There they were, a group of young men whose ages ranged from 14-16 years. I’d gone to meet them as to get information from them. So I walked up to them and said “hello, good afternoon”, before I could finish, one of them replied “sup”? I was puzzled; it took me awhile to realize that was the short form of “what’s up”. I had to look behind to find out if there was someone else behind me they were talking to because as far as I could remember, the greeting “good afternoon” came with a similar reply or something that respectful, especially if you were talking to someone older than you which I clearly was to them.
I was more shocked than angry, what had happened to our youths? What would give a young man the boldness to tell his elder ” sup” in reply to a decent greeting. I thought of the way things use to be. When the unwritten rule had, respect for elders across borders. In the west, a younger person laid on the floor/ knelt down to greet an elder, in the north an almost similar way too. In the east, the greeting had the younger men shaking the elder with two hands, while the women bowed and where patted at the back.
Once upon a time, a child would simply obey when spoken to because it was generally believed that your parents knew the best thing for you, today kids want to know the “why” before they obey. I had a lady recount her disgust when she saw a six years old girl have a tantrum in a bakery. According to her the tantrum was because she couldn’t have a cup cake, which was on special order. The bakery were apologetic they couldn’t give that to her but even suggested to give her another cake for free but she insisted that it must be that cake or none and because she couldn’t have her way, she laid down on the floor and wailed drawing the attention of the other diners. It was a very embarrassing scene according to her but the most annoying was the mother’s reaction to it all. She said the lady was scolding the bakery attendant for not heeding to her daughter’s request while pleading with the daughter to stop wailing.
This mother’s reaction was a far cry from what was common in the past; back then most mother’s just had to look at you and that was the end of tantrum. It made me wonder what set of generations we are raising. Once upon a time, out of respect, a younger person would stand up for an elderly person if he/she didn’t have a seat. Will we still have that in our children’s generation especially if we are always on their side in their naughty tantrums? In the past, God’s book was the most sort out manual in raising children, I wonder if it’s still considered a reference point by some parents these days.
In whatever way we choose to raise our children, let’s remember that they are the leaders of tomorrow, so imagine the world you are creating tomorrow with your children; better still imagine the Nigeria of tomorrow!