Uncommon Stories

The Latest Trend of Sending Children To Boarding House

Parenting In Present Day Nigeria

When she told me she was sending Venus to the boarding house, I could not believe it. I did the maths and it sounded so incredible that Venus, the fragile-looking 8 years daughter of my client, is already in secondary school. Let’s say she started Nursery School at 2 and primary at 4, did she just spend 4 years in primary school?

‘Not a Secondary school,’ she cleared my doubt. ‘There’s a primary school in Lugbe that has a boarding facility. That’s where I am sending her.’

‘Is she not too young?’

‘Too young? Her mates are there, and they take great care of the kids.’

Our relationship has restrictions. My opinion on how to raise her kids is not accommodated, so I muffed my many suggestions.

I traveled back in time to when I was 8 years: that should be in my primary 3. Everything I had with the school ended by 1:30 pm. Those days, I would normally remove my Cortina, put it in my school bag, and wend my way toward my house. There was always lunch waiting for me and Mama, who was a teacher, would be back by 3 pm. That was the age I was understanding my surroundings; bonding with my parents.

Parenting Is Becoming Historical

But today, things have changed. There is a lot to adjust to and what we call our needs increases as days to go by. However, we all still hunger for kids but do not want the burden of parenting. Is it not hypocritical that we speak against the Almajiri system in northern Nigeria while we all are tending to the modernized version of almajiri? This will be the next epidemic in the system. Soon, if we do nothing about this trending Parenting in present day Nigeria, we will have strangers as children in our houses.

That’s why I am scornful of the institution of modern marriages and will reiterate that marriage – and having babies – is not an achievement – any fool can do both. The actual test of achievement in this abused league is taking responsibility.

I was 13 when I lived in the School boarding house. My motivation was the provision of tins of milk and milo and packs of cabin biscuit that was the parents’ obligation. I still remember how Mama cried as if I were being sold into slavery. I still remember… I know she lives in a different time, but I will never forget that she never exiled me. And as I grew to find my path in this life, I always remember I belong to a home.

That’s parenting: thinking that your child can only be safe by your side. Not being in a haste to let him/her go. Don’t we see animals? Can you pick a brood from a mother hen? And is it possible for a stranger to touch a puppy in the mother’s presence?

Ozii Baba, a TedX Speaker, is an Onitsha-based storyteller and social entrepreneur. He works directly with children and young people.

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