By Ganiu Bamgbose (Ph.D.)
Like me, did you also attend a secondary school where science class was for the brilliant students, commercial for the average and arts for the playful ones? In fact, the position of the Senior Prefect was exclusively reserved for the science students in my secondary school until one radical art student interrupted the norm.
Have you heard about a father whose daughter must not study Theatre Arts because it is a course for those who are not taking lives seriously? If his dull child who was relegated to art class in secondary school must further his education, then it has to be Law, and if the worst comes to the worst, Mass Communication. Of course not Theatre! Which ambitious boy studies Theatre? Or Education? That’s even worse. Poor teacher!
Maybe you are even that father I am describing. You have your list of the courses and career paths that befit your children and guarantee a successful future for them. I AM SAD TO INFORM YOU THAT YOU ARE JUST BEING A KILLER OF FULFILMENTS!
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Africa is one part of the world where the child has over imbibed the spirit of silence. How dare you challenge daddy’s authority? Just do what daddy wants because that’s where your success lies. So if you dare drop out of school like the Bill Gates dad admires so much, you would have been cursed.
I have, so far, in this piece created pictures of how children are raised with parents’ templates. This has been one killer of ingenuity in Nigeria because children are not raised with attention to their natural abilities. School is the only core thing in the life of the African child. This was why James Elliot, in his book titled “Let’s Discuss Education”, said that school in Nigeria is where children go when their parents go to work.
You cannot start thinking until you are done with your education. Don’t worry; we will pay your school fees and cater for your needs, but you also have to study medicine and become a doctor or study law and become a lawyer or accounting and become an accountant.
Geniuses have been destroyed because of parental templates for life. Of course I too can recall what it took me in terms of stubbornness before I was allowed to study English Education. Why will a brilliant boy like you want to end up as a teacher when your mates would-be lawyers and journalists?
It took me assuring my parents that I shall be as great as lawyers and doctors and journalists if allowed to become a teacher. Only Heaven has the list of young people who do not have this kind of courage and will be made to live a life lacking in fulfillment.
Many retrace their steps after living some quarters of their lives to fulfill their parents’ templates. This explains why the best of Nigerian literary writers are medical practitioners. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie knew from childhood that she was meant to be a writer but of course she would have to study medicine first if she must be that brilliant girl she has always been admired to be.
Sadly, most children will not enjoy the grace to return to their calling. Let me round off the story of that radical boy who was the first to become a senior prefect in my secondary school. The boy was me. And that was because I did not join other brilliant students in science class.
I knew my strength and became an outstanding student in Arts when I would just have been one of the many brilliant students in Science.
Dear parents, children are not instruments for achieving what you love in terms of career. Even if you have deliberately named or nicknamed him Junior, he has a heavenly fulfillment that might not be what you want for him.
ATTENTION SHOULD BE PAID TO WHERE THE JOY OF EVERY CHILD LIES AS THIS IS THE ONLY ASSURANCE OF A FULFILLED LIFE.
Dr. Bamgbose is of the Department of English, LASU