The year is March 2016, listening to the Brand New jam Papa by King Kaka – arguably one of the best lyricist, but let’s leave that discussion for another day. Being a fan, I hurried to watch this new video as soon as it was uploaded and there was just something special about it. It was only 4 days after my late dad’s 3rd Anniversary (R.I.P Erick Zephan Anyumba); you can imagine the emotion as I listened to each line. The first line actually struck me so hard!!! “Siwezi wadanganya, mi sikuwa poa na my father…” he began. At this point, I started feeling like he was referring to my story. My Dad and I; I wouldn’t say we had issues but the degree of closeness between us was not where I would wish my relationship with my children to stand. King Kaka went on to pour his heart out, sharing that he didn’t say his last goodbye in hospital; which was the same in my case, but probably for different reasons. I won’t go into the details, but this song has me thinking a lot to date. It has not been easy putting this together but it was important I share my thoughts. So, about 3 months after I started writing this, here goes my message to you.
I don’t know whether this is something only new to our generation but I highly doubt that it would be tolerated or heard of in the previous one. The amount of disrespect to parents is increasing day by day, especially as we grow older. The audacity to bad mouth them among peers, sharing their weaknesses, despising them and even comparing them with other parents… we even have our own perspective of how they should parent us; especially after you begin to feel all grown up and start earning some little money, feeling independent despite living under their roof.
You feel like you know it all because you have been ‘exposed’ to campus life and now you know everything about the world. You view your parents’ advice as old school because that’s what applied in their years so how can it be of help to you now? Well, it is said that what an “old man” sees when seated you may not see even when standing on a hill.
How about those of us, who neglect one parent, leaving them out of our affairs maybe because they are stricter or they hold a different view on certain things that are important to you. We forget that all they really want is what’s best for us. The worst case scenario according to me is those that don’t appreciate their parents at all. We even have other “dads” and “mums” that we are more proud of than our biological parents. The parents that have raised you, sacrificed so much and ensured that you get everything you need to live a good and healthy life; but the minute you ‘make it’ you do not recognize that struggle.
You want to please people out here; people who do not know or even genuinely care about your existence. You want to show them what you’ve got, what you can afford and how you are living your best life; yet your parents are not doing well at home. You move out, go to “posh” places and leave your parents struggling to survive, waiting for Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day to take selfies with them with your expensive gadget so that you post them on social media, again to please the masses. You then leave them empty handed or with some peanuts telling them how life in Nairobi is difficult (Nairobi ni kugumu). Maybe your parents are well off; they may not need your money or financial support, but they surely need your love. The little things you do to make them happy is what keeps them going. When was the last time you talked to your parents? When was the last time you visited? When did you last prepare a meal for the family? When did you last buy a gift or do a favor for any of them?
What if am not keen on this parent’s thing? What if I just live my life independently without concentrating on them? Is there anything am missing? The answer is YES, a lot. First of all, there is no place you will get true love and support. How many times have you had your close friends betraying or abandoning you? Let’s not even discuss about getting dumped by that lover who you had already settled on names for your future babies. When your world falls apart and everyone seems to be distancing themselves from you, the only people who will stick with you are your parents. Maybe you may doubt this because your world has never broken into pieces but don’t wait for that moment for you to start adjusting.
Your parents’ advice is again one thing that you may miss greatly. As youth especially, everyone now is looking for life’s direction. Most people seem uncertain of what’s next. Age seems to be catching up and you may be thinking it’s not long before you have your own family but you are not sure whether you even know how to run a family. Again your folks come in handy. They have raised you successfully so we can refer to their advice as tested and approved. They are also the only people you can be sure, want the best for you so they would never mislead you.
Lastly, we all have been reminded the 5th commandment since childhood, “Honor your father and mother, so that your days may be long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20: 12.
Ensure you don’t miss out on that blessing. Let us learn to appreciate them at all times. Don’t concentrate so much on what they lack and forget what they offer. Remember, nobody publicly and proudly displays their struggles, so don’t be quick to judge that the other side (other parents) of the field is greener. You never know what you got till it’s gone. Take this moment to do something special for them. Above all, vow to be the best parents in future. For those who are already parenting, be the cool parents you wished for. Cheers.
As for me, this is a tribute to my late dad and the best gift I can offer him is taking care of his wife, my beautiful mother.
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