Hey hey hey. So in my usual perusal of blogs this morning, i noticed something that struck a nerve. How much do parents really owe us? In terms of education and life in general?
I ask this question because i have met people who think i am “posh”, but when i relate many of my experiences, i become a “hard” babe. I can explain. I am from a relatively ok background, private schools till i got to university, lived in GRA, had a driver, spent summers abroad etc. Well i had a 3 year (jss1- jss3) stint in a comprehensive military boarding school in Ibadan where i learnt the phrase “half caste” and i sighted “lafun” for the first time in my existence.
From primary school, i got a daily allowance, it was N1 per day. And i remember been encouraged to save some of it. I also know during the summers i got just enough money to buy the things i needed for the full year. For instance if i chose $50 Nike sneakers, it meant i had less to spend on clothes and other things.
In retrospect at my tender age of 30 something, i dont think my father was poor, for the most part he was doing ok, maybe even better than ok. I always knew i was going to go to college in New York even as a primary school student. I would get that bachelor’s degree in America etc, but without much thougt as to how it would get paid for.
I left Nigeria exactly a week after i wrote my last ssce exam. And got admission to a small college in Brooklyn. I even got a half scholarship etc. My folks paid the other half. As it was being paid in September 1998, i was told to gear up and look for a job. I had a U.S passport, but keep in mind i turned 16 June 1998. By the next January i had my first two jobs. One as a baby sitter and another under the America reads program. In hindsight, there was no room for mess up- i took out loans and figured out how to apply for aid based on my meagre income. I had free housing thanks to my aunt.
From January 1998, till date i paid all my own bills- with the exception of my traditional wedding. When it came down to it, i always had a job (being married has helped to slow down the bills- this os my longest adult stint without a full time job of some sort).There was a time when my options for work were between being a locker room cleaner at a gym and being a health aide. I picked the health aide job – same amount of human waste involved likely, but i got more time to study as a health aide. One time i even had 3 part time jobs. Lol.
I went on to get two masters degrees, both while working 80 hour or longer weeks working for a multinational in the middle east. At no point did my parents abandon me, i found my way and they let me stumble along in my own unique way. Recently i had a conversation with my father about it all, and he explained to me that he didnt want any dependent adult children and wasnt sure he would successfully be able to set up companies for any of his kids to run, so he needed to make sure without him or my mom, we could pave our own road and be damn good at it. He also began pointing to a lot of our childhood friends who were not able to get jobs outsidw of their fathers companies and lived in homes provided by the fathers.
I worked in the same multinational with 2 of my brothers, amd one of my fathers friends stupidly went to ask my dad, who he knew in the company so he could help him place his kids. When my dad told him nobody, the guy said my dad was lying. So my dad called 3 of us on a joint convo to explain to the guy.
The point of the long epistle above.- what do parents owe their children? My fathers opinion is high school is it. He also tells us daily that we dont have an inheritance, in his bid to force us to fall and rise by our own hard and smart work. I heard a man of almost 40 say he didnt go to graduate school because his father wouldnt pay. I am of the opinion that you shouldnt give children everything – not as extreme as my dad, i am willing to pay half your tuition or maybe even full tuition, but buy your own damn books and feed yourself. I dont see the point in creating a liability for myself as a parent. Once we all graduated, we also get full household bills like light or water…minimum $500 a month.
Imagine my surprise when i moved back to Nigeria in 2010 and my father offered me a full option 2010 Toyota Corolla- leather everything. ..i asked him if it was a setup. Lmao @ this point i had bought my own Tokunbo Jeep amd it was already on the high seas. I told him thanks, but no thanks.
So after all my gist above, the koko of the matter. What does a parent owe their child/children? When does it become enabling bad behavior? Afterall we see 50 year olds whose parents pay for their grandkids schoolfees? I also get irritated when i hear university students complain about fees in Nigeria, waiting for one rich uncle to sponsor their university education, is it so hard to find something doing and be able to come up with some part of the money?
In retrospect if i didnt have so much responsibilities at that young age, i might have been an absolute nuisance. Who knows? Please share your thoughts. I am genuinely curious