I have not forgotten a good laughter we had generally when a friend narrated how he tried to outsmart his two primary school children, aged seven and five, as they pestered on him to pay their excursion fee, which he couldn’t afford at the time.
This was at a time their father was struggling to raise money to complete the payment of their school fees, which were considered more important. And there were his children demanding for payment of excursion fee. As the innocent children discussed the expedition with so much glee, our friend became uncomfortable because he tried to show himself to be a responsible father by making a promise to pay. Very often the children would remind him that he had not paid the excursion fee and the date was fast approaching. Their harassed dad would renew the promise to pay.
He began to look for a way around it and could not do much. Eventually, the day for the excursion arrived and the children were not part of it. He felt extremely bad and wondered if he was failing as a father. At home, hell was let loose; the children were almost uncontrollable as their tears flowed freely. They wondered why other students went for the tour while they could not. Their parents felt the pain and tried to make it up to them. Daddy carried both on his laps, called them their pet names, reminded them of his unending love and promised to take them for sight-seeing as a make-up. All parties agreed to the new arrangement on a set Saturday. Children being who they are, excitement was at its peak looking forward to ice-cream, doughnut, fried rice and chicken on the agreed day. As Daddy was taking them to school, he picked other students who were also going to the same school, out of excitement. His seven-year-old son announced to his friends: “Daddy will take us to Mr. Biggs on Saturday.” Daddy was not comfortable with that announcement; he looked at his boy from the rearview and said: “For telling other students our agreement, you will not partake in the new arrangement again.” The little boy’s face turned into a frown. At this point, the wife intervened and rescued Daddy financially to save the day.
Now, this is an account from just one home. So many families have been bitten by this bug. When children make demands, and do not get an answer, such children would not be happy. And one day, they would shock the parents by presenting the scorecard of their parents.
My other colleague told me of how his children brought their school bill for the term, and in their presence he began to cancel out some items in it that he felt were not necessary.
He crossed out inter-house sports, mid-day meal, and after school lesson fees. The son was looking at his daddy, shocked. I asked my colleague, why he did he do it in the son’s presence. His response: “He is a growing young man; he should know what his father can afford and what he cannot.” I didn’t know what to make of that answer, whether right or wrong. But if you ask me, my personal principle and attitude towards training is pay every school requirement because education remains the best legacy in life. These children in question are demanding for instruments around the academic environment; yet the economic situation is not paving way for them. What if a child asks for a birthday celebration at home or school, snacks, new clothing and shoes, social family outing? What is wrong with it? It is not out of place because it is their legal right.
Now, it is important for us to know that children did not come to this world on their own volition. Biblically, God gave the command and say “Go ye into the world and multiply’. Parents sincerely and genuinely ask for precious children to be fulfilled, complete and accomplished as parents. It is in the quest of this accomplishment that couples go the extra mile to have just one and many more. Some go to seek help from herbalists and those that can afford it resort to fertility centres and assisted conception (IVF) to achieve pregnancy and have a child.
Children are a great source of joy to homes. As soon as they are born, the environment changes immediately, quarrels cease and smiles and greetings becloud the home. Gifts come from far and near. It is a moment of joy to have a child to behold and celebrate. It has never been an easy job to raise children and see them succeed, especially with the present economic situation in the country, where the middle class is almost gone.
With parents struggling to meet up with the basic necessities of life, then come some nauseating bills. As the children are growing, so also are needs arising, yet the economy is not improving as expected. The lack occasioned by the recession has rattled many families, including the rich. Businesses have nose-dived and a few have managed to survive the situation. Children also are at the receiving end too.
Every parent wants his or her child to be super successful in life; but raising them in financial difficulty could be traumatising. But children must not bear the financial burden because they are not parents. There is nothing wrong when children assist their parents under supervision.
Of course, having to explain factors such as inflation, interest rates, government policies and recession to children is not a funny situation, but careful parents have found a way around it. Some diversified into various businesses, which were considered low when the going was good. It is important for parents to have multiple streams of income to maintain a stable home.
Parents who use school fees, which is their primary responsibility to taunt their children might be failing in their duties. At a slight offence, the outburst would be, “I will not pay your school fees again.” Some say it out of anger and stick to it. It was the reason a woman cried out to her pastor to intervene because her husband had refused to pay their daughter’s school fees. Granted that she disobeyed her father by following her friends to a birthday party he did not approve of, stopping her education was not the best punishment for her; rather she needed counselling, awareness on the biblical stand on disobedient children, the dangers of such private parties and to show her great women who have distinguished themselves in various fields of endeavour.
Dear parents, children should not bear the financial crunch of the economic situation. These are children who cause mixed feelings in homes.
When they are young and living with parents, they can be a handful of troubles, but when they start to go out to face their own challenges, the house becomes empty and they are missed greatly. Whatever they were taught, shown, experienced and had known about life will become their guiding principle. If they are molested, abused or maltreated, they keep all these records. Let children be children and enjoy their childhood and growing up years, which will lead them to nurse their parents when they are aged, weak and frail.