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Dear Jack,

You can’t be married and be so selfish, so self-centered and so irresponsible. You’re just going to destroy lives, and if care is not taken create bitter children. Marriage is not about me, me, me. It’s about her, it’s about us, it’s about them. (By them I mean the children).

As a father you are responsible for the lot you brought into the world. And you’re going to be so responsible for at least the next 25 years per child life. When you add the gaps between the children you’re looking at about 32 continuous years in total. You’re going to be responsible for feeding. Children don’t understand “I’m broke!” You’re going to be responsible for upkeep, and clothing and schooling. School fees tend to grow directly proportional to increase in age, sometimes attaining geometric proportion by university.

It’s why you must think twice before plunking children into this world. You ought to think of school fees and upkeep. When you don’t, you mount undue and terrible pressure on your wife; and there’s a breaking point. Tales of young men remanding the other school-age children at home so one can at least go to school has to be disturbing. Don’t father what you can’t provide for. Marriage is responsibility.

I met an old man the other day. His children had nothing but praise for him. He was most responsible. As a civil servant in those days he allocated money to even minutia like his children’s haircut. He would wrap the monies in pieces of paper in his wardrobe drawer. He only spent what was left after all the assignment. Not once did the electricity authority switch off the mains, or the landlord harass them before he built his house. He paid his rent as at when due, planned his expenditure according to his income. He never overreached himself.

You on the other hand are overreaching. You’re living above your means. That’s not faith. It’s lack of wisdom. The trauma you’ve visited on your family is unimaginable. You paid the last rent by borrowed means. But not before you were thrown out of the last house. By the time the next rent is due you’d have to borrow again. You’re literally mortgaging your future, consuming today. You have big dreams, plan the good life, but you don’t want to apply yourself to work. No success comes without hardwork, however smart you work. If you want to live big time you work big time!

You have all these highfalutin ideas, but all at the expense of your wife. She’ll have to finance your responsibilities. You’re hardly out of one predicament before you start manufacturing another endeavor with creative fervour. And because you’ve found a pliant wife you’ve perfected the art of irresponsibility. You’re a delegator and delineator. It’s like you don’t have a grasp of reality! You’ve got to wake up! You now have three kids.

And you’re always thinking of yourself only. Your wife’s salary is always under pressure. Yours is chiefly spent on self. Your wife is carrying more than a fair share of marriage responsibilities. You’re going to destroy your wife’s mental and emotional health. You’re pushing her to the edge. The signs are there. Now you have another aureate idea on emigration. When are you really ever going to settle down?! And for how long are you going to keep subjecting your family to these florid fancies?

Of course your emigration plans is very much lacking in details. Which means you’re not making ANY plans for housing or feeding your family. And no thought about schools either. God forbid anything happen to your wife. You’re just going to parcel your kids out and take off! You shouldn’t have married if you’re averse to responsibility. Marriage is responsibility with capital “R”. And you shouldn’t have bred kids if you can’t produce bread. Bread and brood go together. You’ve got to sit down and re-examine your life.

And I blame your upbringing. Your mum pampered you, your dad never taught you responsibility. You’re used to not expecting to be responsible. You’re used to selfish expectations of others, and exploitation of proximity and relationships. You expect others to fill in for your abdications. All you have to do is ignore your responsibility. You really don’t care if there’s no food at home. Not even for your kids. You’ve turned them into a contributory scheme. Your in-laws are chipping in because they don’t want their sister’s kids to suffer. And you’re not ashamed!

People are asking questions – uncomfortable questions like, Does he really love his wife? The class of selfishness I’m witnessing is unprecedented. Can’t you give due consideration to your wife for once? You’ve perfected planning on the means of others, subjecting your wife to shame of borrowing. As uncomfortable as the idea of family is to you, I’m afraid you’re stuck with yours. You can’t wish children away. And I’m worried about the price your wife is still going to pay on this marriage. She’s paying in health installments. It is now generally believed she made a mistake marrying you, and her father is most unhappy.

Why don’t you drop these get-rich-without-much-effort schemes and just apply yourself and focus! The gangster rappers who sing all these easy money schemes work their butts off! That should tell you something. I remember a young man telling me he’s decided to start closing from work at 3pm, like a particular millionaire. What he didn’t know is that the millionaire closes from work early to beat traffic, then continues work from home. If making money were that easy everyone will be a millionaire; no one will hustle. Even Dangote is still hustling!

At the end of the day what you make of your life is up to you. The masquerade has taught his son how to dance. Blame for any dancing missteps must be aggressively laid on the kid. Please take responsibility for your family. That’s what it takes to be a man.

Yours faithfully, LA

© Leke Alder |


Tags : Responsibility, Marriage, Children

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