Dear Parents What aren’t We Doing Right?

By Uche Amunike

I was in the Fides Studio a few days ago to check on our camera crew about my upcoming birthday photoshoot. I wanted to discuss logistics with them. So I met two of them in the studio, Jumoke, who I fondly call Jummy and Elizabeth, who I also, fondly call Kokomma. Jummy is a nice, hardworking and respectful Yoruba girl.

She handles the camera, while the pretty and soft spoken Kokomma is our Makeover Artist. So on this particular day, I was really worried about the outbreak of pimples I had all over my face. It was unusual and I narrated how I had tried everything possible to fight the pimples to no avail.

I was really concerned. Kokomma and Jummy suggested one or two ointments I could use to put a stop to it. So, the first question I asked was, ‘will it bleach my skin’? They both laughed at my question, but assured me it wouldn’t bleach my skin. Somehow, we got talking about the problem of young people bleaching their skins for one reason or the other.

I told them about a particular woman who was much darker than myself, but who shocked me on the day I saw her and did not recognize her because she had became much more light skinned than she used to be. On that particular day, she had walked past me and I kept wondering where I knew that face, because she looked familiar. Shortly after she walked past me, I realized it was somebody I knew very well.

I was shocked because she had become very fair in complexion. I had to stop my car and honk my horn so that she would look back. That was when she saw me. I couldn’t help asking her what happened and how come she was suddenly very fair in complexion. She just laughed and said she wasn’t bleaching. I told her you’re bleaching and you need to stop it. I begged her to desist from the bleaching before it will cause irreparable damages to her face and skin.

You know she kept on laughing about it and I knew she wasn’t going to stop. I actually pitied her, because I knew that she was too ignorant to understand the damage she was already causing herself. I have written so much about bleaching and the effects it has on our skins.

That is why I will not dwell on bleaching today. I will rather look at some actions and inactions of our youth especially, our young girls who have their bright futures all ahead of them and yet, who choose to waste it in the name of fashion or do I call it ‘modern day lifestyle’. I also want to call on parents and guardians of these young people to pay more attention to them so as to be able to make corrections and guide them properly, the moment they begin to go out of track.

I believe that if these young people are properly guided, they would do better than they are doing in their different worlds, knowing that their parents are watching out for them. I also wish these youths, will make a habit of evaluating their lives from time to time and asking themselves what they can do to be better people and make their parents and society proud of them.

I wish they can look inwards and find out their God-given talents and find ways to use them in order to be better than the person seated next to them. I believe that if everybody tried to be better than the person next to them, then the world will be a place filled with people trying their best to make the their families better, to make society better and to make the world  a great place to live in.

The world is now a circus of craziness, poverty, violence, insecurity and fear. I don’t even know where it’s headed, but it shouldn’t deter us from playing our parts in order to thrive and succeed in what we do. Let’s beam our searchlights on our higher institutions of learning. There are so many young girls in these schools,  supposedly learning,  but really just paying their way through school.

They pay for marks, for handouts, and even for high GPAs. Some of them who cannot afford to pay these monies end up paying with their bodies by sleeping with their randy lecturers. That’s how bad it is. Most times when we get to hear about scandals in our universities, we are quick to condemn the so called randy lecturers without considering the fact that some of our young girls also seek them out to demand for marks in exchange for their money or body too.

At the end of the day they graduate from the university without knowing anything about the course they studied. They are employed into offices without knowing what they are expected to do and eventually end up being nuisances in their work places. Employers look at their paper certification and have high expectations of them, only to realize that they have nothing to offer. It’s a sad situation. A really sad situation.

And what about the boy child??? Do you see the killings going on in different parts of the state? There seems to be two different groups – the unknown gunmen and the cultists shooting their members for God-knows-what reasons. Who are these boys? They are our precious sons!

They are the same boys we nurtured by ourselves from birth. We toiled so hard to bring them up in the fear of God. So, what happened? At what point did they get out of hand? At what point in life did they change from our precious little boys to gun totting youths? How come our precious little boys now comfortably pick up guns and shoot their fellow youths on the streets of Anambra? It is the scariest thing ever witnessed as I wonder if it’s something that will end soon.

I really hope it does. Each time I look at the bodies of these young men  lying in their own pool of blood, I ask myself, where did we go wrong? What did we not do right? At what point did we fail these children? Perhaps we did not play our parts well as parents and guardians of these boys. Or should we shift the blame to society? So, what do we do about it? Can we still do anything to correct these ills?

I wish I have answers to these questions that worry me and tug at my heartstrings. One thing I do know however is that parents have a very big role to play in the lives of these boys before we begin to blame society. I always argue that there was the home before society.

So, maybe when we begin to prepare them well in the home, these boys will be able to face society, being strong in their convictions that they know who they are raised to be and they also know who they do not want to be. I think this is the focal point. This is where I maintain that parents have a lot of role to play in the lives of these boys. Let’s also remember that cultists have female members as well. So, I should just save the lives of these youths! I think we have failed a lot in so many ways where these children’s lives are concerned.

I accept that the biting times in the country is to be partly blamed for this problem as it has made most parents focus a whole lot on how to make money with which to bring up these children; thereby, leaving them to face the world without enough guidance, attention and even supervision. Well, we are paying for it today.  So, it’s my submission that it’s not enough to send these children to school and feel that because they are in the higher institution that we cannot check on them and monitor them, the little we can.

We need to start forming the habit of  visiting them in these higher instututions from time to time, at least to make them know that we still look up to them to be the best people that they can be. There are many parents today who never visit their children in the universities for even one day till they leave after four years of their five years in school. It is wrong.

This mindset needs to change. We need to start paying visits to our young men and women in the universities just like we do in their secondary school days. We need to start knowing the kind of company they keep. We have the right to say we do not like  certain friends they keep and they should stop being friends with them. No child is too big to be directed or channelled properly.

Maybe when we start seeing that our children need our nurture and our guidance, no matter how grown, they will begin to have a better sense of being responsible and decent. Society is suffering today because of the kind of children we have raised.

Their mates are changing the world in other countries in technology and science and they are here, believing that there is greater power in holding the gun and pulling the trigger at will. It’s sad because so many parents are losing their sons to these bullets. We have a very big share of the blame and we need to start taking responsibility more than we have.

I pray for God’s grace in the life of every parent to bring up their children in His fear and love. I also pray that God touches the hearts of these young people so that they will desist from living lives of waste and bloodshed, so that they will not bring shame to their families or the society that expects the best from them. I pray also that the killings will stop and that the souls of the departed will rest in peace. Amen! Daalu nu!!!