Standing on my balcony today, I watched kids rush from all directions towards all directions in a totally random manner that put in paper would create a huge confused blotting that is not fit to be called a doddle. The colors of their uniforms were too distinct: from cheerfully pretty to outright stupid to blatantly ugly. Going to school was a hefty activity that included walking, boarding school buses to being driven by parents. To some children, mostly the very young, it included riding piggy back on their mothers and crying endlessly without a specific reason as to why they were crying.

Coming from school was entirely a different story. Children walked hand in hand with their best friends playing tricks on each other and harassing the weaker ones in their groups. The young ones were rushing home happy to have a day end. They all seemed happy with the younger ones eager to get home and the older ones reluctant to leave their friends behind…

In all this, I could not help but see the modern child: a child reared in the urban setting. They know so much about technology and can run all the machines in the house. They can get you any information you want from the internet and can operate the slickest hand device in the market without so much as a struggle. These are children who can live indoors for a week and not get bored for a moment: they move from screen to screen: TV, phones and computers. They can easily win a gold medal in screen games such as PS, need for speed and gameloft but cannot run for a distance of 20 miters incase of emergency. They are not lazy just that they are not familiar with activities that include physical activities and the best they can do is walk…

This are kids who will run for an online dictionary to look up words such as “Tapo”, Prikicho”, “Bano”, “Skippy”, blundaa”, “rounder”, and “bantury” and failure to find them there, dismiss them as nonexistent. This are kids who will never know the joy of  creativity like we did from creating “ngurutuki” (cutting a water jerricane by half, sitting on it and sliding down a hill side), “parado” (a model car made of wires stolen from people’s fences), “mamika’ (a doll made  from papers and discarded clothing) and molding anything that mud could create such as model houses, pots, bricks…..everything to naked men and women complete with their private parts. These are kids who will never experience the guilt of killing wild animals during very coveted hunting episodes or stealing sugar and flour from momma’s cupboard to make “éclairs” and “pancakes” using Cowboy (a kind of cooking fat that was sold in metal tins) tins. They are kids who will never know the pain in a punishment that involved having to cook while the rest of the village kids went to the river for an afternoon of “Duff Mpararo” (swimming in the river completely naked) or harness the ability to do a mathematics assignment of 50 sums in two minutes so that you can be the first one to reach the play ground as a leeway to becoming “Gachangio” (someone who plays for both teams in a game of bean-balls)…

They will never learn the art of innovation as perfectly as we did, they will never understand how we lied through most of our school life to skive classes and still managed to remain part of the top most students in our schools, they will never understand how we started strikes everywhere we went and always managed to get away with it, they will never understand the liberty of learning to find your way through life without your parents or google…  just like I will never understand anything when mum talks of such things as “tricky-tako”, “Ndumo” and “gitingereti”…

I don’t blame them though…that is how they have been brought up. We had all the facilities to do what the children of our generation did; they are restricted in terms of resources such as playgrounds and security. Then, a kid was the property of the society, today your kid is your kid. So all they have is the space in which they call home, a house sometimes too small to facilitate any noteworthy movement thus they use what they have and play in the field that is too large to exhaust: TECHNOLOGY. I pity them, but then, change is inevitable. We are now living in a world of real estate with all its effects of construction, overpopulation and scramble for space hence our kids have adapted to this and it has become their lifestyle. With it come side effects such as obesity and crimes: with young kids knowing a little too much than they should due to easy accessibility of information.

All in all, being a parent is not easy but the hardest part of it is trying to know what is right and favorable for a kid who knows a bit too much than you know at an age so tender than is logical! Mmmmmh!! but that is the world we live in, right?


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