“They sent us to School, but they become surprised when we use the education to change the status quo.” This was a quote I heard someone say, earlier this week.
He made the statement in the middle of an argument. ‘Should newly married men ever enter the kitchen to cook for their families?’ A lot of people were against the notion. Why should a man ever have to venture into the kitchen, when he has a house maid-oops! Wife? Another set supported the motion, by saying it was okay, as long as both parties want it.
This second statement would be sacrilegious to parents; especially Nigerian parents. They expect us to conform to certain standards, but they get angry, when by virtue of our exposure, we don’t want to keep doing the same thing. There was a time when female circumcision was a norm. They believed it helped curb promiscuity, but with research and enlightenment, we realized it was wrong to mutilate the girl-child.
There was also a time when rape victims were silenced. It was seen as shameful. People would say things like, “you no get shame? Dem rape you, you dey talk am.”
Slowly, we learned to encourage victims to speak out. The stigma might still be there, but it is not as bad as it used to be. Each generation leaves an impact on the status quo. Ask those ahead, those before them tried to shut them down. They told them, “That’s the way things are done,” but they didn’t let it deter them. They asked questions, and changed things to suit themselves and those coming behind them.
As youths, we shouldn’t be afraid of questioning the status quo. Because something is our culture doesn’t make it right.
Because we grew up seeing our parents do it, does not make it okay. Nothing is too sacred to be questioned. Not comfortable with marrying multiple wives, ask your clerics why it is even approved. Not comfortable with living as a second class human, just because you’re a woman, ask questions. Why is it so in the first place? If I change it and do it this way, what consequences will I face?
True! Stigmas are attached to people who ask questions. They call us ‘woke’, they call us ‘troublemaker’, and they call us ‘lazy youths’. Don’t mind the names.
Look at the bigger picture, and do what you have to do. But one thing we shouldn’t forget while doing this, is to respect people’s choices.
Because you’re against the payment of bride price doesn’t make those who believe in it idiots. Respect people’s ideas, culture, and tradition. Don’t be rude because you’re changing your ideology.
Do yours, take a passive approach, and watch others follow your lead. The best change makers weren’t the ones who razed down wrong buildings; they were the ones who erected the right buildings.
So, make your mark today because no one is too young to do so.