Pay Your Dues For A Worthy Future

The world is going weirder to weirdest.

I’ve been noticing changes in the new generation toward the old generation. Working with 18-year-olds make it difficult for me to manage them because I am only few years older than them, to be mother-like. Some even consider me like their elder sister. To be honest, I didn’t know if I should take that as a compliment or… a barrier to my being strict to them. Elder sisters are more loving and less strict, right? I won’t know. I have no sister 😦

Anyway, coming to these eighteens. Some years back, when I was sitting for exams, in my head, I had no other option but to get As. B wasn’t even something I could console myself with, fearing having no answer to my parents’ questions – mostly my dad’s. But nowadays, it’s like: Imma be lucky to have an A, but B or C are what I think I will score… in at least 2 subjects out of 5. WTH!

I met some parents when they came to collect their wards’ results last term. I asked some of them: Your daughter can do much much better. There must be some disturbance somewhere or may be she is not motivated enough. And the parents: Yeah, she spends so much time with her mobile phone. Facebook, music or videos – I cannot confiscate that, in fear of her doing something to herself. I was like: WTH again!

Sinking in all these reflections, I decided to take all 30 girls out for an ice-cream sold by a vendor a few metres away to prepare them for a heavy activity which would follow. The girls were excited like anything! It was hot and well, all excuses were good to walk out of school a while. The old man received us with a warm smile. He started talking about himself, like a grandpa would to his grandchildren. He started selling ice-cream because he didn’t get any education due to lack of money. Till now, he doesn’t have much in his bank account as he paid for his children’s education – which he is proud about. He added “I did what I could for my children.” I said: I’m sure they are grateful and you are getting the return on your investment in your old days. He smiled and said “Girl, if they did, do you think I would have been selling ice-cream right now? I don’t even have money to buy a mixer for the ice-cream. Look into this box, I put ice blocks around the drum then I churn the ice-cream with my hand. I wish they could at least buy me a mixer as my hands are getting old.” Seeing his blues and puffed veins, silence was the only comment I had.

I suddenly realised that the girls’ excitement reduced to silence as well. My aim of bringing them out was eventually to talk to them about their aim in life. The old vendor helped unknowingly. Back in class, I talked to the girls about how their parents are scared of telling them anything which might lead to situations such as suicide – a way to keep your parents in your fist. I also asked them to give me the number of minutes they spend on social media in 24 hours. Their answers were not in minutes. Then came my final BANG on their head: If you got D, E and U (fail) grades last term for assessments on what you did in two months only; now imagine your results when in five months you will sit for a syllabus you did for two y e a r s ! Half of them had eyes on the floor – expected.

I believe that it’s our parents’ choice to bring us to this world, it’s their responsibility to spend on what we need.. but it is our choice to build our future. We pass or we fail, they will always be there, out of love. However, in some years, our ability to take care of our parents or not depends on whether we pass or we fail.. n o w ! Saying this, I gave them five minutes and a sheet of paper. They had to write a promise to your parents which you want to make true” or “a statement that you would want to hear from your parents when you get your results“.

To my biggest surprise, I received papers with wet corners from some of them. When I looked in their watery eyes, a warm smile appeared on my face. They understood that I understood and.. I understood that they understood. They folded the papers and wrote their names on top. I didn’t and won’t open to see what they wrote. I will give them the papers back as reminders just before they sit for their final exams in 5 months.

What buttering of parents, shouting of teachers and sarcasm of rectors can’t do… tears can.

So I believe.

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