Ask Ocheibi Jnr, as teenagers (13 – 20 years) we became friends with and became close to many older folks – but at the same time, we knew that there are boundaries and knew that there are etiquettes that guides our friendship with them. For us, being friends with and being close to men and women older than we were was a privilege and an opportunity to learn new things. And clearly, we learnt lotsa stuffs and till today, we thank God.

Today, and as adults (35 – 40 years), we still have friends who are older than we are and as with the past, we are still learning from them. Even as with the past, we still respect boundaries and still know that there are unbreakable etiquettes that guides our priviliged friendship with and closeness to these older individuals and senior citizens. And no, you’d never catch us, even while drinking and laughing loudly together with them, say stuffs like “see your mouth”, “keep quiet joor”, “wetin you sabi?” or “You too talk jare”. No way, we cannot abuse our privilege familiarity with them.

But today’s teenagers and young adults (15 – 25 year olds) are won’t to always cross (friendship) boundaries not minding whose ox is gored. Hell, they do not even know that there are boundaries in their friendships with and closeness to people who are older than they are. For many of them, “every body na mate” and at the slightest provocation, they’ll “treat your fuckups”. Today, the average 18 – 25 year old would see older folks on the streets, school compound, bus, church, mosques, etc and just walk past without greeting. For them, “greeting no be by force”. This was not how we were raised – and I’d like to think we were raised the right way in those days of yore without the powerful influences of movies, soap operas, the internet and social media.

This should not be – and it behooves on some of us to teach younger folks that respecting people who are older than they are; whether they know them or not, whether they are friends with or close to them or not, is a duty and not at their whims and caprices. The growing culture of quickly disrespecting older folks is a very bad phenomenon and for some of us, it speaks volumes of how a person was raised. No matter your achievements and the (enviable) heights you assume you have attained as a young person, respecting those older than you is golden and attracts blessings from men and from God. Why so? You may come crashing down tomorrow – and you’d be needing the help of some of those older folks you have wrongly or rightly disrespected. Life is a roller coaster, no?

Yes, one can rightly disrespect a person because i know that some older folks are unbearable, puerile and annoying and deserving of insults and ridicule. These are those individuals whose words and actions often do not deserve respect (because respect is best earned) from those younger than they are. But eh, let us respect them anyway and if we cannot, I’d assume we can quietly avoid them by staying away from them. In the end, not disrespecting them, even if they have it coming, would be for our own good. This isn’t rocket sense – and like Ben Murray Bruce, “I just wanna make commonsense”. Stay woke, friends.

© Chad Otsapa

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