Hi everyone! This week, I was thinking random thoughts as usual, and a thought came to me that formed the basis of this blog post. As you know if you’ve read my previous blogposts, I love social media. I am particularly fond of instagram. It can be such a time waster, but I have also gained a lot from using it. Its all about balance guys. OK! I’m deviating. Let’s rewind a little bit. What was it that I was thinking about? I was scrolling through instagram par usual when I saw a post highlighting Nigerian Americans as the most educated people group in the United States. I smiled, feeling proud of my country. I remembered some “You know your parents are African when…” jokes and I think I chuckled a bit. Then I got to thinking.
We make all these jokes about all the trouble our African parents gave us, and we swear we can do it better. They didn’t know it all, just like we don’t know it all now, in a time of vast availability of knowledge. But, somehow, they managed to raise some of the greatest minds in the world. Somehow, they managed to raise children whose names are appearing in the news for great talent, imagination, initiative and personality. They raised children with entrepreneurial minds that inspire others. A lot of these children did not make the news, but in the nook and corner they find themselves, they are setting themselves apart. I hear and see evidence of this almost everyday.
Not all turned out okay though. There are the few that make the news for bad reasons and others don’t make the news at all because they have tales too sad to tell. That being said, I began to worry. I looked at us, the products of our parents’ work, and I began to wonder. Thirty years from now, what will be said about my children? What will my children say about me? Through the ups and downs we will have together, will they be grateful that I am their mom? It dawned on me how foolish we were to make those boasts, beating our chests with the claim that we could do it better. It dawned on me… that parenting is not as easy as they made it look. It dawned… it dawned on me, that they were doing the best they knew how and that they truly desired the best for me.
My African parents. I finally began to see it. The friendship in the “come and help me in the kitchen”, the companionship in the “bring this remote for me”, the love in the punishments and sometimes over the top yelling, the fear in the “if I catch you talking to boys”, the care in the “have you eaten?” that we conveniently forget to mention. I am super grateful and honoured to have had the unusual privilege to be brought up by two Africans who were present for me! I see lots of families, families that I once ignorantly wished I was a part of. But, as the true story unfolds I see that nobody could do it better for me than my African parents. They were definitely not perfect, but at least they showed up for me. They gladly took upon the responsibility of paying all my fees, feeding me, not making me pay rent in their house, disciplining me, laughing at me, crying for me. Gosh! I thought about it, and just remembered how blessed I am.
Do we think we can be half the parents ours were? Can we find time to show up for our kids in the midst of our goal pursuing and selfie taking? Are we smart enough to correctly judge what our kids can get away with and what they can’t? Are we really confident that we have what it takes to raise children better than the giants our parents raised?
Laughing is good, reminiscing is fun, but we should remember to also appreciate them for their tireless labour over us, respect them for all the sacrifices they’ve made for us, learn from all the wisdom they gained by raising us and bear the heavy weight of doing even better for our children, inspired by what was done for us.
Be a good child today, and plan on being an even better parent tomorrow.