Would you have turned out well if you were born in this era? (Part 1)
By Kingsley Obom-Egbulem
As a teenager, I loved break-dancing and moon walking. Or should I say the robotic moves were my favourite. I was actually a good break dancer. Each time I did those popular break dance moves, I loved to slide as well: the front and back slides and I did it well, whether or not the floor was appropriate.
I fell in love with Break Dance just because it was the dance in vogue while I was growing up. And if you must be one of the happening guys (or babes) you just had to learn the moves. Today, ‘Shorki’ and ‘Alanta’ are the popular dance steps. And every child can identify with it even if they don’t have the opportunity to learn and exhibit it.
So, what vice or habits did you escape from or imbibe not necessarily because you were a good or bad child but simply because you were born at the wrong or right time?
For instance, it was difficult for most of my peers to have seen sexually explicit musical videos as kids because we had just the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) then and TV had strict content vetting and gate keeping policies.
Even if I don’t see much of obscenities today on NTA, I have YouTube and cable TV to satisfy my craving.
So, have you ever looked at some of today’s kids and wondered what went wrong or muttered to yourself “where did we miss it?”
If you did, perhaps I dare say that you probably belong to the Iucky generation-the generation that ‘did no evil’ just because they ‘saw no evil’ and ‘heard no evil’ . If you are in this generation, perhaps you belong to the group of parents (or adults) who keep reeling out tales about the good old days- the days when families and schools had values. The days when we even had national values. Or so it seemed.
So, what happened to the good old days? And what happened to our values? Do you think you would have been the good girl or good boy you turned out to be if you were born in the Internet age? Are you certain that your parents would have had a smooth ride raising a child like you in the current dispensation?
I’m not sure I wouldn’t have been a Justin Bieber or a Davido if I had Youtube, reality TV shows and a smartphone while growing up. I doubt if I would have loved to read books and develop creative writing skills if I had 24hr cable TV, facebook, twitter and whatsapp to chat all day long. I’m sure if I were born in this era, my parents would have had a hard time coping or competing with the influences of Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Big Brother housemates, Chris Brown, Don Jazzy, Flavour, Whiz Kid, Rihanna, Tuface and Lady Gaga.
Come to think of it, while kids then were coping with musical videos of Christy Essien Igbokwe, Chris Okotie, Jide Obi, Onyeka Onwenu and Majek Fashek on NTA, kids today are contending with all sorts of videos (including tons of pornography) right in my pocket, 24 hours, with or without NEPA or PHCN.
And taking about pornography, the best you could get growing up years ago were innocuous pages of topless models ripped from Vogue Magazine or playboy magazine. For the locals, we had Wale Adenuga bringing us the escapades of Dauda the Sexy Guy every month. Not many of us could afford to read it though. It only circulated amongst adults. It’s very difficult to find an18 year old with a collection of porn videos let alone struggle with pornography addiction then. Not anymore.
If you left your child in front of your television then (perhaps to have your bath) , you could predict what he or she would be exposed to before you return: New Masquerade, Sunny Side of life, Icheoku,Hotel D’Jordan and Tales By Moonlight. You won’t dare leave your child to watch TV alone today. The child would have become someone else by the time you are back.
Children’s parties were indeed parties for children. And not a party by an adult who wants to indulge and show off his or her obscenities and wants his /her friends to bring their kids along.
I think we were indeed lucky.
Most things worked in our favour and little wonder our parents had no stress whipping us back into line each time we stray away from the right path. Just one look at you, a flipping of the leg, the message is sent, received and understood.
Not any more. Things have really changed.
I often hear many parents brag about their upbringing and glory in the quality of home-training they got while growing up as kids. I hear them talk about how they were raised on “strong family values” and how you could be upbraided or even whipped for not kneeling down or lie prostrate to greet your parents and other elderly members of your family and community.
We are often wowed with tales of how people went to the market and rather than wait for the yam seller who apparently had gone to answer the “call of nature” simply took the yam they wanted and dropped the money on top of the heaps of yam without anyone tampering with it.
We were also told about how parents (after giving out their daughter in marriage) would eagerly await news from their in laws on the night after their daughters wedding ceremony. We are told parents looked forward to seeing the bloodstained bed sheets on which the daughter consummated her marriage. And the moment they see blood on the bed sheets,they heave a sigh of relief albeit a sense of accomplishment that they actually gave her out as a virgin and that the young woman did not put them to shame by not breaking her hymen.
Such were the days when children knew that the only way to pass any exams was to read their books, only their books and nothing else but their books. Seems those days are gone (or going) with increase in the number of “Special” or Miracle Centres and parents are either bribing officials of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) or paying for mercenaries to write exams for their kids.
And we ask again; would you have turned out right if you were raised in the face of some of the challenges today’s children are living with? Would you have remained a virgin and stayed off drugs if you had lived with the influences and pressures of today? Do you think your parents would have been successful raising you today with the same knowledge and skill they relied on while raising you then?
Join me as we conclude this conversation next week.
Let’s rethink parenting.
Obom-Egbulem can be reached through: