I froze on the spot when my 8 years old brother told me I did not have to let the bus conductor playfully hit my buttocks so we could pay for one seat instead of two for the three of us. Those words stung me and opened up a hidden emotion of anger for my parents. They seem to believe that fending for our physical and educational needs are what they owe us the most.
‘You are the leaders of tomorrow; you and your siblings’ those are my father’s favourite words to us when we are sad or sometimes when we are happy. When he is not saying that, he is blaming the Government for not doing enough for the citizens, especially young citizens like I and my brothers. Our parents are lovely and very receptive. I adore them but despite the freedom of speech they allow us to exercise, I still feel our parents are not very considerate of our emotions, myself and my brothers.
We relocated to Ikorodu, Lagos two years ago. I was very excited about this because our house had bigger rooms and my parents built it. But my excitement soon faded away when my parents insisted we would be attending my school at Onipanu, Lagos. That was where we relocated from. That is quite a long distance for us. I and my brother complained while we made efforts to explain to our parents how stressful that would be, particularly because we would be using public transport. Despite our pleas, my parents did not budge. They are of the opinion that there are no good schools in Ikorodu, even though we attend a Government school. We were left with no choice than to keep attending our school at Onipanu, Lagos.
There has been a drop in my grades after we moved and my parents have chosen to ignore that the stress of going to school is one major reason. We leave the house as early as 5:30 am and we do not get back till 7:30 pm, those are days when the traffic is not heavy. As much as I take the blame for my decision to be touched to get a free seat on the bus, I cannot but think my parents put me in this situation.
I do not want to be ‘the Leader of Tomorrow’ who has some regrets that could have been avoided only if I was listened to. I do not want to be a leader who was molested and other vices happened to. I am of the opinion that the words ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ has been recycled so many times, it has lost its impact. I know that if I am going to be a leader tomorrow, I do not want to be put in a compromising position has a child.
I am a teenage Nigerian girl who wants her parent to put other things into consideration other than finances. I want the words ‘Leader of Tomorrow’ to still retain its meaning and this starts with my parents trusting my decisions sometimes even if I have to defend it. That is what a leader does right? Make decisions and stand by it.
Mabodu Olamide (_MO).