I want to start by saying thank you to all who visit this blog and follow my 'rambling' posts. I am really grateful to you all for an opportunity to share my thoughts. *kiss* *kiss*
Now today's post:
One of my favourite authors is Malcolm Gladwell - a Psychologist
In his book - Outliers, The Story of Success - he has a chapter titled 'The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes' where he discusses the impact of culture on airline safety
In summary, he talks about how 'Power Distant Cultures' (where younger/ less powerful people accept that they are required to defer and obey older/ more powerful people); seem to have have higher levels of plane crashes. This is because because junior crew members find it difficult to correct the senior official - The pilot. It makes fascinating reading and got me thinking about my culture.......
In Nigerian culture, we very much defer to our elders and this can be a good thing in most cases BUT it can also be a bad thing.
In my next three posts, I will share some some of our cultural norms I now question....(Disclaimer: By 'Nigerian culture', I mean general cultural norms - not tribe specific):
(1) The eldest child should be responsible for his/her younger siblings..............:
I have seen instances where so much pressure has been put on the first child that s/he is forced to do things they should not have done. While I understand that some of them have lost their primary breadwinner i.e. their dad.....In most cases, they are pushed to provide for their siblings by their parents.
A friend of mine (let's call her Liz) told me about a conversation she overhead sometime ago.......
In those days before mobile phones became common in Nigeria, one of Liz's neighbours had a defective landline so this neighbour often came to Liz's parents house to receive phone calls.
This neighbour had a daughter in Italy who called home from time to time. Anytime this girl called, her mum and numerous siblings would crowd round the phone excitedly. The phone conversation would often begin with the girl crying to her mother - About how her 'madam' was forcing her to do 'extra hours'.....About how she often was not given food........About how the 'madam' took most of her money.......etc etc
Surprisingly, her mother would listen patiently and then pass the phone to her siblings. Each of her siblings would then proceed to tell her....
'Sister, dont forget to send my jeans oh'.........
'Sister, dont forget to send my shoes oh'.........
'Sister, my birthday is coming oh'......
.........on and on until the mum took the phone and concluded along the lines of:
'Dont worry my daughter, it shall be well. Try and work hard so we can put our enemies to shame'
So, basically this mother - and siblings - were telling this 'overworked ashewo-of-a-daughter' to bear whatever stress she was under, sell herself to the highest bidder and expose herself to AIDS ...... as long their needs were met. (ashewo = prostitute). God help us !!
In my opinion, it is not right for able bodied parents to put the load of bringing up their own children on the shoulders of a young son/ daughter.
While I accept the truth in the saying 'He who eats alone, chokes alone'.....I also accept the truth in the saying 'Better to be alone than in bad company'
So, do you think our culture puts unfair pressure on first-born children? Let me know what you think about this...............................
(Part 2 on Friday)