“When you are older, you’ll understand”
There will be very few Africans that haven’t heard the above line before. Or maybe I should say Africans below the age of 30. In church its “When you get to my level…”.
Well.. here I am. An African church boy under 30. And yea.. you guessed right. It’s not fun to be me in this unsolicited-advice game. If I got a cent for every piece of advice I’ve been given, I’ll cruise around the Pacific on my personal yacht and have a couple of Malibu apartments of my own. While the good concern can be a good thing, the overbearing feeling can’t be overlooked.
Quick question, if your advice is so good, why must you force it down my throat? At least it will be my own loss not yours. Why aren’t you as enthusiastic to give the same advice to your children? Why’s the fruit of your advice not working in your own life? Not like you love me that much to want what’s best for me by force or do you? Truth is the advice in most cases is wack! And these Ahitophels know it. It disagrees with both the bible and any form of excellence culture.
A friend of mine was telling how her pregnancy was hitch free. Now, she had prayed to have a stress free pregnancy and fortunately for her, she had a safe delivery. That’s a good thing right? And it’s brilliant news, no? Not exactly for the unapproved self-appointed Sanhedrin. She told me how they had gathered and told her that her next pregnancy would be hectic and how they were talking from experience and she better prepare for it. “Mine was horrible. You’ll understand when you get to my age” they had said to her.
Na by force? “Marriage is a war”. “Life is hard”. “No one achieves 100% of their dreams”. “Going on holidays is just a waste of money, buy and store food at home instead”. “Don’t drive fancy cars just because you can afford them”. Must you pass on your nuggets of ‘wisdom’ (or nuggets of mediocrity in this case)? Everyone who has half a brain knows experience is golden in life and elders must be respected for what they’ve been through and come from but this culture of forcing down your opinion to compensate for a life of failures isn’t helping to close the generational divide. Then again, even if experience is golden, isn’t that people who have gathered and properly maneuvered good experience? Experience is not golden if you haven’t learnt good values from it. It’s not even silver or bronze, its saw dust! These puke-inducing unwanted shrink sessions cause more harm than good but I’ll be surprised if it stops as many of ‘these people’ I’ve seen see them as the only way to feel relevant. My life isn’t a dumping ground for your try-and-catch experimental ideas.
Here’s the deal. If you are in my shoes, don’t become disrespectful – though they deserve it. And for those who have burnt bridges because they couldn’t take the mental torture anymore, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water, rebuild the bridges. Let’s just get older and not make the same mistakes 'these ones' made. Oh… and one more thing, don’t let the lectures get to you.. shake them off!