Piece by Hermannia Boboye
THE RISE OF THE FIGURE HEAD GENERATION.
Today, I am worried about our sons, today’s young
men. I am truly worried and every mother should
pause, take a closer look at her sons and daughters
and answer this question: are you empowering your
son for the journey ahead of him? Answer truthfully, after all you are alone and you don’t have to let
anybody hear you.
I think Nigerian mothers have not done well raising
future husbands and fathers. Let’s admit it, we have
not scored above average, that is if we achieved
average at all. Take a closer look at your beautiful daughter and your
handsome six-footer son. Who is better prepared for
the task ahead? I know some of us had realised this
and have done better than others but most Nigerian
mothers need to buckle up. Our sons are not what
they should be and we cannot have the society, the country we desire when we put unprepared men and
overgrown boys in positions of authority. I’ll explain
In too many homes, the wives are the bread winners.
Too many women are paying the rent and picking bills
that make a man the man. We do not need figures from the Office of Statistics because I know every
woman in this country knows at least one family
where the man is not truly the head. He is just a figure
head. And every man who is a figure head is a sad
commentary on his mother. Every young husband
who waits for his wife to draw her monthly check before the monthly shopping can be done is a figure
head, a proceed of a failed mother. That is harsh,
right? Yeah, I know there is a place for God in what
man becomes in life. It is from Him all blessings flow
and only He gives power to make wealth. But did you,
madam, even teach your son that simple fact or are you too busy preparing your daughter for marriage in
addition to her getting the added advantage of
attending the same Ivy League schools like his
brothers? A son attends Babcock University in Nigeria
or Imperial College in United Kingdom with a daughter
but the daughter is trained to cook, pamper a man, be nice to in-laws and bring up children, all while she’s
getting a degree. The son learns how to play basket
ball and wash a car. The daughter learns how to bake
and how to make hair and do make-up. Girls with
Masters degrees see nothing wrong in going to learn
dress making . Boys dust their CVs and write glowing stuff about themselves and send out thousands of job
After two or three years of fruitless search for non-
existent jobs, don’t our boys start ‘processing
visas’ to travel to even the most ridiculous places,
countries with no pastures, least of all green ones? Meanwhile, the girls set up make-up studios, start
‘mixing cream’ making hats and dresses and
everything that makes money. The boys wait for the
big time to arrive in one day. It doesn’t, rarely does.
So the girls begin to grow in age and in bank balance.
Ripe for marriage but no man is plucking because they are still waiting. See why girls are marrying late? They
acquire degrees and cars, some even properties
while waiting for Mr Right to come along. By the time
he eventually comes along, the girl is already doing
well in business, entrepreneurial skills honed. For a
while, love covers the gap but men are not wired to be anything but the head. That is why most men quote
how Sarah calls Abraham ‘Lord’ in the Bible. But
Abraham was stupendously rich by Bible accounts. He
also spoilt Mama Sarah silly. In other words, every
Sarah needs an Abraham.
Inadequate, angry and frustrated, a man whose wife picks the bill soon finds avenues to vent his ire.
Violence is one of those avenues. Shamelessly
philandering to belittle his ‘richer’ wife is another,
like impregnating the maid or a restaurant assistant.
Are you linking the rate of failed marriages to what
mothers have failed to do? There is a limit to a woman’s endurance and our millennium daughters
have no threshold for suffering. In any case, a woman
who bought herself a car is not the one her husband
can threaten with ‘if you touch any of my cars…’ A
woman who picks heavy bills in the home is not the
one who will notice that her husband is not bringing his income home. These girls are liable to walk out of
marriages too easily, too quickly.
And there is this ever present trouble of a bitchy
daughter-in-law and her monster-in-law. If our sons
have not earned the respect of their wives, how can
we be free and happy and welcomed in our sons’ homes? The poor wife is simply going to see a visiting
mother-in-law or sister-in-law as added disadvantage
and a further drain on her patience, energy and
It does not matter if women produce the next
president and Central Bank Governor and 20 state governors, the achievement of Nigerian women and
indeed women world over will continue to be marred
if all we do is churn out half-baked and ill-equipped
fathers and husbands. We cannot have a great society
with just great women and less than good fathers and
husbands. We’ve got work on hands , girls. We’ve got to pay
more attention to the quality of sons we are raising.
Are we teaching them the right values? Have you sat
your boys down and told them only impotent men
beat their wives? Have you told your sons a man is
not man if he cannot provide for his wife and children, that the ‘dangling modifier’ in between his legs is
not really what proves his manhood in his home?
Have you told your son lately that he needs to have
extra skills to survive in Nigeria and that there is no
big deal about having a first degree? We all should
teach our sons to follow what they have a passion for and not sit at home waiting for the six-digit salary job.
The young men that we all wish were our sons are
most of the time those who made money early and
you cannot make money early if you romance your
CV for 10 years waiting for a telecommunication job.
A few guys get lucky but we must prepare our boys for life without good luck.
Since this year’s theme for International Women’s
Day is ‘Inspiring Change’, let us change the way
we have brought up our boys. Let us teach them the
skills that will protect them for their lasting future
endeavours. The time to start is NOW!
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