As an African and a proud Nigerian, I love the fact that we are always looking out for our family and friends. Ironically, an average African man has bigger responsibilities than the wealthiest man in the world, especially if he’s the first child. He is mandated to take care of his siblings and other extended family irrespective of his financial status.
As much as this may sound good, however, it tends to demand too much from every African first child. The fact that they are the first child doesn’t make them the Messiah. African parents demand too much from their first child. Right from birth to when he gets old, he is always reminded of the responsibility he has to shoulder.
There is this belief that he must lead by example. Although it is true, as the younger siblings are liable to copy him. But it is not enough to put a heavy responsibility on such a child. Because it makes him live all his life thinking about his family, and less about himself. Whenever he’s failing, he feels bad because he knows he’s not meeting standards. Many had been pushed into doing what they don’t intend to do because they fear their parents would tag them as a failure. They don’t want their parents to call and remind them of another first child doing better than them in the community. You know African parents are good at doing that. No wonder some ladies are skeptical when it comes to marrying a man who is the first child of his family.
Enough is enough!
Let every first child be. Let them work the best way they can. The messiah tag should be taken off their heads. Life is personal. Helping siblings should be willing and not mandated. When we put that responsibility on them at a younger age, we tend to make them desperate. I am not the first child of my parents but I can tell you from my experience.
My parents demanded too much from my poor sister. When she’s running at her pace, they would complain. ”Is this how you will take care of your siblings?” They would say to her. She had to start running faster than her legs could carry her.
My plea to every African parent, teach your kids to be responsible for themselves. Don’t put the burden of others on the first child. I understand our grandparents taught you that, but we can’t continue to apply a 100-year-old method in this new era. Things have changed and are still changing. It is your responsibility to look after your own children. It is your duty to teach them how to fend for themselves and not to depend only on the first child. Everyone has got his own life to live.
Besides, what makes you think the first child would even be wealthier than his younger siblings?
I beg to differ on this mentality. No first child chose to be first. It happened by chance, so they should not be made to pay for that.
Live and let others live.