Let me add the benefit of my time as a student and then resident in the UK-and I live in Nairobi now. The first thing that I discovered about UK-born,white, English undergraduates was that all of them did holiday or weekend job to support themselves-including the children of millionaires amongst them. It is the norm over there- regardless how wealthy their parents are. And I soon discovered that virtually all other foreign students did the same-the exception being those of us status-conscious Kenyans.
I also watched Richard Branson (owner of Virgin Airline) speaking on the Biography Channel and, to my amazement, he said that his young children travel in the economy class-even when the parents (he and his wife) are in upper class. Richard Branson is a billionaire in Pound Sterling. A quick survey would show you that only children from Kenya fly business or upper class to commence their studies in the UK. No other foreign students do this. There is no aircraft attached to the office of the prime minister in the UK-he travels on BA. And the same goes for the Royals. The Queen does not have an aircraft for her exclusive use.
These practices simply become the culture which the next generation carries forward. But there’s one core difference them and us (generally speaking). They (even the billionaires among them) work for their money, we steal ours!
If we want our children to bring about the desired change we have been praying for on behalf of our dear country, then please, please let’s begin now and teach them to work hard so they can stand alone and most importantly be content, and not having to “steal”, which seem to be the norm these days.
“30 is the new 18”, which seem to be the new age for testing out the world in Kenya now. That seems to be an unspoken but widely accepted mind set among the last 2 generations of parents in Kenya.
At age 18 years, a typical young adult in the UK leaves the clutches of his/her parents for the University, chances are, that’s the last time those parents will ever play “landlord” to their son or daughter except of course the occasional home visits during the academic year.
At 21 years and above or below, the now fully grown and independent minded adult graduates from University, searches for employment, gets a job and shares a flat with other young people on a journey into becoming fully fledged adults.
I can hear the echo of parents saying, well, that is because the UK economy is thriving, safe, well structured and jobs are everywhere? I beg to differ and I ask that you kindly hear me out. I am a UK trained Recruitment Consultant and I have been practicing for the past 10 years in kenya. I have a broad range of experience from recruiting graduates to executive director level of large corporations. In addition, I talk from the point of view of someone with relatively privileged upbringing.
Driven to school every day, had my clothes washed for me, was barred from taking any part-time job during my A-levels so that I could concentrate on studying for my exams?! BUT, I got the opportunity to live apart from my parents from age 18 and the only time I came back home to stay was for 3 months before I got married!
Am I saying that every parent should wash their hands off their children at age 18?
No, not at all, of course, I enjoyed the savings that I made from living on and off at my parent’s house in London – indeed that is the primary reason for my being able to buy myself a 3 bedroom flat in London at age 25 with absolutely no direct financial help from my parents!
For me, pocket money stopped at age 22, not that it was ever enough for my lifestyle to compete with Paris Hilton ‘s or Victoria Beckham ‘s. Meanwhile today, we have Kenyan children who have never worked for 5 minutes in their lives insisting on flying “only” first or business class, carrying the latest Louis Vuitton ensemble, Victoria ‘s Secret underwear and wearing Jimmy Choo’s, fully paid for by their “loving” parents.
I often get calls from anxious parents, my son graduated 2 years ago and is still looking for a job, can you please assist! Oh really! So where exactly is this “child” is my usual question. Why are you the one making this call dad/mum?
I am yet to get a satisfactory answer, but between you and me, chances are that big boy is cruising around Nairobi with a babe dressed to the nines, in his dad’s spanking new SUV with enough “pocket money” to put your salary to shame. It is not at all strange to have a 28 year old who has NEVER worked for a day in his or her life in Kenya but “earns” a six figure “salary” from parents for doing absolutely nothing.
I see them in my office once in a while, 26 years old with absolutely no skills to sell, apart from a shiny CV, written by his dad’s secretary in the office. Of course, he has a driver at his beck and call and he is driven to the job interview.
We have a fairly decent conversation and we get to the inevitable question-so, what salary are you looking to earn? Answer comes straight out- Kshs 200,000.
I ask if that is per month or per annum.
Of course it is per month. Oh, why do you think you should be earning that much on your first job?
Well, because my current pocket money is kshs100,000 and I feel that an employer should be able to pay me more than my parents.
I try very hard to compose myself, over parenting is in my opinion the greatest evil handicapping the Kenyan youth. It is at the root of our national malaise.
We have a youth population of tens of millions of who are being “breastfed and diapered” well into their 30s. Wake up mum! Wake up dad! You are practically loving your children to death! No wonder corruption continues to thrive. We have a society of young people who have been brought up to expect something for nothing, as if it were a birth right.
I want to encourage you to send your young men and women (anyone over 20 can hardly be called a child!) out into the world, maybe even consider reducing or stopping the pocket money to encourage them to think, explore and strive.
Let them know that it is possible for them to succeed without your “help”.
Take a moment to think back to your own time as a young man/woman, what if someone had kept spoon feeding you, would you be where you are today?.
No tree grows well under another tree, children that are not exposed to challenges, don’t cook well.
That is why you see adults complaining, “my parents didn’t buy clothes for me this Christmas”, ask him/her how old they are-30+.
Because of the challenges we faced in our youth, we are where and what we are today, this syndrome-my children will not suffer what I suffered is destroying our tomorrow.
Deliberately reduce their allowance or mum-don’t cook on Saturday till late afternoon or evening, do as occasion deserve.
Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.-( Henry Ford) .
Hard work does not kill, everything in Kenya is going down, including family settings. It is time to rebrand our children, preparing them for tomorrow. We are approaching the season in Kenya where only the RUGGED, will survive. How will your ward fare?
If the present generation of Kenyan pilots retire, will you fly a plane flown by a young Kenyan pilot, If trained in Kenya? People now fly first class, who cannot spell GRADUATE or read an article without bomb blast! Which Way Kenya? Which Way Kenyans!!
Is this how we will ALL sit and watch this country SINK?
Pls forward to as many parents as you can.