Are you a wealthy parent who gives your children everything they want? Then you might want to read this. Securities firm CEO, and Bowen University Pro- Chancellor, Mr Abegunde spoke about the menace of wealthy parents, (even those from indigent backgrounds) who go on to raise spoilt-silver-spoon-kids with the wealth God blessed their parents with, whom he refers to as “Lions in the zoo”.
He referred to this situation at the first anniversary of the Stag project: a Youth empowerment programme of Vine Branch Ministries for young men between the ages of fourteen and twenty four years which held in Ibadan earlier in the month.
Speaking to The Nation in a chat, he explained, “A lion in the zoo sits down there waiting for the keeper to bring him food and water, and he eats it. If the food is not brought on time, he roars. And then everyone will run helter-skelter to find it food. But a lion in the jungle knows that he has to go out and look for food by himself.”
Continuing his observations of the negative trend, and how it robs such children of the independent spirit necessary to survive and succeed in the world as adults, he surmised, “I coined that term myself. I see how we bring up our children today. We give them everything, even their assignments; we literally write it for them, take them to school, and even write exams for them. I have even seen a situation where a young graduate was accompanied to a job interview by her mother. That was the singular reason we did not hire her.”
He continued, “When they get out there, and the keeper is no longer there, will they be able to feed? The survival instinct will not be there.” As such he enjoined parents not to pamper their kids. He quipped, “Give them what they need, not what they want.”
Contrasting the situation with his humble beginnings, he continued, “You can compare that to someone like me who had to do odd jobs to do the same things.” This son of a retired post master who rose through the ranks to become the man he is today confessed that his father encouraged he and his siblings to be independent, and fend for themselves from an early age; as such he hawked mangoes and newspapers as a young boy to raise money to support himself through school, even though his father was on hand to help.
Speaking on his parenting style he stated, “My children do not wear as good clothes as their contemporaries, but I don’t care. Even the children of people who are not as well off as we are financially dress better.” Speaking on a tactic he uses to motivate his kids to excel in their studies, he revealed, “When we travel on annual holiday, I give them a basic amount as shopping allowance, and then I promise them a specific amount for every A they score at school. So when they score A’s in school, they call to inform me even before they return home from school.”
He concluded by stating that he uses such tactics to teach his children certain principles, and instill financial discipline and prudence in them, he stated, “However, they do not want to spend more than half that amount, preferring to bring it home to Nigeria, that is my way of training them.”