Tag: Parenting

If You Teach Your Child Nothing, Teach Them This.

Everyday when I come online I see one new tweet, post or an article about what people say they’ll teach their kids or what they’ll make sure their kids learn.

I’ve seen people say they’ll make sure their kids learn skills like sales and marketing,  copywriting, red pill and pickup artistry, coding, writing and whatnot.

I’ve seen people use terms like love, family, happiness, satisfaction etc, to describe what they’ll ensure their kids know and understand.

And of course, this is all good.

But I haven’t seen anyone talk about detachment yet.

Maybe it’s because it’s not as popular as the rest. But imagine training a child to learn how to be detached from outcomes.

And that’s because a detached person isn’t carried away so much by success they forget there are still battles ahead to be fought and won.

A detached person isn’t weighed down so much by failure or a series of failures they stop believing in themselves or fail to realize there’s always a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. And that this light is in fact hope, and this hope is a hope of success.

A detached person isn’t tied down by sunk cost fallacy – choosing to stay in a relationship, partnership, country, business or deal because of how much they’ve invested in it already whether emotionally,Β  financially,Β  physically or with their time and energy.

A detached person can always pack up and leave.

A detached person is willing to let go.

And that’s the beauty of detachment – from outcomes and people.

It’s the greatest form of freedom because it allows you see the forest for the trees.

It also gives you the much needed dose of clarity when everyone else is being led by their emotions.

It’s the greatest superpower.

If you teach your child nothing, teach them detachment.

Inheritance And Our Role As Parents.

“You’re only 27 you just being you/
“You’re your father’s child, man, thank God you got some me in you” – Drake (You & The 6)

Over the last year, I noticed I’ve been singing the same songs while praying.

These were the same songs my Father would sing during family devotions.

My Father’s been dead for almost 4 years. We haven’t had these devotions for almost 5.

What’s funny is how I sing them in the exact sequence without missing a beat.

Someone reading this right now might think “Oh, he feels that way because he had a great relationship with his father.

Well, I don’t have anything to say to that, except there’s a lot you can pass down to your children aside genetics and money. And most of these things are subtle.

Your children spend most of their lives watching you.

If you are a great parent or some kind of titan or uber successful individual, they spend their whole lives trying to beat your records.

If you are a bad parent, or probably a good parent who made costly mistakes, they spend their whole lives trying to avoid it.

Someone said this once, “I’m sorry I only talk about money, investing and finances all the time. I’ve seen so much poverty. That’s the only way I can deal with the trauma.

And just to add, these lyrics from Older by Sasha Sloane shows how much we pick up from our parents.

Some of it is untreated trauma we end up carrying throughout life.

Of course, it’s easy to criticise whoever’s driving from the passenger seat.

Kids grow up and see what life was like from their parents’ perspective.

But it’s clear, every single choice we make as parents ripples across generations.

I know I’m not even a parent yet, but I’ve got 5 siblings who look up to me and telegraph my every move.

I’ve got peers who see me as some sort of shining light in their lives.

I’m also personally motivated to keep pushing myself to the farthest limits of my abilities.

All of these is enough fuel to constantly try to be better and do better.

I have no idea who you are reading this, but whoever you are, I hope you too try to be better and do better… Every. Single. Day.

If not for anyone, at least for yourself.

If not for yourself, then for those coming after you.


Were Our Parents Really A Silent Generation?

“I just need to clear my mind now/It’s been racin’ since the summertime” – Kanye West (Blood on the Leaves)

Our biggest rallying cry when these protests started was that we didn’t inherit the silence of our parents.

Maybe it was just plain narcissism typical of young people, or it was our youthful energy and enthusiasm, zero reluctance to speak truth to power, piled up frustration or our ability to crowdfund and support systems within a very short time and at scale, powerful acts of kindness over the last few days, all of these mostly possible because we had the Internet on our side, something our parents never had.

After an exhaustive call on Wednesday morning with my mother and then logging on to Twitter in the evening to see Oke with a bullet hole in his neck, shot dead by the Nigerian Police, his parents cradling their baby’s dead body in their hands – his mother screaming her lungs out. His father quiet, with pain written all over his face, the exact way men grieve. – probably thinking about how they failed him, I realised we were wrong all along.

It was from reading about Pericles from Robert Greene’s The Laws of Human Nature that I understood that our parents weren’t silent out of convenience or because they loved the idea of a toxic relationship. They were silent because they had come to understand how the system worked.

