Stop! Says the red light

This morning, on our way back from church, I stopped at a red light. My precocious three year old asked, “Daddy why did you stop?”

I have found that nursery rhymes, which I used to hate when I was his age, are actually a fun way to teach children, so I immediately burst into song.

Stop says the red light
Go says the green
Ready says the yellow light
Blinking in between

For the rest of the journey home, my boy kept directing me based on what the few traffic lights that worked showed. When we got to a red light, he would squeal, “STOP”, and when the light turned green, he’d happily scream “GO!”

“Daddy he did not stop!” Ebuka observed when an ambulance beat a red light at the traffic lights just adjacent to the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa. At that point, his mother had to explain to him (she’s better at it than me), that some vehicles are exempt.

Thank God it was not a danfo. We’d have ruined Ebuka’s life at this early stage.

But it got me thinking about the many Nigerian children, Ebuka’s age, whose parents either have not heard of the rhyme, or could not give a toss. What future for those kids? What future for the kids whose parents don’t give a damn about obeying traffic lights? How do they explain to their children about rules and regulations?

One thing I noticed rather early is that my boy is like a sponge. Things I do, he is quietly watching, and will repeat. That knowledge has made me attempt to clean up my act, if not for my sake, for his. I’m still not there, especially in my habit of swearing, but I’m conscious of it. This is the same with children all over the country. Each time we break one rule, or misbehave, our kids watch us, and absorb what we have done. Further down the line, it becomes that much harder, to correct them. After all, Daddy did it.

Any wonder that Nigeria is getting more lawless?

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