Saturday, April 9, 2011

Growing Pains

I have calmed down from my earlier outburst. I still pray those things on the evil people that did that evil thing. But here's the post I earlier promised (this one is for you Funbi. Lol)

I have a younger brother who is 9 years younger than me. Depending on how you look at it, it may or may not be a wide age gap. We relate great with each other (cos I'm cool like that and down with the cool kids :D. Lol)but I have observed that our age gap means we are light years apart in the way our respective childhoods went. My parents had a bit more disposable income when my brother came along and that may have impacted the way he was raised but my sister and I were by no means Orphan Annies.
Anyways, i have been observing these modern day kids and what I've noticed about my brother's generation and onward(a.k.a the MTV generation) is very alarming. The kids of now-a-days, whether you term them lower, middle or upper class, have very evolved and sophisticated tastes. The way I was raised is certainly not how my brother was raised. I'm aware that there should have been a deviation from the pattern of raising us, seeing as my parents have more disposable income and are now older, but, I didn't expect the change to be glaring. So this is a little comparative analysis between my growing up era and that of the MTV generation.

When I was growing up, I had simpler tastes and even simpler expectations. All I wanted, was to be able to say La Campigne Tropican three times without blabbing (remember that advert?!!! Ahhhhhh. Where has the time gone) I practiced that for hours and days on end and I'm glad to say that my practice yielded fruit. I also wanted to GO to La Campigne Tropicana. These days, the MTV kids want to speak with an accent and will not accept anything less than a foreign trip at least once a year. In fact, I know some kids that it is business class or bust o. They're not playing with you. Mscheeeewwwww!

As, a generation, we were content with the simpler things of life. They didn't even look simple then cos our parents built these things up so much, they almost felt magical. Little things just rocked my world as a kid. I remember the first time I was allowed to use one of my Mother's breakable plates. It was on my 8th birthday. That was the first official thing that cemented my adulthood. I remember it was a Sunday and we had just come back from church and I was just rearing to go because my mother had been hinting for weeks that I was going to get to use a glass plate for my birthday. I remember taking my jollof rice and walking gingerly to the dinning table, careful not to trip on anything to ruin this perfect moment. I remember just beaming huge smiles throughout the day. As I write this, I'm a bit emotional and nostalgic about that time. It was such a big deal for me and I just felt nothing could ever top that moment. It was a combination of being trusted and recognized as an adult and if a rocket was launched into our house on that day, I would have given my life to protect that glass plate. That's how important it was to me.
I just can't get over how uncomplicated life was for me then. I'm sure some of you can relate. The biggest issues in my life aside from school revolved around sitting in the front seat or by the door in the back seat when we were in the car and having my fanta in the bottle when my mum shared a bottle of fanta between 3 of us. Period.
I remember how sitting in the front seat or if that seat was occupied, sitting near the door at the back was such a huge deal it almost had to involve the NATO peace-keepers. We would fight for hours over who got to sit in any of those seats and the looser (which usually was me cos my parents reasoned that as the oldest, I really should stop being an 'agbaya' and give up things for my siblings) would cry and sniffle (very quietly....cos my mother was not above a car ass-whoopping) all the way to the destination.
Like I said earlier, my mum would share 35cl bottle of Fanta between the 3 of us. This is not because we didn't have an entire crate of drinks in my house. But my mum had 3 reasons for this:
A. It is just plain greedy for a child to drink an entire bottle of fanta on his/her own
B. There's too much sugar in the drink and your little body cannot handle it and you will get Jedi-Jedi (don't know the english equivalent of Jedi-Jedi but I guess it is diarrhoea or something)
C. Too much sugar makes you hyper, hyper children will catch a beat down that will hurt her more than it hurts us. So it was in your best interest really to only be permitted a drink of a third of the content of the bottle.
I didn't even have a problem with the quantity. All I wanted was for my share to be contained in the bottle! But I usually ended up loosing out in this struggle as well (see reason for that above) Irrespective of this, I was still so grateful that I got to drink fanta those random times I got my third of a bottle. Fanta was a special drink that you only got at parties. So on the odd Sunday when my mother was benevolent enough to give us a bottle to share, we nearly worshipped at her feet in order to thank her for giving us that delicious elixir of the gods.

