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Opinions of Sunday, 1 August 2004

Columnist: Albion, Kojo

A Generation Grew Up

A father?s heart is breaking because his son, Dr Kwesi Diaspora, who was brought to the United States at the age eight and now grown and a professional does not see the need to remit his mother back in Ghana or visit his dad.

What obligation does he have to care about the well-being of his mother and her children in ?distant Ghana?? Does Dr. Kwesi Diaspora even care about what is going on in Ghana? Is he aware of where Ghana is and what he can do to make a difference? Does Dr. Kwesi even speak his father?s ?mother?s tongue (Twi)?? What does visiting his dad has to do with his desire to climb the corporate ladder?

In the book of Judges 2:10 we read: ?When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.?
How things change and they still remain the same! In the 70?s when many of us left the homeland to seek greener pastures, little did we think about having children in the Diaspora. We were so busy assimilating that even when we had children we did not want to give them Ghanaian names nor teach them our languages.
We wanted our children to be like their classmates and neighbors that we neglected to teach them ?the old ways.? Not only did we neglect to teach them the fear of the Lord, the history, the language and the customs but we forgot to explain why we did certain things. We did not explain why we remitted home even though we could barely make ends meet.
In those ancient days when we made about $650 a month, we made sure that we sent about $50 home to help the old man and mom to keep food on the table for the brothers and sisters. We shipped boxes of clothes home regularly to keep the family clothed. Through it all, we managed to keep the family going at home even though we could barely pay our bills here in addition to going to school on top of them all.
Well, the family back home is all grown now. Even for some of us, mom or dad is gone to a place of no return. We visit their graves when we visit home these days. Retirement is a few years away and we wonder what will happen to us. Do we go back home from whence we came from or do we stay in the Diaspora? Will our children do for us what we did for our parents? Ei! What will happen to us if we go to back to Ghana? For some, there may not be any retirement income? What if your health fails you and you need money to come back to the US for medical care? Will your children stand by you and give you the help that you may need? What about the prospect of going to a Nursing Home in the Diaspora?
In those days, the children of Israel were warned by Moses in Deuteronomy 6 to hold fast to the love, knowledge and service of the One True God and in verse 7, ?You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk to them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.?
Did we do like what the children of Israel we were commanded to do? The answer is a resounding; ?No,? because we were too busy assimilating. We thought that by osmosis the children will learn the old ways and especially the adage that ?we take care of each other.? A child has a moral obligation in our culture to take care for his/her ?family.? No one lives unto him/herself. We care for one another as ?a communal society.? Individualism is alien in our culture but in the Diaspora, do I say more? We learn from the dominant culture some values that are incongruent with our own African mores. For the African, he/she is his/her brother?s/sister?s keeper.
?The need to pass on some, if not all the great values we share as Africans are as urgent as ever because we should all be preparing for the emancipation of the Land. All sons and daughters of the land are needed for this great day, so we as parents should follow the biblical admonition to teach our children in order to help them develop a connection to the Land.
There is an added blessing in following this admonition, better relationships are developed at home - kids relates better to parents because of the quality time that is spent together!? (Emmanuel Aborampah)
This article is a call to all those of the second generation to find it in their hearts the love and a return to the old ways which kept our society unique. We have a very rich heritage even though it was not perfect; it kept the beauty of the extended families intact. For a person to know that he/she is an )dehye (noble, precious) to a group of people (ebusua) is worth preserving. If you have decided to live unto yourself, please know that this is not of God and that in end you will reap a very serious consequence.
Do make it your goal from this day to reach out to others, especially those in your extended family (ebusua). Learn the old ways and recapture a rich heritage that your parents failed to pass on to you. Ask mom or dad what is that she/he expects (within reason) and do it without complaining. The Lord loves a cheerful giver.
Set aside time and money to research your roots. Visit Ghana as often as you can and be determined to make a difference. You will have a fuller life if you capture a part of you that you are missing and which you don?t even know that you are missing.
After being in the US for over 30 years, Egya Kobina has decided to go back to Ghana to stay even though he does not want to. He knows that when he goes back, he will have ?family? (ebusuafo) to be around. In the Diaspora, hmmmm! He can not stand being all alone in his house.
A story is told of a little boy about four or five years old who decided to spend his summer vacation with grandma. He could not wait for school to end. When the time came, mom and dad drove Kojo to grandma?s house. After only about three days at grandma?s house, grandma noticed that Kojo was homesick and bored.
Grandma: ?Kojo are you home sick?? Kojo: ?No,? grandma. I am sick of here. I want to go home.?
Well, Egya Kobina is definitely sick of Abrokyir (Overseas) and he wants to go home. His son in the Diaspora is in a different State and he says that he can not afford the time to visit dad. He also has too many obligations to be disturbed with dad?s issues.
A father?s heart is breaking because a generation ?arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.?


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