The first proper time my daughters communicated with their grandfather over the phone went like this:
Grand pa: Hello my beautiful dollies
Them: Hello. Are you our grandpa?
Grand pa: Yes I am. How are you and your sister?
Them: Fine. My sister is fine too. Are you the daddy of my daddy Amos or the daddy of my mummy Mary?
(Grandpa didn’t hear very well. We helped out)
Grand pa: (Laughing) Your dad is my son. (Laughing) I am the father of your daddy. You and your mother are my daughters too.
Them: (Confused, looked at me) How can we be his daughters when you are our daddy?
Me: Don’t worry, I will explain to you.
(Took time to explain the context. She didn’t get it. ‘How can a grand daughter be a daughter at the same time to her grandpa’. She wondered)
Them: Ok grand pa, what is your name?
Grand pa: Mo Ma rogo o. (He laughed and told her. Helped repeat the names to them).
Them: Ok. How old are you?
(I was shocked and totally taken off guard. We laughed hard).
Grand pa: I am ……..
Them: Oooh Seventy…..? (She repeated excitedly) Thanks grand pa. My daddy is thirty….my mum is twenty…..I am 5 and my sister is 3. How old is your wife and when will you come to my house?
(Grand pa couldn’t help himself. Just laughing.)
Them: Bye grand pa. I love you.
They zoomed off to their room on the second floor while we continued laughing.
Truth is, you will barely be settling down with my daughters before they bombard you with tonnes of questions. If you fail to tell them your names and age when they ask you, I am afraid, you just lost them. In fact, they will love you more if you try to teach them how to pronounce your name if you got a non English name. And can I say this, they won’t forget.
I got home one Saturday recently and one of them was briefing me about her teacher’s love life, boyfriend, age, and when they hoped to get married and other personal stuffs like that. The Other One was competing to tell me about her new teacher too. (They just changed classes for the new academic session).
It got to a point I was forced to ask them how they got to know all the information about their new teachers in a matter of days!
“We asked them and they told us” was their reply.
In fact, one of my worst classes ever in my life was my primary 4C. I was literally gagged. My parents were called aside by my teacher and told during PTA meeting to stop me from asking questions again in class. I guessed she never forgave me for tossing up her class with questions she could not handle when school inspectors came around from the local authority. I was threatened and scared off. I became terrified. The fact that I couldn’t ask questions again made me more restless.
My mum never gave me melons to break at home, but right there in that class, she served us all melons to break when she should have occupied our minds with something more resourceful. I was the worst culprit. In a bid to impress and win her over, I ended up breaking them all in tiny fragments. I can still remember the devouring face that befell me on that fateful day. Ah…I have never seen an angry raging fire on human face like that before. Her jerry-haired was like Medusa. I never broke a melon before, I got totally broken that day. I couldn’t say anything at home.
Later, when teacher had no time for me and could not occupy me, I became more restless. Words like ‘brilliant but troublesome’, ‘stubborn’, ‘too playful’, ‘argumentative’ and etc dotted my report cards. All they had to do was to keep me busy or give me more difficult tasks to do.
My friend Benedict introduced me to Nick Carter books, and I started stealing my dad’s James Hadley Chase and Shakespeare’s novels to school that year. I still remembered his ‘The way the cookie crumbles’ and ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ and ‘Merchant of Venice’. I stole them to occupy myself in class. I actually first thought ‘Much Ado about nothing’ was about Ado Ekiti, so I read it looking for a reference to that town. She didn’t want me to talk, I would let my dad’s books talk to me. Primary 4 books no longer meant anything to me. The more I read books under the desk, the more I got punished for being distracted. And yet, they never asked themselves questions on how I passed class works when they thought I was distracted with something else. I only started enjoying school again when I got to Christ School and the Encyclopaedia section helped occupy me.
The point is, I lost a valuable opportunity to engage most of those around me when it mattered, and rather than develop an engaging free flow communication, I developed myself from a defensive point of view. I learnt to defend my position or whatever action I was caught doing. Even if you asked me to simply come, my response to you will be to defend why I had to come.
And do you know what? I lost the edge of my questioning ability. Rather than ask people, I asked myself. Rather than learn from those that should have taught me and enabled me learn quicker, I learnt the hard and slow way with mistakes dotting my paths all the way as I was afraid of being silenced.
That is what is affecting many in my generation today. When you see leadership in certain climes, you see open accountability. Little children can ask a political leaders to explain their responsibilities to them, and they will be obliged to give chronicles of their stewardship. But in many other backward climes, they would ask them to shut up.
I grew up in a system where you cannot challenge constituted authorities, and they don’t care about carrying people who they promised to serve along.
The biggest problem today is that, we have been groomed to only follow our leaders loyally without challenging them even if they go astray. We have been programmed to defend them even when sensibility is screaming at us!
There are some questions that our children today ask us, we should endeavour to answer them. I grew up seeing my dad dismantling and rebuilding stuffs. He could fix anything, he always had various tools at home. When nobody could explain how things worked for me, I set to work. I destroyed virtually everything in the house. Whatever item developed fault in that house, if it had a screw, I have definitely visited it when nobody was looking. I was massively impressed recently when I saw a 7 year old explaining how to fly and land a plane using advance technical terms that only an experienced aeronautic engineer would use. You can imagine what that boy would do when he becomes an adult. Thanks to his dad.
Many children that went astray in life did so because nobody could answer their probing questions or stepped back to spend valuable time with them in most cases.
I was almost crying when a lady friend told me that the first time she saw the word ‘sex’, she thought it was ‘six’. She asked her uncle who was living with them, and that one referred her to her mother. When she asked her mother, she got a slap. She became more curious and wanted to find out. She found out later in her own way before that year ran out from one Boda Lukman their next door neighbour who took advantage of her when she was still in primary three. She could not tell a single soul what happened until she was 27 two decades later!
Be grateful when you see a precious soul asking questions above their age or challenging you of a decision. We should be working really hard as parents to come down to our children’s level so that they would not go to bed with unanswered questions. I am not perfect of course and my parents still correct me on my parenting skills.
One thing is when they challenge your decisions and ask why, don’t treat them the old way we were mostly raised, don’t shush them up. Go down on an eye level contact with them, and explain to them in love why. Even if you have to discipline them, tell them why they are being disciplined and why they need to avoid that happening again.
Mind you, it will be a continuous process. You may have to repeat same process over and over. Thank God my parents never gave up on me. Everything possible was combined to make me straight. But we are taking it to the next level.
One thing for sure is….don’t ever shut them up. And don’t ever defend your wrong decision.
Our leaders can’t say sorry to us today because of the way we have been programmed. They will come back around next election time and throw money at us to silence us from asking them to give accountability on their stewardship. They will buy our votes as usual and be gone with the wind once they got the number they wanted.
As long as they remain constituted authorities with no accountability, our servitude will be longer than the ones the Hebrews went through in Egypt. Let us change that before our children grow up into this anomaly.

By Amos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *