When I finished my secondary school education, I told my father I wanted to go to a catering school. His reply was ‘O ti mo oloko to’n wa e lo’. A rough translation of that is ‘You don’t know who the driver of your vehicle is’. In other words ‘Dream on!’.
The only option on offer was a university degree, non-negotiable.
Now, many years later, I talk about, dream about, read about food. I love cooking. I like food from all cultures, my favourite remains Nigerian. I dream of running an eatery some day, or a catering business of some sort.
I believe in the value of education, but I don’t think this should be pursued just for the sake of it. A degree in itself is of no value if the course studied does not tie in with the student’s passion one way or the other. Which is why I would be okay with their decision if any of my children decide they do not want to go to university. The world we live in today is a lot more informed than the world I lived in as a child. So much so that by the age of 15, most educated children have an idea of what they want to do with their lives in the future. My duty as a parent is to help guide them towards the achievement of their goals, and university no longer remains the sole option.
I don’t believe in the stereotypical lawyer, doctor, accountant route. There is dignity in labour, the Good Book says whatever your hands find to do, do it well.
So if Egirl decides she wants to be a tailor for instance, I’ll root for her, and try as hard as I can to get her into the best dressmaking college out there. Along the way she can take classes in book-keeping, business studies, et al. And if she decides she wants to go to for a tailoring degree, I’ll be all for that too. The point is she still has to study hard to excel in her chosen career path, but she has various options. And ditto for the rest of my children.
All this of course is subject to T’s approval, but if she decides the tailoring route is it, I would ensure that she works hard at producing a portfolio of clothes to demonstrate her skill and passion so I can argue her case before her father.
I might not be using my law degree in an office or in court, but when it comes to my children, I’m the best earthly advocate there is.