I remember as a child, looking up to certain people, from MJ, to uncles and family friends. I learnt a wide variety from them, envied them, and couldn’t wait to do the things they did. I remember excitedly watching people drive cars as it was something I realised I’d have to wait for over a decade before I was legally allowed to. I watched both sexes wear trendy clothes that seemed outrageous and yet I couldn’t wait for the chance to make a choice of what I’d wear.
Sometime last year I was in a bus and beside me was a little boy, I felt him looking at me and looking over I saw a look of admiration and a little anxiety. I smiled back hoping he would lighten up. I realised this was how it must have been as a young child looking at older ones, admiring and learning their attitudes and differences.
Now the tables have turned and I find myself in the position where whatever I do or appear to do would have an effect on the younger ones around me. I realise my words and actions would either bring something new to them for good or bad, or reaffirm whatever they have learnt so far.
I remember advising the kids I taught to take each stage of life as it came and to never act younger or older than they were as they would certainly pass through each phase when it was due. Why live 18 at 15? 23 at 18? 30 at 20? 50 at 30? What happens when you’re 80? You’d live 112?
It was a challenge, I found myself as a teacher whose duty it was to guide and guard these kids in specific subjects as well as about life generally. It was difficult as I had my fair share of stiff teachers and had had my streaks of rebellion. I was caught in between. I wanted to be the young one who’d understand them and what they’re all about and indulge their excesses. At the same time, I wanted to be the older one who had experiences to share so that they wouldn’t make the same mistakes I had and to lay as good a foundation of discipline as I could.
How well did I do in the end?
Very well I dare say!
Only because however tough I was on them, they still were comfortable enough to open up to me and nearly 2 years after, I’m still in touch with a few of them.
The more we grow, the more liberty we gain, religiously, economically and socially, tend to use as we please, which is just great. But however much we’d like to tell the younger ones what to and what to not do, they still see what we do, and will re-enact what they fancy immediately or at some time in the future.
I find I’m still learning so much from the older generation ahead and that it’s my duty to filter through what I learn so that whatever I imbibe is of a positive benefit to not just myself but the younger ones whom I unconsciously inspire. The future depends on how we inspire those who will take over from us, just as much as it is inspired by what we chose to keep from what we learnt every day. So choose wisely cos the younger ones would question our choices just as much as we question the older one.