed him to think of how to better the lives of not just himself but his siblings and of course, his ageing mother! The poor living standards brought out his innate abilities.
Do I still need to stress the point above? “… you deny the world the unique gift the child should bring to the world…”
Let’s switch to the popular saying “…. I suffered and my children will not suffer”! This particular sentence has turned a lot of Twenty-First Century Parents into robocops. We have become so busy ensuring our children are comfortable so much so that even twenty-four hours aren’t enough for us anymore. So we on a daily basis are busy doing a thing or the other for one of the kids. It’s either we are dropping them off at school, or we are picking them up. Either we are asking the teacher what the homework means, or we are solving the homework. Either we are cooking the meals or we are feeding the kids. I have four girls, I truly can relate to this post trust me!
I grew up in a community (Oh how I long to have those days back). The days when every child on the street mattered to every other adult. The adults looked out for all of us. Which made us conscious of the behaviours we decided to take on. Today, it’s a “To Your Tent Oh Isreal!” kind of living and even when we are told of the behaviour of one of ours, we reply with a protective measure.
So yes! You suffered, therefore, your children should not suffer. And so you work day in, day out to amass wealth enough to get down to your generations unborn. That is the point he tried to make.
I will not ask you not to store up wealth. My only question is “What is the wealth sustainability plan?” After you are gone and the ownership of accumulated wealth is transferred, what next?
Having studied the early lives of these world’s richest persons, I thought to ask:
- Have you instilled your belief system into your children?
- What kind of Education have you been able to offer them?
- Do you preach any form of values to them? What are they?
Every successful individual that made the Forbes 2018 world richest list:
- Had faith: They believed the future was bright despite the fact that their present circumstances spoke differently.
- They were focused and disciplined: They knew what they wanted and went for it. They didn’t let themselves get distracted.
- When they launched out at first, it wasn’t with the idea to “make money”. They didn’t even know they were off to the sky.
- It wasn’t just about cognitive knowledge. There was the hands–on-skills part.
- They were hardworking.
- They took risks.
- Paid attention to details.
Let’s look at these 7 points above side by side our habits today:
- We help the children have faith by taking charge of their projects and going all the way out to do it ourselves instead of allowing them to perform the tasks while we simply guide them. We pay lesson tutors to complete homework for the children while the children sit and just copy what has been solved.
- Children do what they like when they like. We need to flow with the trend so the children should have what their friends have, and do what every other person does just so they don’t feel left out. The children have no form of routines to follow and even if they have, are not guided because of course, the parents are too busy “gathering wealth” for them that they leave the task of guidance to the domestic staff.
- Our children are not given any form of an opportunity to think for themselves not to talk of sort out challenges themselves. Everything has been provided after all. Why do they need to think?
- We are indecisive about the skills our children should get busy doing because we don’t have the time to observe them know what they enjoy doing. Some of us haven’t even thought in the direction of skill acquisition.
- We will rather work hard than have our children suffer by working hard.
- When we fight our children’s battles, how can we have them take risks?
- We have occupied our children with too many activities such that they get easily distracted when given menial tasks to accomplish.
Back to the points the cleric tried to make: He only meant “Give a man fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”!