At 20, an awful number of Ghanaian youngsters are in school, reading courses they didn’t choose or detest while marking time about exploring their passions. Nearly all of these young people dare not drop out to pursue whatever talents they have (or think they have). For a staggering number of Ghanaian parents, it’s school first. Every other thing can wait. And these things end up waiting forever.
This school-first style of parenting has ensured that many people never get to be fulfilled in life: they reluctantly pursue courses they do not like; get employed in sectors or do businesses they dislike; and work perfunctorily. Most are irritable and show disrespect to innocent customers. Stuck in employment that is unfulfilling, productivity suffers.
So to learn that Ebony’s father had been her pillar throughout, even endorsing her decision to drop out of high school was refreshing. See, high school not a tertiary institution. Just high school! Many Ghanaian parents will not endorse that. Hell will break loose if their children come up with such nonsense. But Mr Opoku-Kwarteng stood by her Queen. And we must all have a rethink about our parenting style.
We have no control of how long our children will live. So we must allow them to be all they can. Insisting on school first can mean that they pass on uncelebrated and unfulfilled. It can mean that they are subjected to skulduggery while their real potential remains untapped. It can mean that we make them resentful and rebellious. It can mean that we make unproductive people.
We must stop trying to live our dreams through our children. If you couldn’t become a medical doctor because your maths was terrible, don’t force you child whose maths is good to be a doctor. If he or she chooses to be a boxer, let them do it; mathematical precision in boxing will be an asset. And that will impact the world much better and bring them fulfilment.
Whatever excess came with her, she was a really talented singer who entertained us. And Mr Opoku Kwarteng role as a parent must be emulated. She couldn’t wait to impact her world and he was no stumbling block. The fruits of her talent will remain with us for eternity.
Rest in peace Ebony Reigns
You took over the nascent reins
Of our melodious dancehall
And made it pleasingly available to all.
You’ve left an indelible mark in our hearts,
A mark which reminds us to always play our parts.
We are immeasurably grateful.
Rest in peace; you forever reign in our hearts.