When I look at children growing up today, I sigh long and hard because they will never truly have a childhood. At least not one like I did.
Childhood is so much more than being stuck at home, watching television all day long, and/or playing several games on your mother’s tablet PC.
Childhood was acting plays with friends where there was a daddy, mummy, and children. Where eba was made with sand, and soup was made by grinding some leaves from your mother’s garden until it was a slimy paste.
Childhood was playing outdoor games that were timeless and mentally stimulating like ten-ten, boju boju, racing with discarded car tyres, and the various methods of playing with bottle caps.
Childhood was the excitement of showing up to school with a newly pressed uniform, shiny rubber sandals, and crisp new textbooks neatly stacked in a brand new school bag. If you were lucky, the school bag was the popular Shuttle brand which came in black, blue and green and that was the order of its coolness. If you had the black, you were cooler than all others but your ranking in the kingdom of coolness was also dependent on how many zips your bag had. 10 was okay, 12 was impressive but 14 and you were king.
Childhood was drawing lines between you and your seating partner until you discovered the opposite sex were not so revolting.
Childhood was experiencing Okin biscuit and the never ending plight to convince your parents that the shortcake version was tastier and more superior to its round counterpart.
Childhood was belting out classic morning assembly songs without a care in the world. Songs like “awa soja kekere”, ”HIP for the hip for the hippopo”, “the day is bright, is bright and fresh”.
Childhood was praying that the teacher only called on you to recite the 2, 5, 10 or 11 times (multiplication) table. Some smart kids knew 3 and the brainiacs knew 4. The rest were rocket science, and the kids that knew them were treated like the aliens they were.
Childhood was rushing to get seated in front of the multicoloured vertical lines before the television programming began.
Childhood was shows like Tales by Moonlight with a new lesson to learn everyday, Reach Out that made you consider a career in broadcasting, Fraggle Rock that taught you the value of friendships and why travelling uncles were cool, Muppet Babies that showed teamwork as well as the dangers of possessive lovers, SuperTed that promoted accepting people as they are, Terra Hawks that made you want to be part of a world-saving team (I wanted to marry Tiger and have Kate Kestrels selection of wigs and not to mention, the car that changed colours but I digress), Voltron that taught you the value of teamwork, Dr. Who that boggled your imagination with his time travelling adventures, Some Mothers Do Have Them that showed you that even the most unlikely of men can end up with the pretty girl, Rent-A-Ghost that made you wish for the ability to “pop up” wherever you wanted, and many more.
Childhood was a time when having Sisqo’s “Unleash the Dragon” CD made you the coolest kid on the block and watching Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon” gave you black belt-level Karate skills for a week!
Childhood was unisex Calvin Klein jeans and Karl Kani baggy shirts, and before rosaries became a fashion statement.
Childhood was respecting your parents enough to keep your bad behaviour outside of the house or at the very least, when they were out of town.
Childhood was when going to meet a boy was a crime, holding hands or hugging him was a scandal and kissing meant you were downright “spoilt”.
Childhood was…so much more than it is now.