What my parents taught me!
I usually tell my friends that I did not have a childhood because my parents groomed me to act like an adult all the time. As part of my adult grooming, I missed out on kids’ cartoons, movies, and TV shows, which influenced me a lot, hence, my impatience to watch a movie from start to finish.
My parents compelled me to listen solely to news broadcasts, so my best TV show as a child was the ‘news line’ by Frank Olize. I used to find it boring and upsetting, but I needed to listen attentively, as, after each broadcast at 10 PM, I had to recount to my parents the news for that day; it was akin to a daily exam which I did not enjoy at all.
Asides from the daily exam struggles, I also could not engage in social commentaries with my friends in school. Each time I told my dad that I couldn’t engage in social commentaries, his response was, “be bold and proud to share your experience of what you did at home,” and so I always did that with my friends. I learned a lot from this “annoying” experience. It built my self-confidence and self-worth, contributed to shaping who I am today, and has helped me to manage all the myriads of distractions in this digital age.
My parents also taught me hard work, integrity, respect, determination, diligence, self-reliance, contentment, and the concept of ‘no free lunch’ – my parents made us earn everything we received from them. Therefore, we needed to either do a chore, run an errand, or read/study as a price for anything we wanted and to answer their standard question – what have you done to earn this?
They taught me that I could be the best, so I should never settle for less. I attended a boarding school in an era there were no emails or cell phones, so we had to write letters and send them by post. I recall that my letters would always return to me with red markers of corrections, and I used to feel bad. So many things my friends did as kids and got away with, my parents would never let them pass if I did them. They would always push me to be different and to do better. My dad was a perfectionist and always wanted us to do everything we did without fault.
In my life’s journey, in addition to what my parents taught me, I have learned that I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to be human and remain a curious learner; I don’t have to fit into tradition, I just have to be an authentic explorer.
These lessons, which I consider my foundational skills/values, contributed significantly to shaping my career journey and success. They serve as my reservoir of resources that I tap from to engage and thrive.
What did you learn growing up? What are you learning every day? How aware are you of your reservoir of resources? How have you tapped into this reservoir for your personal growth and career success?