Parents and Professions

Something interesting happened in church today, as the kids came out for thanksgiving, the Pastor, in praying for them, intoned, “there will be doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, governors, presidents, vice presidents, and senators among them in Jesus’ name”, and I couldn’t help but notice that a professor of pharmacy, who incidentally is probably the highest academician in the church, (she is a former vice chancellor of a university, I think) in addition to being one of the most financially capable,  was in attendance, the word “pharmacist” did not slip past his lips even once. It raises questions in the mind about what parents think their kids should study.

There is a lot of vicarious living going on among parents these days, considering that children of doctors and children f those who wanted to be doctors but couldn’t make it into or through medical school are sent to science class without much thought to what the child wants for him/herself, or what the child’s natural gifts and talents are best suited for. As a result we have doctors who hate the sight of blood, lawyers who have no erudition whatsoever, and engineers who would have been better off as farmers or doctors.

A family friend of mine is an artist. Right from our early days in primary school, he was always drawing, painting, calligraphing, and shading. Between us, we snagged almost all the prizes in fine arts during our primary school years, and in secondary school, where artistically inclined students were encouraged to join some particular clubs so as to get appointed as director of publicity and make posters for the clubs, we made quite a bit of money doing posters for various clubs. Fast forward to university. His parents, not seeing the viability in the arts, bundled him off to a private university after failing to score the needed marks. They made him study…. Wait for it…. Law. Iimagine my friend, a creative, free-spirited individual, stuffed into a straitjacket of a law uniform, and made to cram and swot for years on end. Im not saying he’s not a good lawyer, but… he would have been a fantastic artist, but he’s just an okay lawyer. I miss the artist he would have been.

A friend of mine qualified as a doctor some years back, and soon enough, the time came when they were trying to get into different hospitals for placement for house job/ internship. He happened to be in the long queue with several other newly graduated medical doctors, and as it just so happened that they went into the office in sets of three. He went in with two other doctors who had family higher up in the medical community. The doctor who was there taking their names just turned it to casual chitchat as he asked the other doctors about their parents and elder ones who were medical doctors as well. On getting to my friend, he looked at the surname strangely before narrowing his eyes and asking, “Okeke*, who is your father?”

*actual name changed

My embarrassed friend muttered somewhat shamefacedly that his father was no doctor, nor an influential person, upon which the doctor asked him a few half hearted questions and told him they would get back to him. Needless to say, they never did. The list of those who had been accepted came out, and though his two associates made it, he did not. And that is a true story. So let us ask ourselves, as we grow, and give birth to kids, and watch our kids grow and learn< , what are we going to do to guide our kids’ choices as regards career? Will we force them into toeing the lines we did, or the professions we were not good enough for, or will we encourage them to make their own choices based on their own God-given skills and talents? Will we nurture and train them to be the best possible humans, citizens, and individuals they can be, or do we just continue to play God by forcing them into what we think they should study?

And let me just throw this one in, out of spite. If your child says he or she wants to grow up to be a writer, and displays gifts and skills in that aspect, what will be your response? The truth is that we still do not think of writing as a profession that is economically viable.

Breaking news: Writing is getting viable ojare, shebi you came here of your own free will to read posts?

Oya, do one better. Tell us what you think.

The comments section.

Tenkior!

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