A generation that experienced a civil war, military rule, coups and counter-coups, genocides, militancy, civil unrests, pogroms, insecurity, election violence, riots, broken promises, poverty, a rotten system, an irate military and countless of targeted killings.

I always wondered why my father always insisted on exercising restraint.

But for someone who was born around the time the first guns sounded for the Nigerian Civil War, experienced all the horrors of war, saw Ghana and many other African countries capitulate under bad leadership, heard about South Africa, saw people disappear and never seen again, now I understand.

They were broken spirits and their silence was just plain PTSD.

They were so used to bad things happening that nothing even remotely felt out of place.

The reason our parents held on so strongly to prayers and religion was simply to numb the pain from the trauma. It was opium and morphine to them. A coping mechanism.

I saw too many videos of dead people over the last few days, but nothing broke me like Lucy’s and Oke’s.

I really was sweating my blood pressure watching Chelsea in the UCL on Tuesday night not knowing a genocide was on.

Lucy was dancing hours earlier, laughing and meeting new people, only to have her face cut in half by bullets bought with her own taxes.

Cried like a child with snort running down my nose. Couldn’t work or work out. Couldn’t sleep.

I broke down from watching Oke’s girlfriend post pictures and talk about their dreams.

People who knew him called him a whiz and an overall great human being.

3 hours earlier, he posted “Nigeria won’t end me’ on his Twitter.

Nigeria ended him 2 hours later.

That boy was essentially his family’s breadwinner and Nigeria might have just managed to derail his family’s future.

That boy was going to be someone’s future husband and father. Nigeria just killed someone’s present and future happiness.

Nigeria ended that man’s dreams and whatever seeds he had inside of him, whether seeds of greatness or progenies.

Your government might have just killed the next Paystack.

I really used to think that this country was supposed to test you and make you prove your mettle – the same way fire removes dross from silver, heat purifies gold or pressure turns coal to diamonds. Isn’t that why Nigerians excel everywhere?

But nahhhhh!!! Our parents understood from the get-go.

This country was programmed to kill you, and everything you hold dear, your dreams, hopes and aspirations.

Our military came out and shot protesters in the full glare of the world and then went on to deny it claiming it was photoshopped. An event seen by over 100,000 people live on Instagram? Makes you wonder how much evil has been swept under the rug all these years.

Our parents were always right, and we really ought to apologise to them.

This wasn’t the Nigeria I grew up to love, believe in and be proud of. Maybe it’s better to be an alien in someone else’s country and killed by a white cop on the account of racism than being killed in your own motherland just for demanding for the right to live.

Whatever I felt for this country will never be the same again.

I’m done!

Happy Fathers Day

Don’t want him to be hated, all the time, judged/Don’t be like your daddy that would never budge” – Kanye West (New Day)

I have no idea why I spent most of this morning listening to New Day off the Watch The Throne album.

Since I could remember I’ve always had a supersized ego although things have really toned down since I turned 16. So, hearing a self-proclaimed egomaniac like Kanye West on a Letter To My Unborn Child-Esque song say something like “I’ll never let my son have an ego/He’ll be nice to everyone, wherever we go” and then go on further to show the dark side of egoism hits quite different.

I remember some years ago, about five or six years, my father bought me a Troy Polamalu Pittsburgh Steelers jersey.

I refused it.

My excuse was that it wasn’t my size, but the truth is we were in the middle of an argument and I was trying to make a point.

I was angry at my father and if I couldn’t put it into words, what could have been better than rejecting a gift? Or so I thought.

What’s funny is in my lifetime I’ve seen very few NFL jerseys that weren’t oversized.

In five weeks time, it will be 3 years since my father died.

Most of the memories I have is him wearing that jersey bent over working. I can’t get it out of my mind.

The biggest sore point for me is my father never finished primary school but he died a day before I wrote my final exams.

For someone who placed a serious premium on education, the strangest punishment fate could hand him was not being alive to see his first child graduate university.

I’ve never been really one to eulogize men because I believe that just like humans even the greatest of men have flaws. But when I think about everything my father had to face in his lifetime; a civil war, limited education, crazy financial responsibility, frail health, being orphaned at a tender age, carrying three generations of family and an entire community on his back, that man is forever a legend in my eyes.

It’s crazy we had a fractious relationship just like most first sons with oversized expectations and responsibilities have with their fathers, but what is ironic is that when I really think about it, I’m my father’s son true and through. We both had a deep-seated love for family, community, football, inability to handle our liquor and spotted bald headsπŸ˜‚

I have very few regrets in life, but one of them is not accepting that jersey. And the fact that we can never watch a Pittsburgh Steelers game together or me dreading to come back home whenever Chelsea didn’t win a match because he would heckle me to no end is quite painful.

