A few days ago a reader of my blog contacted me to share her story because she believes there are a lot of lessons for parents to learn from it. I’ve gotten her permission to share but obviously, I’ll use fictitious names to keep the identities of those involved private. So here it goes as told by her.
“One day I was in the kitchen trying to sort out something when I overheard a conversation between my son – “Bolu” who is 17 and our trusted driver – “Kenny” who has been working with us for over 6 years. My son asked the driver “when are you going to get that our stuff?” Naturally, I was curious as to what “our stuff” was. They couldn’t see me and so were oblivious to the fact that anyone could hear their conversation. Anyway as the conversation between my son and the driver progressed, I realized they were discussing “igbo” (weed; marijuana). Apparently, the driver had been supplying my son weed and they were actually using the stuff together. I almost passed out! How could Bolu whom we had raised to fear God be smoking “igbo?” I still don’t know how I managed to keep calm or even get myself out of the kitchen. So many questions started going round in my head…how long had this been going on? Was Bolu okay mentally? Was he addicted? Why would he even experiment with “igbo?” What should I do? How should I handle this? Somehow I managed to get myself out of the kitchen to the living room. Not long after Bolu walks in. I looked at him “Bolu, how long has this been going on? “What mum?” “My friend, don’t play dumb with me. So you and Kenny now smoke “igbo” together abi?” You might as well just kill me…..” “I guess Bolu realized there was no need denying anything and figured that I must have overheard their conversation. Anyway as I probed deeper, I discovered that this had been going on for about 2 years! “Charity, how couldn’t I have known? Under my roof! I had always prided myself as an observant and involved mother. How didn’t I see the signs.?”
I must be honest after listening to this lady; I was speechless (a state I don’t find myself in too often). Even though she had made the discovery about a month before she got in touch with me, I could still hear the shock in her voice.
After speaking with her, I decided to do a bit of research and find out from a few young “friends” of mine, how rampant the issue of young people smoking weed was.
My findings were quite eye opening. Let me just summarize by saying that 95% of the youngsters feel that the weed matter is over sensationalized by parents and that it actually has immense health benefits. They consider it a relaxant in a stressful world of academics and mental pressure. They say based on their investigation, weed is way less harmful than alcohol or tobacco and definitely not in the same category as other hard drugs and that they would not contemplate or advice using those other hard substances. While none of them confessed to smoking the stuff, clearly it wasn’t such a big deal and they had many friends and knew a lot of people who smoked weed and lived “very normal, happy relaxed lives”. They agreed that some of the possible drawbacks could be a possibility of addiction and the fact that it could be quite an expensive habit. My head still spins when I recall some of the responses.
Dear fellow parents, for the avoidance of doubt I am NOT in any way advocating that we liberalize our stand or convictions as regards weed…alcohol…drugs…No way! However, I do advocate that we become informed parents who are aware of the fact that we are raising a curious generation that seeks logical answers. “Because I say so” doesn’t cut it with them. It may appear to have a seemingly positive effect just so that peace reigns and they minimize “parents stress” but we may end up raising children who are one person when they’re with us and another kind of person when they’re with their friends or away from us.
Please let’s research well and gain knowledge so that we can build up our case with a view to guiding our children from an informed perspective. “Research on what?” you might ask. Research on any and every topic your child wants answers to or any topic you consider important to your family. So for instance your son asks you “what is wrong with smoking weed?” Rather than just flippantly answer “it would knock your brain”, if you really don’t have any other reason to give, you could say “can we talk about this later tomorrow” then go and do some research to properly back up your position. Ask other parents, be a part of parenting platforms like this (www.parentinvestment.com) where you can learn from other parent’s experiences. Like I say “when it comes to parenting, ignorance is not bliss”.
Oh, and before I forget…of course the driver was fired immediately for “aiding and abetting”. That angle of the story actually triggered another topic I must write on soon – “What kind of influence do our domestic help have on our children? “ Watch this space.