We all know that the Nigerian ostentation is not limited to material possessions. From the little things to the big things, we can flaunt with anything and everything. One can even venture to say that Nigerians have children for show.
Our show with children is subtly embedded even in the unseen things. Children are for a man to show that he is indeed a man and his swimmers are potent. They are for a woman to prove that she can push a human head out of her body and not have to bear the patronising pity of society and have her uterus become a prayer point among family members and religious circles. Most of all, they are to show that your marriage is indeed compatible.
You have children to show that you are a responsible person, translating to you being eligible for that well-paid promotion that has the unspoken criterion of being attainable only by a parent. You are a great, responsible parent if your offspring live in fear of you and consistently come out top of their class. Everyone knows they do well in school because you broadcast it to the whole world. From nursery to university, you tell people every single detail of your children’s grades.
Children are for showing off wealth. You have a head start on this if you jump on the child-birth tourism train to America. The school your child goes to has less to do with their welfare and education but more about letting people know how much you can afford. You are a boss if all your children attend one of the top 20 most expensive schools in Nigeria. Most importantly, your children have to go abroad every summer so that they can tell their friends – who will in turn tell their parents – that they shopped on Oxford street during the long vac.
You have children to show how cool you are, and the best way to do this is in the school birthday competition: the winner is the parent that gives out the fanciest treats and party packs to intimidate other parents. One parent brought ice-cream to school for their child’s birthday; someone else did better and gave out cake and ice cream for theirs. Yet, you can do even better by adding barbecued drumsticks to the mix and tablets in the party packs. Every year has to be an upgrade on the previous one. However, you must reserve some of that energy for your children’s weddings. Forget about your retirement fund or your life’s savings, those weddings have to be the talk of town.
Pride is not necessarily in the number of children you have, unless of course you have seven sons then you are an absolute winner. It doesn’t matter whatever else you achieve in life. You’ve done well.
(By the way, Happy Children’s Day!)
Image|Source: Steven Depolo, Flickr