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As a child, I wasn’t really allowed to do some things I loved to do, like going to play at a friend’s house or watch television for hours or to be on the computer for very long. I was very reserved and quiet. My parents are strict disciplinarians and all about book work. When I was 8 years old, I noticed that they never complained when I wanted to visit a friend of mine who had a piano. He was quite older than me and I really enjoyed going to their house because they lived in a really fancy estate.
I didn’t know much about playing the piano or anything but I always sat there for hours trying to learn the solfa notations for any song that popped into my head. My parents noticed that I had a thing for the piano and got me my very own for my tenth birthday.
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The feeling was indescribable. I felt like I had just won the lottery. I played it every day, and for some reason, my folks let me. I scored a lot of songs and I kept teaching myself different things – like chords and fingering and scales, etcetera. A few years down the line, I used the skills I acquired to play for the Mayor of London and I also played at a concert.
This short story is to urge parents to let their kids be creative. My parents noticed mine at a fairly young age and they help me develop it. They were able to provide me with the materials I needed and I will always be grateful to them for that. According to Ken Robinson, he says that the best time to really know what someone will be interested in is when that person is still a child. It is at that age that the child can see something they love and stick to it. I agree with Ken and I think that is what future parents should try and imbibe to be able to bring out the full potential in their children.
Some Nigerian parents don’t care about things like this because to them, “it is a waste of time”. They are more interested in forcing their children to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants and so on. But, how about the children? How about what they really want? How about the children that love to paint (painters) or the ones that love to narrate stories (newscasters) or the ones that love airplanes (pilots)? The truth is, it is about doing what we love to do. That is where the really happiness comes from… hen we are getting paid for doing something that we love and enjoy doing.
I had a job at the Sheraton – playing for two hours, for two days. I had a free meal, a room to stay in and my Arik fare from Yola to Abuja taken care of. It was the best time of my life until my father heard that I was leaving school on the weekends to play the piano. He didn’t find it funny at all. My point is that parents should take time out to find out what their children love and help them develop it. It will make Nigeria a better place and it will help their children help the future.