• Friday, March 01, 2024
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Guiding our children to discover their genius

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It was 9pm and Grandma Yvonne could hear the sound of wailing coming from the Balogun’s house across the street. Thinking that something was terribly wrong, she grabbed her housecoat and quickly rushed out to make sure everything was fine. Mary Balogun heard the doorbell ring and after checking the security camera went to open the door for Grandma Y, as they fondly called her. She was relieved at her presence and hoped that the tense situation in the house could be resolved.

Mary Balogun was a single mother of two girls in their early teens and had always wanted to make the best decisions for her children. The long vacation had just started, and she had made plans to engage them in a prestigious summer camp. The only problem was that none of the girls were interested in the camp. The more she talked about it the more they resisted, and she had finally put her foot down and announced they were to be shipped off the next day regardless of how they felt. That was the cause of the wailing that had brought Grandma Y over.

She related this same story to Grandma Y who asked her why she was so adamant that the children should engage in this activity that none of them was clearly in.

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“This camp is a tradition in our family. My mother attended in her time, and I also attended when I was their age. It is only normal that they should follow in the family tradition. I don’t have the strength to explain their absence to my mother and the other club executives. These girls are just wailing as if somebody died, what’s the big deal about 2 weeks in a finishing camp for girls? They would learn how to be proper ladies. Please talk to them, I’m totally exasperated” Mary answered.

Grandma Y shook her head in amazement. She could not believe that this was coming from someone young enough to be her daughter and as such, should be in touch with current reality.

“Mary, have you asked them how they would rather spend their time?” The Balogun girls were gifted in the area of art and design and had developed a strong interest in tech. Their friends and family called them gadget babes because they ate, slept and drank anything tech especially where it intersected with art and design.

Dayo, Mary’s daughter answered, “Grandma Y, there’s a tech bootcamp holding within that same period and the facilitators are coming from the United States. They will be holding competitions too and the winners would be sponsored to attend a 2-week training for Teens-in-Tech in Silicon Valley. We know that we could win but now Mummy says we should go for this family camp”. Her voice trailed off and she started wailing again.

When Grandma Y got the full picture she said to Mary, “Darling, you know I would wail too if I were in their shoes right? You are so fortunate to have level-headed daughters who already know what they want, you should be grateful and guide them to harness their genius rather than force them to follow a tradition that sincerely they do not need. Please let them attend this Tech camp thing, I’ll talk to your mother if you need me to. Times have changed and needs have changed. You should flow with the trends so long as your values are not compromised.”

Mary saw reason with Grandma Y and announced to the girls that they would be going to the tech camp. The wailing immediately transformed into screams of pure delight as the girls rushed into Grandma Y with jumping hugs.

Two weeks later it was another round of screaming, this time from Mary and her mother. The girls had been chosen along with 8 other teens to attend the Silicon Valley training. Mary’s mother started bragging to all her friends about how smart her granddaughters were and how they were going to make the family proud. In all these, Mary was grateful that she took Grandma Y’s counsel to allow her children to discover their genius.