Writer: Pamela Makumbi

Gone are the days when children listened to their parents and obeyed every instruction without question. Any hesitation or deviation earned you a spank. The scripture that says “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him” was clearly the premise on which most households were run. It was almost as if the children in that era had no ears and could only be corrected with the rod. Most of the children lived clear straight lives in fear of the rod of discipline, but it worked!!! Look how we turned out!

Gone are the days when it was believed that the parent is always right, after all, they had experienced life longer. The days when elders were respected and honoured regardless of who they were. Every adult was referred to as “Auntie” or “Uncle” and the child was raised by the entire village. No adult needed permission to put a child straight when caught in the act of wrongdoing. The safety net of the extended family was intact and the children were protected.

The days when marriage was revered and the woman fully submitted to the husband. When a marriage was permanent and the couple did everything to stay married even if it killed them. The fathers were the heads of the families and also the providers, there was no confusion about that.

Families remained intact and extended family was the way to go. Food for the family was homegrown, every family had a garden, additional food was grown in the village and every once in a while brought to town. Every child had a village to go to during school holidays, Christmas breaks, wedding ceremonies when the entire extended family came together for a fun-packed celebration, even the sad moments like funeral ceremonies brought everyone together as the entire extended family came together to mourn the death of a loved one.

The children today are not anything like that, they have no sense of extended family. They only relate with the immediate family and many have no idea of what their villages look like, nor do they know their relatives beyond the immediate family. Their lives revolve around their apartment in town, not even relating with their immediate neighbour. They have no access to a garden and all the food consumed is procured from the local market or supermarket nearby. Many of them don’t even have the slightest idea of what a garden looks like.

The children of today are the dot com generation, they speak only English and do not know or speak their mother tongue. They are empowered- they know their rights, they are educated, they know everything, and do not need the adults telling them what to do.. They ask “why” before implementing any instructions given to them. They cannot simply take instruction from the adults in their lives because they are old-fashioned, outdated, and know nothing about being a child in this generation and therefore cannot understand them. They have the liberty to choose their schools, their clothes, their chores, their food, and even the home they would like to live in because their parents are abusive or improvident or do not respect their spaces.

The marriages are now trial marriages, who cares about weddings anymore? It’s just a waste of resources, besides if the two agree, who needs anyone else’s permission? Those that actually go through the wedding have the attitude of “let’s try this and see” in other words if it doesn’t work, divorce is plan B. Some stay married for the sake of the children but what is really happening is two strangers are living together raising children. Fathers no longer take charge, after all the mothers are earning more. The women are empowered, they earn more, and they do not need a man in their lives telling them what to do. They are equal to the men, who wants to stay home and raise children when they are so well educated? There are people that can be hired to do that kind of work. People who would rather be somewhere else but for some reason are not able to, so end up being house girls. The fate of our children is in the hands of people who in most cases hate their jobs. I shudder to think what type of children they are raising.

I am confused, what a price to pay? Is this what it means to be modern?

Leah Grace Oketcho, is a highly talented Communication specialist, gifted in leadership with over 3 years of leadership and management experience at different levels. She is a team player and has demonstrated ability in mobilizing and organizing others to achieve desired goals. Oketcho is well vast in the art of creating alternatives for ways to get results. She has over the years grown in the art of corporate communications and also participated in the development of performance management materials for various professional institutions. Leah received training in research, scripting, international relations, and data analysis as well as public relations. She is passionate about solving public health related problems. She has offered training to youth in oral and written communication, people management and mentoring, editing and documentation skills, public speaking.

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