Sunday, September 13, 2015

'When We Are Young' By Victor Agbo

By Victor Agbo

Nigeria is a country with great potentials, there's no doubt about it. People always debate about factors that prevent Nigeria from standing as a very great nation, but there is one thing I've never heard them mention, and that is the fact that most “Parents don’t give their children the freedom to choose a career path.”

Note that I use “Nigeria” because it is my country of residence and origin, not that this does not apply to other countries.
Parents find it so difficult to grant their children the freedom to choose their career path themselves, and it is EVIL. We are forced to follow what they've designed to be the "norm" around here. It is for this reason that many people abandon their dreams; they leave it behind and start doing what other people are doing. And when everyone is doing the same thing, at best we get innovation, and at worst, we get another person who failed at trying to be someone else.

I have come to realize that one of the reasons - probably the main reason - why parents believe it is their duty to dictate to their children the career path to take, is that they fear that the child is too young to make the right decision as at the age of choosing a career path. They feel they are older and that they have more understanding about life than their children. They believe their children are carried away by unattainable imaginations which they term “A dream” and which they use as a blueprint for their goals in life. They believe their children are literally dreaming and it is their duty to jerk them back to reality. So what do such parents do? They extract the priceless treasures in their children, dump it in the waste and give them shit in return. Now tell me, is that not EVIL?

The truth is that the dreams most people intend to pursue might sound absurd to another person. There is a high probability that when someone hears another person’s plans/desires/aspirations, the person will fail to see any sense in it, because we are all different. As different as we look on the outside, that is how different everything that flows out of us is. We were made differently and we all carry different ideas in us; ideas other people may consider to be "insane."

However, history has shown that many of those that were considered to be insane actually ended up making a positive change out of their insanity. So if that is the case, I’ll need your help in order to understand why the so called old and experienced parents don't let their children be? Why don’t they trust their children to make the right decisions? Why do they feel they know what's best for their children rather than the children themselves? Why do they still promote EVIL?

I was reading a man’s comment on this issue a while ago and what he said reflected the EVIL in his heart. He said, “There is nothing wrong if parents choose a career for their children because most of the time, parents mean their children well and they want to make sure their children have a stable and financially rewarding career. Also, parents in general have more experience than their children and they know more about the realities of life and career opportunities.” This person also narrated a story about a man who disowned his son after the son choose a career the father did not approve of and how the boy’s life became miserable thereafter.

First question is this: Who can mean well for you more than you can for yourself? These children love the good life and have been picturing themselves there. That is the reason they choose the path they choose. They believe in their passion and they believe that their ability to pursue it relentlessly is the key to their success in life. But let’s assume that as at when a child is old enough to make this though decision of choosing a career path, the child is still chasing shadows. In a case like that, who is to be blamed if not the parents? They must have failed in their duty as parents and that is why their grown child will still be unable to know he/she is on the wrong path.

I say they failed in their duty as parents because I believe that a parent that raised his/her child rightly should have confidence in the child's ability to make the right decision for his/her self. Parents are there to teach, guide and support. Just like a school for example; the teacher/lecturer takes you on a course, teaches you, guides and answers your questions. But when exam comes, he backs away, allowing you to fail or pass yourself on. In the same way, parents are to always interact with their children, teach them about life, guide them, answer their questions, and let them go out and experience what life is about. Parents should be there as advisors. And when it is time to choose a career path, when it is time for someone to decide what to or what not to do with his/her life, the parents should leave that person alone. If a parent thinks the child is too young to make such decision, then the parent failed to raise the child. The parent just harbored and nurtured an infant. And that is what the child will remain - an infant. He/she will always be pushed around from side to side by the parent, other people and life itself (This can change however, if the child begins to go out and interact with people that will make him/her understand life better and help him/her discover him/herself).

Now, if this same old and experienced set of people failed in their duty as parents, how will they be able to even figure out the right career for a child? Won’t they be the ones imagining things? Won’t they be the ones painting unattainable pictures?

Those that know me well know how much I get inspired by good songs and “93 Million Miles” from Jason Mraz’s “Love Is A Four Letter Word” album is another song that gave me a great insight on this issue. Below is an excerpt from the lyrics:

Oh, my my how beautiful, oh my beautiful mother
She told me, “Son in life you’re gonna go far,
And if you do it right you’ll love where you are,
Just know, that wherever you go,
You can always come home…

That song summarizes the message I want to pass by writing this.

Parents, the only way you can wish your children well and actually make them happy and see them grow to become great people in life, is by understanding their passions and capabilities, and being there to support them (Unlike the man who disowned his son). Your child is your child and not your “mental picture” of him/her. Your child can never be what you want him/her to be. Your child may try, struggle so hard and finally begin to walk in the path you designed for him/her, but never expect that child to be happy. Note that being happy is not the smile, laugh or playfulness you see on the outside but it is something internal. If indeed you want your child to be happy, you need to lay aside your plans for him/her now and go to work – begin to study your child now.

I just wish some parents will learn how to be parents. I wish they will learn to get close to their children with an OPEN mind and the willingness to respect and accept their children’s decision. I wish they will listen, understand and support their children. I wish they won’t just support with words but with their actions. I wish we all can become who we really are. I wish we will become the great people we are. I wish this country can become as great as it ought to be.

God bless you.
God bless me.
And God bless Nigeria.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmmm... Nice piece but I honestly have some reservations. My Dear it's not really easy as it sounds. You may never know what is in the heart of a parent until you become one. I know that there are extremes to both parental influence on their wards career path and also that of the child's empty dream. I think that there is need for a balance in both. No parent will want their children to be unsuccessful therefore the parents has a lot of input in the building of their children's career path. If a child is guided properly on time. Choosing a career path becomes a lot easier. But where the child is confused with choices then the parents have to step in for guidance. I am a youth counsellor and I have passed through life myself. I have counselled a lot of youth with no parental influence and guidance on their journey to career and have seen what is called confusion personified. It's not just parents that influences the children. The society also has a lot of influence on children's career choice. Peer influence is also a lot of factors. Time may fail me to buttress this points now but I think that referring to parental influence on their child's career choice as EVIL is mean... like I said earlier you can never know what is in the heart of a parent towards their child until you become one. Once I was a youth now I am a young parent, I think I am beginning to understand better. In the words of the good book (bible) if our earthly parents who are EVIL knows how to give good gifts to our children, how much more our heavenly father.. #selah

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