March 18, 2019

I think our kids are dulling o, do you? – Peju Akande

I think our kids are dulling o, do you? – Peju Akande

I met a pretty little girl of about 6 years old over the weekend and in the space of 30 mins, she had told me everything I needed to know about her.

She told me, without being queried, what her best food is, her fave colour, what she liked. She spoke nonstop until I got up to go. She was a delight. She didn’t even let me get any word in when I tried to tell her about myself; oh no, she wanted to tell me the name of her friend in class, her favourite teacher, I had no choice but to listen oh and in between our talks, she offered me her drink. Her innocence was infectious; the purity of her soul and undisguised affection for a total stranger humbled me.

I’m sure her parents have warned her about strangers, yet, here was this little innocent, who meeting me for the first time, just wanted someone to listen to her prattle about everything and nothing in particular.

I studied her for some time and found myself asking, ‘Who in their right mind would do these ones any harm?’

Why?

I had just read of a child who’d been stolen for her home. She was said to have walked away with someone everyone around thought was her uncle.

I asked the same question when the story of a five year old’s mutilated body was shoved in my face via WhatsApp! (I should remind my contacts to stop sending such things to me)

I deleted it immediately but I’m haunted by the image.

I asked  same question when I visited an orphanage the previous week and saw yet again, a beautiful baby, half crippled from a foiled attempt to use her for ritual.

Who are these monsters!

They don’t come with fangs for teeth and horns on their heads, otherwise we would have run for our lives, no, they come disguised. They come like regular people; some even wear sneakers and deceive adults as well.

Yes, na, who would imagine a sneakers wearing kidnapper? You would imagine such a person too fly for such deviousness.

But the evil people these days come with the latest gadgets and the least expected con-story.

Have you seen that video clip of youngsters performing a social experiment when they took permission from parents to see whether their kids paid any attention to talks of never going off with a stranger?

The little innocents fell in the stranger’s trap when they believed the story about mum asking someone to pick them up from school; another agreed to meet a Facebook friend at the park; one was lured with a puppy.

You should see how painfully disappointed the parents were when they confronted their kids and repeated the warnings; never talk to strangers. So maybe parents should repeat the warnings with the horrid consequences that come with disobedience.

Oh yes, kids may be scared shitless but wouldn’t you rather have a scared kid than a missing one?

I recall when I was growing up, still very much a kid of 7 or 8. I nicked a piece of pie from the fridge and my father caught me. He’d warned me several times aboutdoing this and had often punished me. I was the child who took the sweet from the table without asking, pinch the corned beef from the saucer; or drink off the jar of tree top from the fridge.

Hummn, I was that kid who always wanted to taste anything that came in sight.

Nothing the parents did worked until the day father caught me yet again. (I should have stopped since I always got caught anyway.) He asked me to close my eyes. I did, he said, ‘Ok, imagine going to a place where you won’t see me or your mum or siblings. You’ll be alone forever, that’s what will happen to you if, one day, you go and taste poison!’

My eyes flew open. I began to cry. I didn’t want to be left alone without my parents or siblings and would do anything not to be left alone.

That was the cure for my thieving! It scared me badly.

Kids these days need to be made more aware of the dangers out there; perhaps telling them they won’t see mummy or daddy ever again will do the trick.

Something drastic has to be done to save our kids from these monsters, we can no longer stand and stare while strangers take our innocents away from us.

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