A pair of Armani loafers, blue Louis Vuitton Jeans and an army green Ralph Lauren polo top to go with it. He sure looked good but something was amiss. With blood-shot eyes, slurred speech, he stood scratching various parts of his body. What could have made him turn out this way? Could it be a desire for enhanced expression? A false need of inspiration? Or more laughably, a yearning for a state of utopia? While some, due to peer pressure have imbibed a habit that threatens to wreak their lives, others have gone into it with eyes ‘wide-shut’, knowing full well what they are getting themselves into and doing so with such reckless abandon. These ones will tell you they love to get high or simply that it helps them push their sorrows away. Are they not the leaders of tomorrow?
Not too long ago, I was hanging out with a few friends; the normal chit-chatting, then we got serious on this one issue. It got me really thinking when one said, ‘I don’t do it because I like it; I am not even addicted. I do this because I just want to know and understand what it feels like. I call it LIVING LARGE!’ He proclaimed this with his arms opened wide, a smirk to go with it, advising me to try it sometime. Not to sound too cynical, I had always been quite judgmental about people I see smoke cigarettes, talk more of weed; but talking to my friend moved me from a stance of condemnation to that of pity. I saw ignorance being misconstrued for a higher knowledge. I saw destruction being perceived as pleasure. How could someone be so aware of the dangers in an act and yet make it a lifestyle? Could it be a case of inferiority complex or self- deception? Is it really worth it?
This mystical or a rather destructive companion of teenagers popularly known as weed, marijuana, ganja, etc, unfortunately grows abundantly worldwide. A product of the hemp plant called Cannabis Sativa.
Parents are often looked upon as being solely responsible for the upbringing of a child. It must also be remembered that bringing up a child does not begin in a cage and end in a cage. Other factors play important roles in sharpening an individual. It is therefore pertinent that structures are put in place to help reduce to the barest minimum, this wastage of potentials and destinies.
Certain people can be referred to as major players in determining how our teeming teenagers turn out; notable amongst these is the entertainment celebrities (musicians, actors and actresses). Their influences on the youth cannot be over-emphasised, as they often come across as role-models. In fact, the teenagers are largely the receptive individuals to whom these influential people seek popular passions and prejudices. Musicians being the strongest of the three categories. The average teenager today wants to sing or dance. Music is generally known as food to the soul and so, has the capacity to point an unsuspecting youth to the direction it so desires. Unfortunately though, many contemporary musicians, rather than help build up lives with their lyrics, end up using those same lyrics to motivate the teenager in a wrong direction. Some are so brazen with their lyrics, not minding what message is being sent out and what impact these messages are having on the teenagers that love them and their music so much. Weed has so much become an inspiration that steers the outpour of lyrics as it is also painted all over their music videos. If smoking weed is made to look like common place, should our future doctors do so before stepping into the operating theatre? Should our future lawyers ensure they smoke some weed before getting to court or should our future legislators do the same before churning out the laws of the nation? Or even our teachers and lecturers get some of the weed action before teaching our leaders of tomorrow? What a tragedy it would be.
Parents shouldn’t be held solely responsible for how our youth should turn out. We all are responsible because our future and those of our children depend on us, ultimately well being our countries and the world at large.
We need to embark on a campaign against reckless living, so much so that even the so called role-models (entertainers), would no longer be at ease in misleading our youth, while at the same time, using the few positive minded ones as ambassadors of good living and fulfilled futures.
It is indeed a pathetic case. Let us therefore come together, making the youths our focal point, in making Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world, a better place.
This article was written by Enitan Okediji. A graduate of Mass Communication from Covenant University. She is a currently a freelance writer and lives in Abuja.
Image courtesy ekoakete.com