As part of our goals for raising awareness of real life situations, here is another exclusive story from one about a real life discussion that ensued between a Nigerian Mother and her children. The question is how to raise a proudly Naija child.
‘’Mummy do you know that Caprisonne and Ribena are now N60 and biscuit is no longer N10 but N15?’’ asked my almost 7 year old daughter.
I stood there looking at her truly amazed and wondering where this conversation was leading to. Seeing my expression she continued,
‘’It’s dollar o. It’s because of dollars that everything is now expensive’’.
Now beyond surprised this time, I asked,
‘’Where did you hear that?’’ and she says
‘’It’s in school that my friend told me.’’
The other day this same daughter of mine came home with an assignment on defining who the less privileged people in the society are; with examples. While helping her, her elder sister and I gave examples of those that may be considered as less privileged. We mentioned orphans and homeless people. I now asked her to give her own example and before she could respond, her 4 year old sister quickly answered and said excitedly,
‘’Police?’’ the rest of us chorused.
‘’Why do you think the police are less privileged? I asked to which she answered with the absolute wisdom of a sage judging from her countenance,
‘’Because they are always begging for money on the road’’
Yet another fateful day at the peak of fuel scarcity with PHCN or is it DISCO now being at their uncooperative best making us run out of our fuel reservoir (read as 50 litre keg of fuel) faster than usual, my eldest daughter (who was almost 8 at the time) and I got into an interesting but heartbreaking conversation. Their dad had been gone for hours in search of this golden liquid and she was beginning to get worried that something might have happened to him so she says to me,
‘’Mummy why is there always no light in Nigeria?’’
‘’Well… the new government is trying to fix things and very soon we will be having light almost every day’’, I said in a reassuring tone.
Not seeming to buy my explanation she asked, more like she shouted and I couldn’t miss the hint of frustration in her voice,
‘’Mummy, when? When? Other countries have light every day, they don’t take their light. Look at Dubai you don’t even need to rush to charge your phone every time because you know there is always light. See now daddy has gone to look for fuel sinceeee (this is how she stressed it) and he has not come back because of fuel scarcity. Mummy, I HATE NIGERIA!’’
Say what now? These are not made up stories. They happened in my house and I am sure this is a story that most likely resonates in every home. When I was their age, the only words in my vocabulary were elves, pixies, fairy godmothers, Nasco wafers, Bazooka chewing gum, Okin biscuits (four corner and round), Enid Blyton and not scary words like fuel scarcity, Chibok girls, Boko Haram, high rate of dollars, kidnap and the list goes on.
As Nigerian parents how then do we paint a picture of hope to our children seeing that even we are losing the said hope by the day? How do we assure them like I attempted that day that things will get better soon? How do we convince them that the Police Force is a security agency responsible for securing both the lives and properties of citizens as opposed to the image of beggars or less privileged, in the words of my daughter, that our children see of them every day? How do we make our children proudly Naija kids? Proud to be citizens, proud of their country, proud that things work like they see them do in other countries they have been to? How???
Watch out for my thoughts in the concluding part of this post. Till then, let’s keep hope (not false hope however) alive.
Toyin Akinlade is a 21st Century Parenting Enthusiast, an inspirational blogger and business woman. You can read the many other thoughts that runs through her mind on www.tythotville.blogspot.com.ng