BusinessDay

Desert days and the loss of a parent

I was mesmerised two months ago by a 15-year old who knew what time it is. I was fully engaged. She regaled me with tales of how she thought young people were not empathetic enough of their parents. I looked again. 15-year old. Wise beyond her years.

You see Aunty, she continued. Young people must understand that their parents, especially their mothers, have so much to worry about and have their own challenges too. Many mothers, she continued, have their private sorrow and cry in their rooms. But they brace up when they come out of their rooms, wipe their tears and wear a forced smile in order to carry on for their children.

She went on to speak about the stress a parent has to go through to make sure their children are okay. The hustle, the school runs, the worries, the financial crunch, provisions, other extended family members, food for the house, school fees, clothing and everyone’s needs. Looking straight into my eyes, she asked if I had ever needed a hug as a mother in the middle of a storm. I nodded vigorously.

These were desert days. When you find yourself alone. Knowing your mum would have left everything. Knowing her sacrifices are uncountable. Seeing nowhere to turn. You cry the tears of loss and turn to God

Most parents mostly need hugs, she said. But most children she said never give it, never offer it and blame their parents for every horrible thing that ever happened to them. A lot of some of which the parents may never have known about. With this last blast, she hugged me, flashed me a knowing smile and walked into the warm Abuja morning sunlight.

I remained glued to my seat. All of 15 years and wise beyond her years. While not necessarily standing in the gap for all parents, especially because I know that there are bad parents in any generation, I think this young lady has captured a new trend on- and off-line by mostly young people. Parent bashing. When I go online, the vitriol is unprecedented The internet has not helped matters. Bearing mostly anonymous names some Nigerian children seem to have vacated ‘Honour your father and your mother.’

The influence of Western culture has exploded on our faces. Parental insult online is unprintable. What was the crime? Its unassailable. Over 50 percent of young people are heaping unspeakable insults on their parents, something is terribly wrong.

Read also: Parenting goes beyond giving birth to a child – Akwitti

Parenting is hard. No one gets a manual. We all learn as we go along. Parents learn from their forebears. I certainly learnt from my parents how to be a good parent. But whether that’s enough is a different question entirely.

I remember when my parents passed on – my dad before my mum. It was a difficult period many years. No one to take my challenges. My mum was my friend and confidant. She would listen. I could tell her anything. My dad was my hero. The man who made provision and took me around the world. I miss them both dearly.

Only last night I was bothered by some life bothers. I sat up all night. I looked at my mother’s number on my phone. I have not been able to delete her number since she passed on many years ago. Mum would have had the answer. It was shocking at 2 am that she could have been the only one I could tell. Not a friend. Not a sibling. Not a spouse.

These were desert days. When you find yourself alone. Knowing your mum would have left everything. Knowing her sacrifices are uncountable. Seeing nowhere to turn. You cry the tears of loss and turn to God.

It’s time for young people to know that those desert days would come to everyone. That to love ones parents and provide for them is a spiritual investment.

Knowing that I did my best for my parents gives me comfort on desert days. The peace to weather the storm. After the prayers, it is them speaking for you in the right spiritual places.

Let us remember… the wisdom and prayers of our parents enable us… May desert days never find you empty… Amen. Do the needful for your parents today.…

Tomorrow is assured…

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