Friday, August 21, 2009

Is This Ghana's Generation X?

I am writing this from AnC Shopping Mall in East Legon not because I am going to be stuck here indefinitely, but I thought it w as a while doing mobile blogging, so here it is--from no better place than this mall, where there is always plenty to observe and write about.

I could not help but notice some kids with their parents this afternoon, and was reminded very sharply that the kids are on break, so they would be around their parents at some point. What got me thinking at all about them was a mother who was shopping for croissants and pastry with her tw boys.

The younger boy was doing a lot of pointing and prodding, while the elder brother felt it necessary to relate a story about a flying croissant to his mum. Kids these days. Anything to get their mum"s attention right? She promptly ordered one or so, and the brother went off casually looking around for things tp buy. Meanwhile, all this had taken place in English, and the kid's intonation was quasi-flawless.

For just a nano-second, I imagined me a father going shopping with my progeny and being mindful to exact the degree of discipline I experienced when shopping with my mum and older brother when I was younger. The discipline was that you self-regulated at the time--long before you understood what any "self-" meant, which meant that you allowed your mum buy what she thoought and knew was good for you.

That made sense, and I guess it still makes sense,because in this digitally-exuberant society, I can foresee parents being significantly challenged by the intrusiveness of meretricious ads that seek to suggest that sugar or hedonism (as expressed in some ads) is king.

To read a few weeks back that no less than a baby tried to imitate Raffy Samuels in the Tigo ad by falling down from a table--like he falls down a tree-- reflects not just how easily kids are lured by the influences of the visual, but also how quickly they learn!

So when I see middle class Ghana with its English-speaking kids eating in eateries and restaurants, I am encouraged by this kind of exposure, but I am praying so fervently that these up-and-coming leaders learn to appreciate that the foundations of quality life in a developing country like Ghana is recognizing that Western lifestyles are good insofaras they seek to complement the traditional customs that have made Ghana a putative model in Africa.

Malls are great, but a sense of responsibility for how they can enhance our lives to make us responsible for the future is, in my view, even better for Accra's Generation X

These words brought to you by Ogo.

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