Many years back, after I was done from secondary school and waited for money to enrol in the University to no avail, my Dad called me into the sitting-room one evening and said “George, as you can see… There is no money to enrol you in school. You may need to find something doing…” He paused, then asked, “if I should give you thirty thousand naira to start up something, what would you do with it?”
I didn’t think for long, I already had my eyes on something. I had always wanted a laptop and I have always believed I could solve some problems with computer and get people to pay me for it since I didn’t have so much flare for trade and other things. I responded, “well, I will buy a laptop with it”. I had someone who wanted to sell a laptop at that price.
My Dad felt uneasy and then asked: “what will you do with a laptop?” I responded, “I can help people flash their phones with it, load phones with music and movies and get paid for it…” This was those days when such was very lucrative in Onitsha.
My Dad bit his lip, sighed and said “George, do you have shame at all? So, you want to waste money and buy a laptop so that you’ll be bragging with a laptop? So that you’ll be doing nothing and just pressing laptop? That’s laziness! I was expecting you to consider something like selling banana and ground nuts or something…”
Well, that was the end of that conversation. He didn’t give me the money. He considered a laptop a luxury while I was seeing something else. I’d later save up to get a laptop and while I haven’t bought a car or built a house with it, it has helped me tremendously in solving people’s problems. For my dad, the world was stuck with trade, you are either a trader or you are lazy!
My Dad wanted the best for me, he wasn’t being wicked or insensitive but having good intentions isn’t enough.
The world you live in is different from the world your grandparents, some of your parents and even some of the lecturers lived. It is different from the world your favourite elder lived. While many older people moved with the world and upgraded where necessary, not everyone did and not everyone even had the opportunity to do so.
The truth is, you’ll remain limited as long as you view the world from their spectrum. You should be inspired by them, you should be encouraged and motivated by them but you must know that they may not be familiar with your world and they may offer you information that is already stale and less useful for the age we live in.
So, while your mother or father may have been a very good wife and mother, how they ran the family may not always be the ideal. Be inspired by their commitment to make their marriage and family work but always study to know what works in this age and what doesn’t work.
For example, it may have been ideal for your mother to stay back at home every day and take care of the home while your father goes to work to provide for the family but in this age, there are much more responsibilities that one person may not carry and it may be ideal for both of you to work, provide the family and take care of the kids.
It may have been ideal for women to be considered weak in those days when physical strength was needed for survival but today has proven that humans can do so much without physical strength, it has further proven that being female is not synonymous to being weak.
While our parents may advise us saying “the woman is the one who builds the home”, we should appreciate them but remind ourselves that indeed it’s not the woman who builds a home but the man and the woman, especially in this present age.
Learning from older people doesn’t mean replicating what they did, it means learning from their passion, from their achievements and their failures but applying whatever we learnt in a way it can be relevant to our present age.
The world improves every day in terms of technology, science, art and ways of doing things. If those who invented certain things could be waked from the dead to see how much we have advanced from what they built, they’d be amazed! We simply build on top of what has been built, we modify and improve on things, we don’t get stuck in a bid to replicate what others did.
The formula for success is not always the same across ages, what used to be the norms in the past may suddenly stop becoming the norm. This is where I have problems with culture and tradition. Cultures are good, but we must keep improving on them! We don’t have to remain stagnant in a bid to protect the methods of our ancestors while we live less fulfilled.
While we admire things from the past, let’s also improve and leave something for the next generation to admire!
My name is George and I am here to inspire you to be the best you can be and never allow anyone box you in what used to be relevant yesterday than what should be relevant now.