By Nkechi Amunike
Have you ever wondered how lucky you are in life? Yes, some of us may find life rough and tough but believe it when I say that you are better than a lot of people out there. Some of us eat at least three times a day yet there are lots of people out there who eat once a day or worse still have nothing to eat. There are some who do not have roofs over their heads but you do. There are people who roam about naked not because it's their choice but because they do not have clothes or rather they do but prefer to dress indecently.Some of us, the fortunate ones go to work with our private vehicles while others use the public transport and the disabled ones beg on the streets. It can't ordinarily be their wish to beg on the streets but 'condition' that has put them in that state. Yes, 'condition',because it could either be accident which led to the amputation of one foot or hand, made the victim crippled,havea broken neck, spinal cord problem or even death. Let me start with education. This holiday for example, during the holiday, while most kids were travelled during the vacation, some visited family friends occasionally, some followed their parents to their different places of work, some spent the holidays sleeping almost 8 hours in a day, other kids out there were hawking, yes hawking because they want to start putting money together for their fees for the next term. The rich and spoilt kids out there will be crying perhaps for a silly reason like, they travelled to Lagos instead of Abuja. Who does that?
Of course, the holiday is a period of rest for students and parents too, a time for parents to spend time with their kids who have been locked up in the four walls of their schools as boarders for a duration of 12 weeks or more for a term. This period is a time for parents to rest while they await the next term when most of them begin to have high blood pressures as to how to pay their children's school fees, especially those who have four or five kids in expensive schools. I know some people will say or ask, “Why were the kids put in expensive schools when the parents know they don't have such money?” Of course, parents in this categoryaren't stupid.They just have a set standard for their children. Some people want the best for their children, it doesn't mean other schools are sub-standard, but like I said they have a set standardwhich they passionately want to attain.There are some of us who are opportune to be blessed in this life but we do not realize this until we find ourselves in worse situations.
To the children and youths, whatever the standard your parents have set for you, see yourself as the subject matter and most important person in the story. One thing I know and believe is that our parents can never lead us through a wrong path, so, don't let the standard limit you to a particular scope If the standard set for you is low because of circumstances, statutes, environment, situations, for example due to the recession in the country, then set a high one for yourself. Attain something higher than what your parents intended. Surprise them. I mean, who doesn't like surprises? Parents love pleasant academic surprises!
Ok, for better clarification let me use myself as an example. I live at Onitsha, Awada to be precise. Right from my parents wedding day, they always had a set standard for us even before our birth. After our birth, my mom set out to look for good schools in Awada but found none except 'local' schools which didn't suit her as they were all below her standards. She then decided to search outside Awada. Her efforts were not in vain as she found a good one, 'Mount Olive School, G. R. A, Onitsha.' After all necessary payments, we all started our nursery and primary school education there. My mom who is a Journalist, sacrificed her job and went into private business in order to spend more time with her kids by doing the school run, home works, washing of uniforms etc, we all know mothers and the loads of work that awaits them at home. She did all this without being pressurized with work. Mount Olive School is a very good school of which five of us graduated from. If the school had its secondary by the time we graduated from the primary session, believe me, we all would have equally graduated from there as well.
After my graduation from Mount Olive, my parents had to go through the stress of searching for another school that would meet their standard. Yes, they found one at Benin- City. The day I wrote that exam, I still can't explain how God did it. I didn't meet up with time because of the distance .By the time I got to the school, they were done with the written session and were moved for refreshment after which the oral interview would take place. As soon as I arrived the school with my mom, the parents there asked lots of question, if I was here for the exam, why I came late, etc. I was later after the numerous questions from parents present there, directed me to where I would write my exam. Of course I was late, so I wrote the exam in the secretary's office. Luckily for me, the questions were what I was taught during lesson the previous day by my primary six teacher, I answered the questions with ease. After the written session, I was directed to the hall where the other students were. After taking my refreshments, I was called for the oral interview. After that session, we were directed to the auditorium where the results would be announced. I heard my name first and three other girls, I was very happy. Then the Reverend Sister said, 'Congratulations, go and call your parents, the principal wants to see them.' I took to my heels to call my mom, as I raced through the walkway, I saw the surprised looks on the faces of the other parents there, then one Yoruba woman there said, 'Aren't you the girl that came late?' I answered, 'yes ma.' She carried me up and said happily, 'The last shall be the first.' I was so touched that tears dropped down my face, tears of joy. My mom who was inside the reception came out immediately and asked what the problem was, I told her that I passed but the principal wants to see her first. We took off to the principal's office immediately, she told my mom she wants to confirm if I was an asthmatic patient of which my mom replied negatively. Then she said, 'Congratulations and Welcome to Presentation National High School'. We raced off happily in preparation for clearance in 2 weeks' time. We paid 100,000 termly which was expensive for my parents as my brother was in the boys section of my school at Edo State. They waited patiently for me to complete my JSS3 in the school after which I left the school for Federal Government Girls College, Owerri. Although it was a very sad moment for me, changing schools didn't make me let my guard down. I used the foundation from Mount Olive and Presco as it was fondly called by students, to move high.
To the parents, do not let the economic recession make you set down your standards for your children. There is always a solution to any problem. Do not make your kids feel bad. Speak to them in a language they will understand, that all fingers are not equal. Fill in the gap by guiding them with their homework, providing them with necessary materials they will need for their study in school, encourage them too.
Finally, whether you are a child or a parent, my message is that the opportunities that come your way should be utilized properly. If they are big opportunities, make use of them while you still have them, so that when you no longer have them, you will still make good use of them. Remember, Opportunity they say comes but once. Be wise!ortunity they say comes but once. Be wise!