The attitudes of hardwork, creativity, and resourcefulness (just like other attitudes or habits) are not acquired at adulthood rather from childhood. Back then in secondary school or even in the university, In a class of 30, only one or two students could be seen selling pens, exercise books, clothes, shoes, etc to their classmates or friends in order to eke out a living or earn add additional income.
On the other hand, it is commonplace to see a 30-years old adult who is still asking for money for clothes, shoes, recharge cards, haircut, and food from his family or friends when he should have been independent already.
While growing up in my village and throughout my years in primary school, my father or mother did not give me a single Kobo for pocket money. There was no lunch pack - heck, nobody did lunch packs back then in my school. But you could go to school with biscuits to be eaten during breaktime. (I miss those crunchy and tasty Cabin Biscuits.
Those sold nowadays cannot come close to those of wayback. 😂😂😂) Lunch was taken when we return home around 2PM. Other kids used to come to school with money to buy colored and sweetened ice wrapped in sachets (How many of you know what that was?). Well, whether their monies were legit or not is not my concern now, but - mehn - those kids? 😃😃😃
From the age of 7, I started to have need for "my own money." My parents would not give us money so that it would not spoil us. We were meant to be good children and be content with the three square meals they provided us every day. However, the need for having some pocket money was becoming stronger every day. So, I did want my peers who were not too privileged were doing: I decided to make my own money.
However, one needs some capital (financial and/or intellectual) to begin any business. I couldn't ask my parents for money to do a business. Why would they give me? When I'm still 7, they are alive, and I'm not hungry? 😂😂😂 We are a farming family - everyone in the village is actually.
We plant all types of root crops from cassava to yam to sweet yam to cocoyam, etc. We also planted okro, maize, fluted pumpkin (ugu or nkong efere), banana, plantain, etc. I spoke to my mum that I wanted to plant my own fluted pumpkins.
So she gave me some seeds. I planted them in the garden in our backyard. Months later, the fluted pumpkins yielded pods (see attached pictures for examples of the pods). My dad was impressed and decided to buy the pods from me. I can't remember the exact amount but that's how I made my first money ever. My brother, Idara, did the same investment.
With that profit, I decided to go into poultry farming. I bought about 3 chicks and they all survived to maturity. Again, my dad bought them from us (Idara and I used to do similar investments growing up 😁😁).
The chickens were either killed at home (and we partook in them too) or gifted out to kindreds during new-year celebrations. That was how we made money in primary school until we moved into the boarding house for secondary education and all business ventures were terminated and, of course, that elusive pocket money started raining from nowhere. 😂😂😂
I am grateful to my parents who made us think out of the box even as children and were our very first customers. While training our kids, it would be important to instill in them the values of hardwork, creativity, and resourcefulness. Even when we have everything they need in life, a little challenge can spark up their creativity and help them acquire skills and attitudes which would be crucial for them as adults.
to eke out a living.
Written By Ndianabasi Udonkang