“I wish I was 16 so I can know what it feels like to fall under anointing too” I hear Biola say in that childish grating voice of hers. Gradually, I stir from my fall, waiting for my eyes to adjust to the sunlit room. Biola is my 14year old younger sister. I hold my head gently as a wave of headache slammed me. Slowly I shake my head trying to recollect what happened and how I came to be on the bare cold cement floor of our new church.
“You were in a trance,” Biola says as she looks down at me from her upright position in front of me. “What does it feel like?” “Did you see Jesus?” “What about those Ogbanje spirits? Mummy said maybe they are the reason you talk in your sleep on those days we played much.” “Does this mean you’re no longer one of them?” On and on came the battering questions as I try to shake off the ache pounding the back of my head.
But what I really am is hungry. I hear my tummy sigh in agreement as Biola runs towards the back of the church building to get my parents. You see it has been days I had any real food as the last 6 days has been about our yearly Family Restoration Week. Usually during this week, the entire family engaged in series of prayers to ward off evil, pray for blessings and do things together to strengthen the family bond. I particularly like the Restoration week because it is that one time when we children get to eat anything we like.
But this year was different. Mummy said it will be an entire week of Fasting; the first three days without food and water. Fourth and fifth day, we will have water alone. By Day Six, we’ll have fruits and on the seventh day, we’ll have family prayers in church which will mark the end of the Week after which we can go back to our normal diet.
Usually we children were not involved in Fasting. However when I went to the kitchen the morning the Fast began, I couldn’t find my food. Mummy said I’m a big girl and only Biola and Segun would not be allowed to Fast. Biola said she didn’t believe I’ll see the Fast through as I love food too much and she dared me to prove her wrong.
So here I am, six days later with only two days of water and one day of fruits in me, ready to let my parents believe I fell under the intensity of prayers rather than tell them I fell because I hadn’t had food in six days. I look up to see my parents approaching, Biola is right behind them. I hear Pastor Sola shout Hallelujah in that frenzied way of his, praising God that the demon has left me. I close my eyes in exasperation as I hear mummy say; “Oh! God you are great. Thank you for saving my baby”. At that, I slowly let myself fall back to the ground.
Here’s a scenario. Two friends are discussing plans for a friend’s wedding whose Aso ebi costs 20k. Friend One says, “I don’t think I’ll be paying for Aso ebi because what I have is money saved up for school”. Friend Two says, “How much is 20k that you can’t pay”. Friend One says “20k is much o. I’ve been trying to save up for fees since last year and even though I met the mark some months ago, I don’t think I want to spend the extra on Aso ebi I may never wear again”. And Friend Two goes “How come you’re the one paying your fees? Can’t your dad pay? Tell him na. Why are you stressing yourself when he can easily give you?”. Oh, and the issue of Aso ebi, that’s matter for another day but I digress.
So I begin to think. This person has attended primary school on parents’ money. Secondary school on parents’ money. University, parents paid. Then post graduate, you expect them to pay again? It’s not the expecting that’s baffling, it’s the sense of entitlement that comes with that expectation. Aye ma le o… Did your parents come to the world to live and die for you? Yet people like that start working and only send their parents a token of what they get. Some mosques/churches even get more from most people than parents of those people do. Or how many of us really send 10percent of our earnings to parents every month? But we’ll eagerly do so for churches or mosques because “Tithes are a must”.
Growing up, my parents always made it clear; whatever money you didn’t work for, is not your own. Our money is not your money. If we give you, it’s because we want to. Not because you are entitled to it. I guess the definition of work in their time and mine are two generations apart. I think 50 Cent’s “Have a Baby by Me Baby, Be a Millionaire” predicted a new kind of profession for this generation. Or how else can one explain the Baby Mama profession of most ladies this generation? You should listen to that song again.
Moving on, I can only think of one, two, maybe three people who ever ‘dashed’ me money. In fact, my father is a staunch believer of whatever life you want to live, you should pay for it. Bills, lifestyle, the whole hog. So till date, if I get a money dash, I find it weird. Like in my head, I’m thinking, did I work for this? How much help have I offered this person to deserve this? Oh, before you start thinking, “this one no like money o”. Please I like money, I like it better when I’ve earned it. And before you think I’m rich, that’s not it either. (it’s been years my parents gave me anything that can be converted to liquid cash). Like you, I dey hustle. Besides, there’s nothing sweeter than spending money you worked for.
I know sometimes you’re fresh out of University and your parents decide it’s not yet time for you to join the workforce as they’d love for you to go for a postgraduate degree, which they’d gladly pay for. That’s fine. They chose to. But when the child’s attitude to that is the feeling entitlement and being unappreciative, then that’s just bad behaviour.
In my opinion, to raise kids with the idea of parents’ money is theirs is us not preparing them for adulthood and all its messiness. For one, these kids because they know Mummy or Daddy will always pay (or be there) will have little or no idea about money management. Then as a parent, you work all your life so you can retire and leave your kids well-off only to realize later in life that they had squandered everything because they didn’t know how to manage their lives without you.
I think parents should once in a while give their kids a long rope so they can begin to make certain decisions themselves. That way you begin to prepare them for a future of true independence.
So what do you think; is your daddy’s money yours?