Is the older generation really to blame?
It is common these days to hear some people aver that the older generations of Nigerians are responsible for the problem of the nation. One thinks that it is amusing as much as it is a statement that we should view with much seriousness. This belief, one thinks, should no longer be bandied about so carelessly because we are all responsible for our actions, individually. When you blame the older generation for everything wrong, you may be saying that your father should answer for your sins because he has raised you the way you have turned out as a human being. Fair enough.
Granted that parents have some responsibility over the way children are raised, but you pay for your actions and get the reward for them. No law court asks to punish a father because his son was caught stealing. The son is punished for his sins by himself alone because a child who has grown up enough to know good from bad, even when his parents raised him the wrong way, should be seen to deliberately want to do evil because he chooses to.
However, when you hear: “the older generation is to blame,” you wonder which of the elders, these people; supposedly educated enough people speak about.Which elders, exactly? You could not be referring to your great-grandfather who may not have seen the four walls of a school? You could not be disrespectful of your forebears who did backbreaking work on the farmland to give his numerous children the best of life obtainable in his days, the elder who did not think that a human being could live beyond 45 or 50 years of age because that was the average age his generation knew since there was no adequate provision of healthcare in his time.
Surely, these people do not abuse the memory of the grandfather who worked tirelessly to send his offspring to school, so that they had the opportunity to live a better lifestyle than what he had?
We have heard of parents who have gone to school, got the white-collar jobs, but became shameful of their backgrounds to the extent that they did not want their children to be close to their grandparents; they shunned their illiterate parents and would not want their new breed of children to have contact with their own parents.Or they refer to the politicians, perhaps? Even when we condemn these people, the so-called new generation has some responsibility in the way things are done.
How Could You Be Responsible?
Look at the changes that go on in the universe all the time; they are so big sometimes and so sudden that we gain nothing materially; material in terms of money or the food we eat. But the unique thing is the impression of the mind that these experiences leave us with. Perhaps, the experiences are the important things you should expect from your elders.
Think, what have you the modern man and woman imbibed from the caveman? Certainly, his lifestyle would make you wince. Anything that happens in nature appears to leave a gap between the new and the preceding generation, so that they may have nothing to impart to you but what they have learnt and this may just be a guide so that you are able to avoid the mistakes they made.
What is the origin of Homo Sapiens? Some of us trace the origin to Adam and Eve in Garden of Eden. When we blame the elders, therefore, we seem to also refer to the fall of the first set of parents.
But their failure should be a lesson; we have heard that they were punished for their sins too. If they were punished it would only be expected that were we to make the same mistakes, we should be held accountable, it should no longer be their sin but our sin.After the first human beings were born many years ago, we notice also that apart from the leap in science, technology and the arts, that the human shape and appearance have improved. One Auntie used to say after taking a look at women who tone their skin or perm their hair; “There are no longer people you call ugly. In the past you saw people who had faces like monkeys.”
Changes improve on civilization all the time and make human beings more knowledgeable, but it does not make them better or to stand higher than their forebears. Each individual is responsible for the way he lives, it is worse for him who has had his path made smooth, but who chooses to lay back because he expected his father to do all the work for him.
Teach the child that only a man who does not want to use his mind well is the one who casts blame. The man who blames others is not willing to work on his fault. Besides, blaming the elders is now a well-used and well-beaten path, so unoriginal an idea.
The gap between the old and the new came because your parents did not understand that you could learn anything that could help the newer generation from your grandparents, because they did not go to school. The gulf may continue to widen if you have different ideas on how to bring up a child.