Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Last Illiterate Literate Bus stop

Every reasonable parent would desire the child/children to be educated regardless they weren't fortunate to benefit from a sound education during their childhood. It was the joy of parenthood to create such opportunity for their child. I know this because I had families around me, families where the parents barely completed secondary school and were willing to change the path of their children.

The first thing I noticed was the language they used in communicating with their kids at an early age, English. These parents could hardly construct an error free sentence, yet they were determined to make sure the kid spoke it fluently. They weren't bothered if the child failed to learn the local tongue, they derived joy as long as the kid spoke English. It was simple when the child was one or two years old, all the parent did was ask questions in simple sentences like, "Are you hungry? What is your name? How old are you?" or exclaim "Stop it! I'll beat you."

If these parents succeed in educating their kids pass the Primary school level, they would have reached a level where what they lacked intellectually became evident. It was the last literate bus stop for an illiterate. The point where they make a sentence in the English Language and the child innocently corrects them. You could hear a child say "Mummy, you don't say where did he went to. You say where did he GO to".

I remember the movie 'Idle Hands' about Ben Carson's early years. When his mum got to that bus stop and realized she could no longer compete intellectually with her son, she took it upon herself to get educated. Fact was not a lot of parents around me take that challenge. The children grow to use words they had no idea what it meant nor how to spell it, yet they smile & nod in response. They end up paying for it [literally].

While in the University of Lagos, I related with peers which parents had long reached/passed their illiterate literate bus stop. The cooked up stories and courses as pretext to get money from their parents. These peers bragged about it but I saw them as stupidly exhibiting how illiterate their parents were. Imagine this situation, a guy's parents gave him money for tuition/school fees twice each session. That was one for each semester. A parent that had been educated would have known in the university tuition was paid per session and not per semester or per term like in secondary school. There were more outrageous stories that made me realize a lot of parents were illiterate.

A girl in my area got a full scholarship to a British secondary school. The surprise was the parent probably reached her last illiterate literate bus stop when the daughter was 6 months old. Back in public school she was the best student but as she changed it became the opposite. The school complained the daughter's command of the English Language was so poor she would speak in the Yoruba language to be understood. The mum was invited over and after trying to express herself in the English language she flipped to Yoruba.

I think we owe it to our kids to develop ourselves mentally. Let you last illiterate literate bus stop be a place your children would find it difficult to reach.

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