To leave or not to leave my parents’ home?

Recentlyon the Kigali in the Morning show, we had a discussion on when is the right age for one to leave their parents’ home and live on their own. This is normally a sensitive subject, like many other subjects considered personal. I have a friend who has done well for himself.

Jackie Lumbasi

He has 10 children, some live abroad and a few others stay with him in his 10-bedroom mansion. He has regularly had conversations with his children and reminds them that what they see and currently live on is his; he inherited nothing from his parents and so his children will inherit nothing from him. As soon as he is done paying college or university fees for any of his children, he sets them loose to go and discover the world and become the best they can be. Because of the constant reminder, his children worked relatively harder than most children from well-to-do families and none of them has returned home. They are always happy to leave home and go earn whatever they can from the education their parents afforded them.

What came through from the on-air discussion is that most parents in Rwanda do not allow their daughters to leave home before marriage without realising that this has more disadvantages than advantages. The fact that one lives with their parents does not stop them from doing things that are feared to be done by those who live alone, such as going out, drinking, dating and everything else. The only difference is that one retires to their parents’ home when night falls and the other to his/her own home. Unfortunately, while trying to protect the girls, the boys seem to have looked around and since nobody was looking, decided to also become beneficiaries. The result is a good number of men in their 30s continuing to live at home and enjoying the fruits of their parents’ hard labour, even when they are employed. One of the listeners blamed expectations from society and suggested that it’s better to stay with the parents instead of going out to struggle alone just to prove to society that one is independent. In my opinion, anything to do with personal growth and development should be hinged on personal initiative. We should always strive to be better people, discover more and embrace every opportunity to grow so that when our time to become parents arrives we don’t fail.

I come from a very liberal family and for that I am thankful. Being the first born, I had to leave home early to ensure a better life for myself and my people. Having left home in my early 20s there’s nothing about life I have not experienced; I know what it means to have and not to have. My life has not been devoid of mistakes, but for every one of those mistakes there was a great lesson learnt that prepared me for the future. The fact that I have had to earn and spend my money, including paying some of my school fees, has made me a better finance manager. There is always enough to take me through the day and share with the ones I care about. When I borrow I make sure I pay back. Living alone teaches one about life in ways parental cushioning never will. I look back today and there are things my siblings and I would never have achieved if I had stayed home longer. Therefore, when faced with the choice to leave or to stay, I say go with the one that encourages independence and growth.

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