As a former resident of the United Kingdom, the first thing I discovered about British undergraduates, is that all of them did holiday or weekend jobs to support themselves-including the children of millionaires. It is the norm over there. And I soon discovered that all other foreign students did the same with the exception of us status-conscious Africans.
I watched billionaire Richard Branson (owner of Virgin Airline) speaking on the Biography Channel and, to my amazement; he said that his young children travel in the economy class-even when he and his wife are in upper class.
A quick survey showed that only children from Africa fly business or upper class to commence their studies in the UK. No other foreign students do this. There is no aircraft attached to the office of the Prime Minister because he travels on British Airways (BA). The same goes for the Royal family. The Queen does not have an aircraft for her exclusive use.
These practices simply become the culture, which the next generation carries forward. However, there’s one core difference between these people and us (Africans in general). They (even the billionaires) work for their money while ours is basically stolen.
If we want our children to bring about the desired change we have been praying for on behalf of our dear continent, then please, please let’s begin now and teach them to work hard so they can stand alone and most importantly be content, and not have to “steal” anything.
At the age of 18, a typical young adult in the UK leaves the clutches of his/her parents for College. It is certain that will be the last time those parents will ever play “landlord” to their son or daughter except of course the occasional home visits during the academic year.
At 21 and above, the now fully grown and independent minded adult graduates from University, searches for employment, gets a job and shares a flat with other young people on a journey to becoming responsible adults.
Some might think that is because the UK’s economy is thriving, safe, well structured and jobs are everywhere. I beg to differ and ask that you kindly hear me out. I am a UK trained Recruitment Consultant and I have been in training for the past 10 years in Uganda. I have a broad range of experience from recruiting graduates to Executive Director Level of large corporations. In addition, I speak from the point of view of someone with relatively privileged upbringing.
I was driven to school every day, I had my clothes washed for me, I was barred from taking any part-time job during my A-levels so that I could concentrate on studying for my exams! BUT, I got the opportunity to live on m own at 18 and the only time I came back home to stay was for 3 months before I got married!
Am I saying that every parent should wash their hands off their children at 18?
Of course not. I enjoyed the savings I made from living in my parent’s house in London - and indeed that is the primary reason for my being able to buy myself a 3 bedroomed flat in London at 25 with absolutely no direct financial help from my parents!
For me, pocket money stopped at 22, not that it was ever enough for my lifestyle to compete with the likes of Paris Hilton. Meanwhile today, we have children who have never worked a day in their lives yet insisting on flying only first or business class. They carry the latest Louis Vuitton, Victoria’s Secret and Jimmy Choo ensemble, fully paid for by their “loving” parents.
I often get calls from anxious parents saying their son graduated 2 years ago and is still looking for a job! So where exactly is this “child” and why is the parent making the call? I am yet to get a satisfactory answer, but between you and me, chances are that the boy is probably sitting lazily at home waiting for his parents to do everything for him.
It is not at all strange to have a 28-year-old who has NEVER worked for even 5 minutes but “earns” a six-figure “salary” from his parents; doing absolutely nothing.
I see them in my office all the time, 26-years-old with absolutely no skills to sell, apart from a shiny CV, written by his dad’s secretary. Of course, he has a driver at his beck and call. After a fairly decent conversation, we get to the inevitable and I ask what salary they are looking to earn. The answer comes straight out; 2,000,000.
I wonder if that is per month or per annum.
Of course it is per month. On asking why they feel they should earn that much the answers are enough to send you totally nuts.
Apparently, their current home allowance is also a seven figure salary so an employer should be able to pay more than the parents! I try very hard to compose myself.
Over parenting is in my opinion the greatest evil crippling the youth. It is at the root of our national malaise.
We have a youth population being “breastfed and diapered” well into their 30’s. Parents are the death of these kids. Is it any wonder corruption continues to thrive? We have a society of young people who have been brought up to expect something for nothing, as if it were a birth right.
I want to encourage you to send your young men and women (anyone over 20 can hardly be called a child) out into the world, maybe even consider reducing or cutting off pocket money to encourage them to think, explore and strive on their own. Let them know that it is possible for them to succeed without your help.
Take a moment and think back to your own time as a young man/woman. If someone had kept spoon-feeding you, where would you be today?
No tree grows well under another tree. Children, who are not exposed to challenges, don’t cook well. That is why you see grown people complaining about parents not getting them anything for Christmas!
Because of the challenges we faced in our youth, we are where and what we are today. The syndrome, ‘my children will not suffer what I suffered’ is destroying our tomorrow.
Hard work does not kill; everything in society is going down, including family settings. It is time to re-brand our children and prepare them for tomorrow. We are approaching the season in Africa where only the RUGGED, will survive. How will your ward fare?