Letter to Africa Parents - Robert Hillary


Dear Parents

Your works, patience, pains, anguish e.t.c as a parent is seen all over the world, it's not easy to train up a child in this our world of poor economy, corruption, bad influence and destitution, You still with all little strength ensure you give the best you can to your children. Your ever growing zeal to train us through school, paying our fees and ensuring we study hard to come out with convincing grades is love at its peak, a countless number of times mummy had to hunger just to feed me with the last meal calls for tears, what about the numerous times daddy was insulted by people not upto his age just because he was looking for a means of survival. What about the days I was sent home from school, mummy had to follow me back begging on her knees, Daddy and mummy ask neighbors to discipline me when I misbehave saying "Nah everybody get pikin" but when they do?, They are objurgated and insulted leaving them to say we are being spoilt not understanding the love that flows from parents to children, give them the same baton, they will exchange it the same way. No wonder the popular Yoruba adage says "Bami na omo mi ko de inu olomo" which is interpreted as "A parent is not truly happy with the request to have his/her child disciplined"

Festivals like the birth of Jesus Christ, the birth of Mohammed e.t.c never pass by without us demanding for new clothes not considering what our parents will wear. Charity they say begins at home and as thus, a child with bad morals is referred back home to his parents, all blames on parents forgetting that the child can be a deviant, moral upbringing starts from the family which is headed by the parents. How great are the insults you have to receive for your children's immoralities as if we can blame God who is our father when we sin.
All these sufferings, endurance deserve great constant appreciation and care from us at your old age, without being told, we should be wise enough to know that at old age, you'll be feeble and  fainty to work, as such you need our care not only but also our reciprocated love for survival just like you have done to us at our tender age whilst you nurture us

However, in spite of all these showers of love, care and tears of sorrow you shed for our sake, don't forget that the child  you nurture has dreams, he has future ambitions, he is guided by his own abilities and can end up falling below your expectations. You should thread carefully not to frustrate them, for frustration can lead to disruption. Why will a parent focus on trying to make his ward achieve the goals he has set for him?, I have seen/heard of children commit suicide because they couldn't meet up with the expectations laid down for them by their parents, the pressures they get become too much, most times, you(parents) do these not because of anything but for the societal status and respect you tend to get. How inhumane it is for you(parents) to channel your
unachieved dreams/purpose to your children, boosting that they will do it for you as if you birthing them means you also design their paths. Worst is that parents have taken it to be an investment for expecting future returns when they train a child to a certain stage "when Abike graduates from school, she will responsibly build a house for me, buy me a car and give me all the things I can't buy now,
I must reap what I sow" which reminds me of the popular Igbo adage that says "Nku onye kpara na okochi ka o na aya n'udu mmiri" meaning "The fire wood one fetched in the dry season is what he burns during the rainy season" children are now farm produce, how long do we want to keep twisting adages to suite our own self interest?. I get baffled by our poor mental thoughts, you thread the earth for decades leaving no worthwhile inheritance for your child expecting him/her as a matter of compulsiveness and mandate to bring you to the palace at old age as if he/she will not parent his/her own children and nurture them just like you did to them

I am not saying children shouldn't care for their parents, in fact it is very necessary but when you(parents) start bringing up your wards all in the name of securing your old age, then you are setting a doom for the future, How do you expect a child who receives little as income to effectively distribute this income between you who wants to be in the palace because of your so called investment on him and his children who he wants to nurture into useful adults?. Won't it be more profitable to train our children to be useful to themselves first, society next before us?, if I am not wrong, the parent of an influential man in the society will know no lack. Often times have I heard from people saying that the youths will bring change to the society, Do you fight a battle with no Weapon and expect to be as efficient as those using weapons?  for if our parents who are the inventors of the disease in the society are also the ones who nurtured us without love for the society but for themselves only, surely they instilled in us their beliefs(the disease) which will linger on because this disease can only be cleansed with true love (which is the only weapon for fighting this disease) for humanity and the society.
I once interviewed an egocentric man who said he has been saving his money whilst he releases little for his family because he doesn't want to suffer at old age, he said he understands that his children will not care for him but their own children when he is old. A fool they say is known by his words. At old age, A man's number one basic need is neither money nor material things but love from his families(children, grandchildren e.t.c) with their presence. Treat your children with disdain now and risk losing not only their wealth but also their love, presence and care at your old age. Some will see this as a threat and curse me for writing this letter, saying he just wants to corrupt our minds or the minds of our children, why will I not take my mother/father first before my wife/husband/kids, Wait till you get to that position, you will understand that the love that flows from parents to their children is higher than the one that goes from the child to his/her parent, that is to say, you will be more determined to substitute your parent anytime for your child, If you doubt, ask your mom or dad how they most times neglected their own parents during the process of nurturing you into an adult, while others will say why should they take the society first before their parents, is it not this wicked society we live in? I'll just look up to the sky and its antibodies(the moon, the clouds, the sun and the Stars), laugh and then bring down my head in mockery of you because little do you know that before you can have just enough to cater for yourself and children, you may be able to produce on a subsistence level but to be able to get surplus for the extended family(Grandparents inclusive), you need to first solve one of the societal problems (Let's not go into Economics of production).

My point therefore is, it's high time we stopped taking our children as tools for future comfortability, It's a legacy you are creating in them not sowing a seed that you expect to reap later as if they are mango seeds expected to spring forth fruit when it is needed. They are stars too with their own shines not tools that should strive to achieve what you couldn't do with your own hands, are they born to accomplish your mission or theirs?. They have dreams that you should guide not thwart it for your own self interest and channel them into trying to achieve what you want them to.
They are not firewood you keep safe for the rainy season. They are humans and not material things you use to boost up your status among your friends. They have feelings, don't rain fire on them and cause them to become irrational towards life, they are fragile as the Hausas always say "Yaro mai’n kaza ne, en ya ji rana, sai shi narke" meaning ( A boy is like a hen's fat, when it feels the sun it melts or A boy has not a man's endurance, any hardship will overcome him).They are social beings, don't impede their social freedom

May our old age be filled with happiness and to our wonderful parents striving and tilling the soil for our sake, may your sweat for us never be in vain
Thanks as you anticipate my next letter which will be directed to your children who practically may become insolent by reading this letter not knowing they have a greater role to play

Yours Faithfully
Robert Hillary
IG: hillarity_hills

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