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Of princes and paupers, and the terrible danger of overshadowing our children (II)

We should examine to find out; why are children of accomplished men unable to rise above their father’s achievements or even come close? Let me hazard some guesses:

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1. The parents have overachieved so there’s no need trying because you’ll never catch up. So they just atrophy.

2.    The long and hard route to success is no longer fashionable 

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3.    Their fathers, in struggling to get rich never really raised these children for greatness, or at best their parents just pampered them.

4.    Parents see their children as children even in old age. That is why today, parents spend untold millions on their children’s weddings even when they paid for their own weddings 100%

5.    Well-to-do parents never allow their children venture out or take risks on time, so the children are not daring until they are exposed to bad influence maybe at university level

6.    Young people mistake fame for real greatness or success 

 Anyway, we have a situation today where many children of valiant men have veered into music, dance, deejay-ing, makeup artistry, cooking, interior designing, ownership of sex toy shops, acting, ownership of night clubs, organizing of beauty pageants and music shows, and so on. A lot of these professions are in and around entertainment, meaning that the public waits to feed off salacious tales from those industries. This means that today’s hero is tomorrow’s villain. Those who make you and prop up your image are also the ones who make a pig’s meal out of your reputation and sanity when the time comes

Whereas some of these new professions make money and fame, they tap into the ephemeralness of today’s world; a world seeking entertainment by all means. Is it that the options have been totally narrowed for the young people of today to make real differences in places that could really advance society? Are we not still a consumer nation that produces nothing of the things it uses? In the professions listed above, all the materials used are imported from abroad, meaning that the youth of today are not wired to solve our fundamental problems, but to kick the can down the road and generally consolidate those problems. How many are taking on our hard issues?

On the other side are the same children of today’s rich middle aged or ageing parents, who are stuck abroad – especially those ones conditioned by expensive private schools and made fit for employment in the Western World alone. Some of them have good jobs, but almost all of them complain of discrimination because they are reminded times without number that there are glass ceilings they could never breach as the foreigners there often make a point that they are not sons of the soil. There are even children of our super-rich men, who are stuck in permanent acquisition of degrees abroad. Yet there are others still living with their parents and collecting ‘pocket money’ at 40!

 Back to Davido, whose Dad is a business magnate. I hope he wriggles out of his present troubles but he needs to learn that he is a very bad influence on today’s youth and he has no right to further damage the fabrics of our fragile society. We can see the boys who move with him and the kind of reckless life they all live. We hope they slow down otherwise their lives will be wrecked.  Is this rascality all worth it?  Does fame and fast fortune equate to the long and hard grind that goes into being a famous lawyer, or engineer, or economist or medical doctor or petroleum technologist, or IT Guru, or publisher even if there isn’t much money in some of those areas? But for now millions of Nigerian youths believe Davido when he constantly sings ‘life is all about the money oh. Biko ye’m ego!’   Have we not now seen the folly of it all?

We have other children of big men/women like Naeto C, Kema Chikwe’s son who are musicians. Chukwuma Soludo’s first son, Ozonna is also a musician.  Seni Saraki, Bukola Saraki’s first son, is a rapper.  Femi Otedola’s first daughter is a DJ. One of the president’s daughters recently hosted a photo show, and one of the VP’s daughters recently opened a beauty parlor.  Two things are common to all these; bling and blitz.  Thankfully, Halima, Aliko Dangote’s second daughter is presently studying him while working with the group as a strategist. Mike Adenuga also tries off and on, to keep his children in the business.

I ask; can these guys not combine the irresistible allure of entertainment and blitz with a steady career progression or something more tangible that solves society’s problems?  I know it’s tough but that is the price for being born with golden spoons in their mouths.  Can they also imagine themselves being musicians still at 50 or 60? I know Charlie Boy has made something of a success with that but what about the ups and downs? Even Charlie boy does not sing about sex and money all the time. He is famous for being an activist with a crazy persona.  It may seem fun for now to get the attention of millions of fans of the opposite sex, but when the trouble shows up it is never funny. 

I write out of fear myself. I strive for greatness daily, by doing what others shy away from doing. I pray my children do even more than I could dare but I’m trying to find out how to help children build spine. Part of the process is writing this down in the hope that someone will point us in the right direction. How do we get this done?  For starters let us clear the Augean stable and let those rich kids today know, that making money and fame and finding satisfaction through careers in entertainment is one thing, but getting involved in drugs and alcoholism, and living a totally hopeless life is another thing entirely. Let us also remind them that when it matters most, they will find themselves still entertaining, while children of today’s poor will emerge as the critical leaders who will then superintend over them… if they aren’t careful.

 Every prince descends from a pauper, and every pauper, from a prince… 

Perhaps that saying goes beyond prince-hood as defined by money, but also as defined by ideas, philosophy, class, respect in society, respect from the comity of nations, ability to infuse into others that much-needed respect and decorum, and the riches that come with a great vision for the future. Most of these cannot be found in quick entertainment professions, and so some of the rich entertainer children of big men have already become pauperized by the company they keep even though they may have money. This is applicable to the present genre that promotes getting rich by all means or die trying, that glamorizes sex beyond its utility, and emphasizes the acquisition of luxury cars, yachts and private jets, none of which we produce. We need thinkers among the youths. 

 And for adults, the biggest prayer we can continue to have is to hope that our children surpass us in everything. That is how societies actually improve.  Any society that achieves the opposite is on its way to extinction.

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