Naturally, everyone comes from a family. The bonds between family members is so relatively intimate that it pains not to have one. To lose a family comes with an indescribable pain.
According to Ashley Brown (2021), life has changed so much for most of us in the modern world. With the advancement of technology, changing cultural norms, new priorities, and new forms of communication fueled by the internet, it is natural to wonder what the importance of the family is. Many other modern perspectives question the relevance of belonging to family because of the complexities of modern societies, making life survival of the fittest. It is my opinion, however, that economic, educational and global situations should not detach us or make us question the essence of belonging to a family.
In Ghana, especially the northern belt, the family system is predominantly extended even though people by chance of their work, education, death and other circumstances are living with their nuclear families. The understanding of family, goes beyond when and who one is living with. It extends to any linkages of origin. A sincere appreciation of a family, sociologically, will definitely go beyond biological linkages to a include ties with peers, groups and associations within a particular set up.
According to the Ghana Statistical Service (2020), the proportion of dependents per 100 active people in Ghana is slightly over 67%. This is reflective at the family level where only a few working class may have to struggle to take care of other family members who are aged, unemployed, students, children and sometimes differently abled.It is sad referring you to this damming statistical literature about life in northern Ghana.
According to the Ghana Poverty Mapping report by the Ghana Statistical Service in May, 2015, the incidence of poverty in the country shows that there is a high concentration of poverty in the northern part of Ghana. There is a glaring inequality that exist in the Northern belt. I hope you will not contest my assertion that, there is a direct link between poverty and dependency ratio at the family level. This is because, in a whole family of ten, if only one is employed and the nine others are depending on him/her to service, the breadwinner may not be able liberate him/herself from the clutches of poverty. This makes poverty virtually cyclical in the family.
Against this background, many young men who defy the odds to change the narrative, are mostly overburdened with family pressure and demands. Most of these young men have to truncate their dreams to meet these pressures that do not necessarily change the story of the family. Many others accept to be called names, dejection and negative characterization to survive while others get frustrated, go into alcoholism or die, as the situation may be.I have observed that once someone has gained a job in the formal sector, the person is considered as rich and capable of handling every family problem. Any attempt to explain economic conditions especially when you may have to rent, pay school fees and take care of yourself, would most likely to considered as an act of irresponsibility and greed.
In casual conversation, I have had the opportunity of sharing similar stories with friends and what I hear in return, broke me down completely. The situation is rampant and thwarting personal growth and development.
Many fresh graduates are always full of hopes and big dreams. Their plans are the best in the world but when they get employed, the most difficult heddle ahead is how to overcome to conundrum of pressure and demands of family. It is extremely difficult to chase your dreams without a supportive family. A supportive family is not only the one that supports you financially to chase your dreams but the one who gives you space, moral and psychological support to chase your dreams. Though it is inevitably necessary to demand support from family members sometimes, it must be done reasonably. People within the family must support one another to grow. Everyone desires growth and development and any support system in the family must be collective.
My admonition is that, people should not sit idly to wait for support. Let’s us all be part of the struggle. Do what you can do to support yourself, then it will be easier for another to support you. The situation of constantly putting pressure on only one person is inimical to their health and dreams. Many have died as a result of undue pressure and outrageous demands. Many others have abandoned their dreams only to join the cycle of poverty. If we really desire a transformation in the family, all must endeavor to work towards such.
The Village Boy From DBI