In this generation, the appreciation for the simple things has simply vanished. In fact gratitude and appreciation for anything at all has all but vanished. I've never seen such a bunch of entitled brats in my life. I really don't blame the kids, they are just a product of their time. But all they do is want, want, want. Kids have higher expectations these days. All those simple things I mentioned as the highlight of my young life just does not matter to them. They came out of the womb eating on glass plates WITH glass spoons sef, they drink an entire bottle of fanta on a daily basis, they have drivers and seat in the OWNER's corner, so really, just stuff your simple things of life. They want x boxes, playstations, blackberries, foreign holidays and designer clothes. Those are the things that make them happy. And the happiness is very fleeting. It is usually extremely short lived. The minute you buy a much demanded and cried about x box, Sony (satan's think-tank) will introduce a newer version which they instantly want. Instant gratification is their watchword. And we adults keep indulging them.
They are just so jaded. A 7 year old has seen it all and done it all. By 7, he/she has
probably had 2 failed relationships, travelled to 10 countries, lives in a mansion with servants, tweets about his/her life and is just bored with it all. What do these kids have to look forward to? They've pretty much done everything before 13. It is a worrying trend and what is more worrying is the outrageous amounts required to keep them in the lifestyle they're accustomed to. I worry particularly because I don't have kids yet and if things continue to proceed in the manner they're going, I wonder what I will amuse my kids with and how much it will cost me on a continued basis.
And these kids come in contact with peer pressure so early in life. So your refusal or inability to provide them with their exorbitant amusement is not only noticed by your kids but by their peers and we all know that behind their cherubic faces, kids are the cruelest things on the face of the earth. So the kids feel you've failed them cos A,B and C's parents got them a bb torch within the first week it came out and you're leaving the poor child alone to slum it with a bold2. Where's the justice in that?

Now more than ever, it is important for kids to be cool and to be seen as cool. Back in the days, I was the kid that inadvertently ended up with the cool things and doing cool stuff. I never went to the cool name tagged parties, what i did instead, one year when i ran up the phone bill, was get a job (at my father's insistence) it wasn't the norm then and it ended up being quite cool and a few people i knew got jobs too cos of that. My parents were deliberately and painfully uncool and if they'd realized I was getting some kind of street cred from some of the stuff I had or did, they would have put an end to it. I asked my mum about why she didn't see the need to help me attain some level of coolness a few years ago and she said "I wanted you to be comfortable as yourself and to see that being you was the coolest thing as opposed to owning things that you thought made you cool" And I dig that. My street cred came from being myself. But you can't even tell my brother that type of rubbish right now. I'm glad to say that as he has grown older, he has become more self assured and is an innately and incredibly cool young man but in the earlier years, it was a bit touch and go. He went to a really posh secondary which almost robbed him of his sense of self but we are glad to have him back. What these kids own is now almost always tied to who they are. Dangerous? I think so too.
I never got pocket money as a child. I didn't need it. People would call round to ours and bestow upon me 50kobo or 1Naira. It was the most benevolent of callers that would go as far as 5,10 or 20 Naira. And when you got this money, you either put it in you 'kolo' (local piggy bank) or you give it to your parents. The story is universal: daddy is the trust fund that is guaranteed to double your investment and mummy is the dodgy Naija scam: it promises returns but you will NEVER see your returns and you will also not see your initial deposit. Let me see you try and pull this scam on one of these MTV kids. In fact, I dare you. They know the value of money even more than Cecilia Ibru. Their eyes don shine well, well. You even need to be careful of the amount of money you give some of these kids before they 'doti' you a.k.a fall your hand. Giving a child with an MTN mobile phone 500 Naira, na real falling of hand. You must endeavor to at least dash them enough money to purchase the top end credit of their service provider. And in this BB day and age, at least give them money for BIS. If you were not aware, that's how now-a-days children rate the money you give them. I've heard my brother scorn someone for giving him money that he said and I quote "can't even buy anything not even credit. If he wants sef, I will remove x4 of that from my pocket now now and give him" See, zero sense of gratitude.

Final thots: I'm just shocked at the gulf that exists between this modern generation and mine. I didn't really think the gap was even wide enough to consider them a different generation until I was talking about my pretty old Walkman one day and my brother said "what is a Walkman?" apart from the technological disparity, values have really changed and it is becoming increasingly difficult to make kids have a more down to earth approach to things. There's no rhyme or reason to this post. It is just another thing that came to mind. All I know is that I'm terrified for when I start to have kids. I just fear how completely different and totally alien my thots will be from theirs if I'm struggling this hard to keep up with a sibling who is not even a decade apart from me.


  1. ROTFLMAOOO @ this is so spot on..i quarrel with my parents all d time cos of the level of my sister's spoilt nature...nothing excites her anymore except it is a trip to a new country or the latest fone in the market and this chid is only 15!!!..*rolls eyes*..i remember the days when i had to share everything with my mum even used to deny us the pleasure of eating meat oh!!! thats a story for another day..loool...anyway i love this post very much..keep em

  2. LOL!!!! ure so right!!! my sisters are just 2 & 3 years younger than i am and my goodness! I can feel the gap!!!! In this era of technology, little things are no longer appreciated...i dont know what to do

    im a new follower.

  3. Gigi, I tire o. Lol @ no meat.

    Yay! Sisi Yemmie! I follow your blog too. Tres amazing!

  4. This is really spot lil sis insists that she's takin a vacation in France which is been organized by her sch my sch only went as far as accra n I was nt even allowed to go...n she frowns n gets her wish n am thinking I really ave to make moni for my kids..tin is I don't see change soon

  5. I think this is because of the 'information age' we leave in. As a result, kids are a lot more exposed faster than we were. It's kinda sad really.



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