Children and Legacy Management


Eddy odivwri

Ever since I read a Facebook post by my Oga and very senior colleague , Mr Sunmi Smart Cole, my views and values for material issues of life have been radically changed, perhaps for life.

The said post is about a man who was apparently in public service and whose prevalent ambition in life was to build himself a big mansion. He didn’t readily have the money, but he still wanted the big mansion. He then took a huge loan from the bank. The story says that he spent the longest part of his active life servicing that loan. And as a result he ignored many other issues of life, including even taking enough good care of himself, pursuing solely, the mansion project. When he eventually retired, he was, understandably, weak and wearied, having been “stretched to his limits”. But he had his mansion. Few years after, he died.

He had two children and his wife surviving him.

Not long after the man’s death, the two children and their mother reasoned that the same mansion their father literally lived for, is damn too big and old fashioned, describing the sheer mass of the house as “waste of space”.

They resolved to sell the house. They did. And used the proceed to buy a much smaller house and some cars for themselves. And that was the very end of the legacy of the man. The mansion he toiled and lived for all his life was gone, shortly after his death. The children literally moved on. It doesn’t matter, as they say, if the man was turning in his grave. Nobody has ever witnessed such turning anyway. The dead is dead. And gone. And helpless.

The Facebook post went on to admonish people to take care of themselves while they are yet alive. That was a simple but great counsel.

Too often, parents are over burdened by the quest for such a great and wonderful life for their children, so much that they deny themselves too many things, even the basics and simple pleasuresof life, just so the children will have a splendid tomorrow. We literally want to live their lives for them, rather than equip them enough to live their own lives. If we built them all the houses they want, bought them all the cars they possibly could buy and saved all the huge monies in the bank accounts for them, hey, what else would they spend all their lives doing?

Except in few cases, some of these children do not share the same values with their parents. Their views, focus and concerns are verily different. Sometimes, they merely tolerate the opinion and nuances of their parents, just while they are yet alive. And soon after their passage, they break out in the very opposite direction of their parents. Some are even so prodigal-like that they vagrantly distort or scatter all that their parents laboured to put in place. And in some of such cases, the children have, soon after their father’s passage, come to shameful ruin.

I am not certain, but it is possibly the fear of what will happen to his famous Law Chambers that thelate Gani Fawehinmi ordered that the chamber be shut down and dismantled after his death.

I know of the son of a first generation politician who was quite famous and influential in his time. He died and left for his many children a very big house in a choice part of Victoria Island, Lagos. A few times I had visited the son (who is a friend) in the house, I notice how they really struggle to sustain and maintain the house. Sometimes, even replacing burnt electric bulbs is an issue. It is pretty consoling that this late politician’s house is yet standing.

I once read the counsel of an old man who advised that as soon as a man is 60, he should avoid going in to new investments. That may be very true and wise. Too often, men are engrossed so much in expanding their material threshold so much that they spend all their active lives chasing wealth and material acquisitions to the detriment of their health.

When the graph of their lives start plotting down, they in turn spend all the money they had gathered to chase and service their health. And in many cases, they hardly won. They become vulnerable and nearly helpless so much that the vital decisions of how they are managed is now taken by others.

They practically work till a few steps to their graves. No time to sit back and savour all they have labored for. They’d be lucky if they have loving and caring children.

The Facebook post adds a counsel: “Slow down, take a walk and pamper yourself a bit. There is a kind of joy and fulfillment that comes with eating from the fruit of your labour”.

Life is short. Perhaps even shorter in a country where too many things are in hurried competition to send you out. So, do yourself some good. Indulge yourself when you can. Live good and pleasant life. Wear good clothes. Yes, good clothes.Wear some cologne, if you may. Spoil yourself a little, when you can, not on credit. Be true to yourself, all the time.