‘We call our parents old school, but our new school is a monumental failure of gargantuan consequences’ – By Sanusi Lafiagi

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I started living an independent life and making money by myself twelve years ago in far away Yola, Adamawa state. At the time, I was serving as a lecturer (Youth Corps) at the Federal College of Education, Yola. The monthly stipend paid to us by the Federal Government was #9,600, while the institution pays #5,000. In order to make extra cash and live off my father’s purse, I applied to five different schools within Yola metropolis as Arabic and Islamic studies teacher. 

Luckily, I was accepted by two; Chiroma Ahmad Academy and El-Kanemy. Others claimed that they had no space for my discipline. I also got employed as a private tutor by three different people: two were Fulani and the third was Yoruba. In all, I was making roughly 40k per month. It was little but alhamdulillāh it took care of my immediate needs, such that for the whole of my service year, I NEVER asked my dad رحمه الله for money or stepped out beyond Kano to chill with my friends.

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Given my background, I was naturally prudent with money. In fact, upon returning home, my dad رحمه الله رحمة واسعة asked me to give an account of every penny I was paid. He had told me before I left for Yola to get an exercise book and record every income and expenditure incurred.Trust me, my account was so balanced that the old man رحمه الله رحمة واسعة was pleased and full of praises for me.

By Allāh, if my dad رحمة الله عليه notices anything strange with you, be it clothes, sandals, phones, etc, you must give explanation of where you got it from to his satisfaction or else he will take it from you. And given the training we were exposed to and his level of education and intelligence, lying was sacrilegious! So, rather than keep things away from him, we rather would not own them.

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Dad رحمة الله عليه used to engage us regularly in frank discussion and admonitions that we jokingly referred to sessions with him as ‘repeated episodes’. He was never tired of reminding us of who we are and what values we are expected to uphold. Never were we intimidated by the luxurious life of our friends from wealthy backgrounds. We were never ashamed of who we were.

In our secondary school days, while our mates were wearing “KITTO”, we wore rubber sandals comfortably and proudly. There was nothing to be ashamed of. Such was our inbuilt mentality and home training.

When I was to buy my first car in 2012, it was my dad رحمة الله عليه that I gave the money to. It was not because I can’t walk to a car stand to purchase one, but because we were trained to not do things without our parents express consent. The plot of land where I built my house was chosen by him رحمه الله. 

Once, he visited me and put of excitement, I bought huge catfishes and told my wife to cut them big and serve him two. By Allāh, dad رحمة الله عليه was so livid that he refused to eat them.

 He scolded me so furiously that I regretted my action. In his words, “how can you be eating with all your fingers. What about saving for the rainy days?” Truth is, we don’t eat such size of fish at home. I did that just to honour him!

2006 was the first time I owned a phone and it was bought for me by my dad رحمه الله . The model? Sagem my X-2. Until his death in 2017 أسكنه الله أعلى الجنان ، he used only one phone; Nokia 1100.

I remember a couple of years ago when a friend asked me to go to a particular phone shop and pick a phone of my choice. On getting there, I noticed that there were expensive phones ranging from 100k to over 500k. I was asked to pick a phone of my choice and it would be paid for. I, however, asked myself, “can you honestly remove a hundred thousand from your salary to buy phone?” When the answer came back negative, I enquired, “what’s the cheapest phone here with internet facility?” 65k, answered the attendant. That was how I took it and left.

Till today, I’ve never held (held lasan o) and iPhone, let alone purchase one with my money. The closest I came was an Apple tab which I got through the university’s cooperative society. How can I hold a phone that can pay my salary for 6month?

Why am I saying this? Many of us were raised consciously and methodically by responsible parents but are failing to instill the same moral and spiritual trainings in our children. The society today has failed, no thanks to absent, lackadaisical and irresponsible parenting.

Kids in secondary schools and universities drive exotic cars and use expensive phones bought for them by their parents or gotten through dubious means and prostitution. Some invite friends that are clearly irresponsible elements into their homes or go over to spend the weekend with friends away from the scrutiny and supervision of their parents. Parents see all of these and keep quiet in order to not offend their kids. 

Teenagers make all kinds of irresponsible haircuts and wear near-naked clothes under the noses of their parents. It’s a free world. Some parents are scared of scolding their kids and some simply shield them while they rot.

Our parents were present in our lives, active and awake to their responsibilities and discharged their duties religiously. Our generation claims to be WOKE but not WOKEN up to its parental duties. 

If you must expose your children to modern technological devices, just make sure you have control and supervision over their activities.

We call our parents old school, but our new school is nothing but a monumental failure of gargantuan consequences.
Shameless lots!

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