Personally growing up as a Ghanaian, I was always told to respect my ‘Elders’- no matter what. I guess that is the Ghanaian motto within our culture that some of us are weaned to abide. But when is respect for ‘Elders’ enough?
In the past, many at times, I would question my parents as to why I should respect an ‘Elder’ if I were offended or disagreed with what I am being told to do when I knew it was wrong. For once I had my parents tongue tied and unable to answer my questions. My militant behavior also attracted my siblings; annoying our parents.
Today I still remain verbal with this issue. Comically, my parents would ask me in our local dialect- Twi- “Why do you talk so much?” and “Why don’t you just listen to what we tell you?”. Even funnier my parents would say “You watch too much T.V., we respected our elders!”. But could it be my parents venerated my strength in regards to vocalization that they could never achieve growing up?
Though my inquisitiveness may be funny in relation to this issue; what about those innocent children growing up believing this in regards to their welfare?
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How many stories do we read about our youth being abused mentally, s*xually, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually? An outsider looking in would say “Why can’t these kids say something or tell somebody?” or better yet “Why didn’t they tell their parents?”.
I know this issue does not just affect African’s but other nationalities as well in correlation with traditions and beliefs. However let us start at home first.
Let us African’s self-reflect. In the name of respect, how many of us did things we were told to do by our ‘Elders’ and ended up maltreated?
How many of us are undergoing counseling sessions because of past events? Sadly, how many of us are playing advocates for young loved ones who are terrified of vocalizing their thoughts because they do not want to be deemed disrespectful and or punished?
Don’t get me wrong I am proud to be a Ghanaian. However, when will the Ghanaian community set aside this aspect of our culture for the security of our young ones?……Any thoughts?