Written By Kwame Asiedu - The introductory line to my favourite play written by Ola Rotimi is "The struggles of man begins at birth" and thus when Odewale the protagonist appears on stage as a man who is unaware of his true personality, the scene is set for a typical African script.
Our children this is the reason for which I write, your emergence unto the stage of life is no accident. As long as two consenting adults decided without cohesion to engage in coitus without any back up in this day of contraceptive abundance and failed miserably in practicing interruptus, accidental birth is not an acceptable excuse.
Consequently it is our responsibility as adults and parents to ensure that unlike Odewale you are aware of your true personality and constantly in tune with yourself. The reality is your life will be two phased; one lived in our shadows and the other as your own adult.
It is important that you are mindful of the adage “your future lies exactly where your past began.” Thus never lose sight of your identity, research your culture but don’t accept it all as the gospel. Never believe that culture is set in stone, in fact it is a moving beast.
Throughout history from the days when women suffragists in the United Kingdom fought for the right to vote back in 1872, through African countries struggle for independence in the middle of the twentieth century and the civil right movement, people have constantly challenged the status quo and reshaped customs and culture.
It would be strange therefore if as parents we expected to educate you and dominate your space. Challenge our thoughts especially as we age and you mature into young adulthood, lest we pollute your space with thoughts laced with early stage degenerative brain disease.
Dementia and Alzheimer are realities of our time and denial is the order of the day, you may be the ones to spot the first signs of our generations brain degeneration, don’t let that hold you back. In fact, help us accept the condition and malfunctioning of our brains when that time comes.
Be conscious of our sensitivity and our ways but never let that prevent you from being yourself, the reality of life is that occasionally you will step on toes and offend people close to you. The hallmark of maturity is your ability to have your way and mend the fence. Sadly not all fences would be mended but that should not deter you go with your convictions.
"Make a clean break, smooth or rough, from living in our shadows, taking the experience of the first phase of life only as a guide. Live your life in relevance with your time, for the knowledge that resulted in decisions of our time may have outlived their usefulness; truth is the customs that led to the creation of the typewriter for example are irrelevant in these days of the tablet."
Always remember popular culture is a place where pity is called compassion, flattery is called love, propaganda is called knowledge, tension is called peace, gossip is called news, and auto-tune is called singing.
This should not be the culture of your time for it stifles development, indemnifies ignorance, creates foot soldiers and makes nonsense of the human brain.
Like Chuck Palahniuk said “the first step especially for young people with energy, drive and talent, but no money is to control your world by controlling your culture, to model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in, to write the books, model the science, make the music, shoot the films and paint the art.”
Never accept the age old adage "the adult is always right." it is a saying skewed in chauvinistic beliefs, as adults we know we often get it wrong but struggle with accepting our faults, please don’t let us off the hook. Be tacit and help us to deal with our errors, it can be painful but cathartic.
Always remember that no two people are the same, accept your differences; celebrate and explore them, let them be the basis of your learning and competitive edge. Don’t be afraid to compete for nothing is gained through lack of effort; reality is “failure to try is trying to fail.”
Have faith but don’t be fundamentalists, never take any sacred book as the absolute truth, never believe that anyone in the days when healthcare was minimal lived to 969 years. Explore your faith and believe what is relevant, be mindful of the context, customs and times in which most of these sacred books were written. Live your lives by putting your faith in the context of your time.
Be guided by distinguished scientist John Polkinghorne F.R.S. K.B.E view that “If we are seeking to serve the God of truth then we should really welcome truth from whatever source it comes. We shouldn’t fear the truth. Some of it will be from science, obviously, but by no means all of it. It will sometimes be perplexing, how this bit of truth relates to that bit of truth; we know that within science itself often enough and we find it outside of science as well. The crucial thing is to be honest."
Always have an insatiable quest for success and be ambitious, "the butterfly thinks himself a bird" were the words of Gbonka only after Odewale had committed the abomination of killing his father and marrying his mother, tragic as it sounds he had succeeded in becoming king, thanks to his ambition.
I would conclude by quoting Bob Nesta Marley “emancipate yourself from mental slavery, for none but yourself can free up your mind.” In recent days I have come to conclude that many who have traversed the heights of success in our generation have free up their minds and challenged the status quo.
We may be your parents but we are no tin gods, we may know a bit more than you but honestly we don’t have all the answers. Like a line in the ode of my primary school goes “we the children of the university primary school our aim is to aspire higher and to follow our parents academically, more beyond is our motto.”
We expect you to dominate your time beyond our wildest dreams and expectations and promise not to hold you back, like a pack of wolves when the hunger is right we shall let you lose.