Never let ego ruin a good thing.

So, Happy Fathers Day to all fathers living or dead, and especially the young men who were forced to become fathers at a very tender age. I understand because I’m a father nowadays 😁

Happy Fathers Day to Okoro Sunday Innocent. Am I a pussy nigga if I wish you could be alive to hold me like this sometimes? 😭


There’s no way I can pay you back/But the plan is to show you that I understand/You’re appreciated” – Tupac (Dear Mama)

What would you be sacrificing if we got married?

While making a list of questions to ask her on our first date, I added this.

Don’t ask me why I had a list of questions for a date in the first place.

It’s easier for people like you to talk to women unprepared. Shy people like us have to prepare for weeks ahead of the D-Day.

But why would you even bring up marriage on a first date?

Aren’t first dates supposed to be an opportunity for you to just enjoy each other’s company?

I truly have no idea. I guess shy people are stupid sometimes.
Yesterday, I saw an excerpt from Michelle Obama’s Becoming about motherhood and aspirations.

In her own words:

Something had to give β€” and it was my aspirations and dreams. I made that concession not because he said β€˜you have to quit your job,’ but it felt like, β€˜I can’t do all of this so I have to tone down my aspirations, I have to dial it back.

I felt uneasy the first time I saw it. I won’t even lie.

The idea that you might have a disagreement with your mother one day, and she’d say your existence was the reason why she never achieved all her ambitions is a bit unsettling.

I don’t know how many children will be comfortable hearing this.

But I kept thinking about it.

I kept going over it in my mind and I think she’s right.

I’ve lived by the maxim ‘Is it really sacrifices if you have to brag about it one day?’ for some time now.

Helps me whenever I start feeling entitled to someone’s time, attention or money just because of sacrifices I’ve made for them in the past.

But love is built on a foundation of sacrifices.

And the sacrifices of millions of mothers transcends financial, corporate, entrepreneurial or personal ambitions. It’s never just that.

Many women have had to stay in unfruitful, adulterous and even abusive and violent marriages for the sake of their children.

For some housewives, inadequate financial resources weren’t their only reason for staying.

Most couldn’t stomach the idea of some other woman coming in to raise their children.

Others didn’t want their children growing up in a divided household, a la broken families.

I’ve heard countless stories like this, and it’s deeply unsettling.

I don’t live in Obama’s household and so I can’t claim to understand the power dynamics or structure of their relationship.

But if there’s one thing I know, many sacrifices have to be made for ambitions to be achieved.

Any worthwhile ambition at all.

And being the wife of the President of the United States of America would have required a ton.

People have had different takes on this topic since yesterday, but whatever way you look at it, motherhood is really a bedrock of pure unadulterated sacrifices.

A litany of unpayable debts.

And if your mother had to make any sacrifices for you to get to where you are today, then fuck it! She has a right to brag about it.

After all, there’s a long list of women who’d rather die childless than go through the mental rigours of being a parent.

And it’s not because they are not good people. Everyone just has their own choices.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to every mother out there making sacrifices for their families.

In the famous words of the late Tupac Amaru Shakur, you’re appreciated!

The African Parent

I wrote this sometime in 2018, and I had to put it up as my first blog post, not for lack of inspiration or content, but in the words of some of my favorite Hip Hop artists, this is probably the realest shit I ever wrote. 😁

I’ve had Royce Da 5’9″‘s Book Of Ryan in heavy rotation recently, and I am so ashamed that I had to wait till the tail end of 2018 to bump to a project that dropped earlier in the year. 😭😭 But I do that all the time, and would probably so yet again. 😁 So with my right hand on my chest, and my left in my drawers 😁 I can confidently say that this is the best rap album in all of 2018(Tongue out to my man Drake😝).On Book Of Ryan, Royce Da 5’9″ delves into never before uncharted territory talking about childhood, growing up, alcohol and drug abuse, troubles with the law, parenting and parenthood and many issues bordering around family and familial ties. On a particular interlude, in the form of an interview he’s asked about his views on his father as a good parent, and instead of throwing him under the bus, he decided to cut him some slack, mostly choosing to dwell on the positives, all on the basis of an informed opinion as an adult now. Last week, I had a very interesting conversation with someone on Twitter (something that’s very rare nowadays 😁), and it was enlightening and really beautiful, as all conversations where a differing opinion is not discredited are. We talked about parenting. Parenting in the African context. It’s very common to come online and see posts that go on about African parents this, African parents that. And to be fair, most of these posts are downright funny. Lol. But some on closer inspection are just bland and reek of insensitivity. Insensitivity that comes with unfurling. Insensitivity to a host of issues. Insensitivity to the ups and downs of family. Insensitivity to parenting.

