Take me back to my roots…I miss it

Sometimes I want to be taken back to my roots, the ‘good old days’. Recently, I was seated on a bus on my way back home, and I saw this little girl from school. Must have been around 9 or 10 years old. This child had a mobile phone, but not just an ordinary one, a smart phone. I just thought to myself how children in this time and age, especially the western world have been given all kinds of privileges. The child was literally hooked on the phone, that she could not even hear what her mom was saying to her. It took me back to how I got my first phone when I was 18 years old and had just finished my A levels.  It wasn’t that my Dad couldn’t afford it. That is just the way things worked in my family. We got these kind of privileges after we were older and it was very ok. I was actually so grateful and pleased when I got one, but I wouldn’t complain if I didn’t have any till I could afford my own.

From all this, I realise how I miss the way things were done back home. For example, while we were kids, we used to go outside and play as much as we wanted because it was fun running around with so much freedom  and would go back home exhausted. It wasn’t about video games all the time or being indoors. Even if we didn’t have so many toys, we would improvise by making our own. We made various ones like balls from banana fibres or polythene bags and rubber bands, made cars from boxes and used the bottle tops as wheels, or even dolls from banana fibres and cloth.  These things were fun to make and yet would stimulate our minds because we had to be creative all the time. It was ok to play outside without the fear of being kidnapped because all the other neighbours in the village or area, were responsible for every  child and would go as far as disciplining other people’s children when in wrong, which was fine with the parents.

Take me back to my roots, I miss the way things were done…….

What happened to children being respectful to their elders? Things like shouting back at your parent that “I hate you” just because you didn’t have your way, were a taboo. If you ever dared to say such things, it wouldn’t be good news. Let’s put it that way…children respecting their elders was part of the whole grooming , regardless of whether you were related to these people or not. Obviously as a child, one would sulk but in the end you would appreciate how responsible you would turn out.

Then when it comes to how much children are given in terms of Christmas presents and birthday gifts these days, It’s insane!! They get the most expensive things ever for their age and lots of them. No wonder, as they grow up, they become so materialistic and end up wanting everything even that which they do not need. It is scary, because by the time they become adults, all they know is spend and won’t know how to save because they got things the easy way in their childhood.

I understand that all these things are happening because of the changes in our lives and the technology. The busy lives that might force us to give children more liberty to play video games, so as to get on with our work. But the truth is that the generation today is dying slowly because all the values are being lost, all in the name of following the new era. I really pray that when I get my children one day, I will make it my responsibility to teach them all our cultural values and norms and learn how to respect them, regardless of where they are, or go.

Because I know it’s these things that have groomed me into the beautiful, respectful and responsible African woman I am today.

How about you? What do you miss about the ‘good old days’, and what you love about your roots?

Esther Mwebaza

Esther Mwebaza is a trained social worker who loves writing poetry, drawing and painting.