Parenting is hard. 😭But we no dey gree.

So we’d rather blame our shortcomings on our parents just because…

I know kids from my engineering class that wrote such good poetry that’d make Wordsworth pee his pants. 😁 Lol. I didn’t mean it like that. I’m just saying. But I’m sure y’all know what I mean. I know people that should be writing anime, manga, even directing Marvel and DC Comics films, making music, even taking up professional athletics or coaching, but they all studied electrical engineering. Lol. And those ones that should have given Gordon Ramsay a run for his money studied Botany. 😁I swear I’m not laughing. Your parents would rather you study medicine, law, engineering, accounting or anything that sounds big, ‘professional’ or brings in money, but not because they doubt you, but rather out of love. Love that is tempered and peppered with fear. Fear of failure. Financial insecurity. And every other thing that comes with career failings.

The truth is, it’s not like they can’t support your choice or don’t trust you, but they’d rather you show them the viability of whatever it is you’re proposing. And if you can’t? Brrrr!!!

Yet in all of these we miss something critical. Ever wondered what your parents would be like or how their lives would turn out if they had everything you have today at their disposal while growing up. A university education, social media, travel, people’s experience to tap into, books on virtually every living topic, a vast array of information that is ever changing, and constantly being upgraded.Today you have role models you’ve never met. Music stars, athletes, businessmen and women, actors, fictional characters from books and movies, authors, public and motivational speakers, government leaders and captains of industry, the girl you used to sit behind in secondary school or the boy who made you perk up academically in primary two.

What did your parents have?

The ignorance of youth, societal pressure and growth expectations, adjusting to colonial and post colonial lifestyles, poverty, interrupted schooling, some managed and saw themselves through school, and in the worst case scenario, some have had to live with the debilitating effects of illiteracy, an age old system of beliefs, unshaken and unproven, and having older people who didn’t even know any better as role models to look up to. Some of your fathers had to be the man at a very early age. Some of your mothers were married off, most times without their consent, to strapping young men whose only qualification was being old enough to get married, or just that they were supposed to. No brownie points for being ready psychologically for marriage. Because they weren’t. And then you had religion that was unshakeable, and impenetrable to meaningful questions. Questions we ask with reckless abandon nowadays. As much as age old wisdom has stood the test of time, even the advice they were given by peers, older ones and the people around them still remains up for debate. The story of a blind man leading a blind man or a one eyed man being the king in the land of the blind.Maybe your dad isn’t stubborn. He just doesn’t know, or he doesn’t understand, or he’s just unconvinced. Just maybe.You can come under this post to outline how nothing has changed. How we still grapple with the same issues stated above today, and in so doing you’d most likely forget how much we have today, in terms of choices. You might even complain about the problem of so many choices. Lol. You have every right to complain about the parents who had opportunities but still managed to waste them, and guess what? You won’t be wrong either. You won’t even be wrong if you complain about our potentials that are been held back by government and limiting societies. Nothing would be any truer.This is not a post in praise of bad parenting or extolling the virtues of deadbeat, uncaring and even evil parents. I’m not asking you to cut unnecessary slack. It’s just a post about the beauty of perspective, reconciliation and forgiveness. And in so doing, I forgive my African parents, 😁 whose biggest mistake was being African.

The bottom line is we’ve been given a great privilege to be here this time. The opportunity to be at and the new frontier in everything about our world today. So instead of complaining about the cards we’ve been dealt in life through our parents, we should be working out ways to manage this delicate opportunity, knowing that however we go about that will produce ripples that will spill over into the next generations.We could go on and on about who was raised right or not, or fight over the best approach to raising kids. But never forget that there’s no one rule fits all for raising children. What worked for you and your parents might have never worked for me and mine. Even twin children follow diverging paths through life despite being brought the same way by even the same parents.Today we can conveniently discuss deeply polarizing issues like cohabitation, teenage pregnancy, birth control and family planning, career choices, relations and relationships, trust issues and fidelity. Issues that are under heavy scrutiny. These were usually underlying issues that were brushed off back in the day with heartbreaking firmness and finality, but today? We question everything.And thankfully, nothing will ever be the same, both for good, and for bad.

Thanks for coming to my Ted talk. 😁I needed this carthasis. 😌