Part of a good retirement package is a well-grounded offspring. In planning for a very peaceful retirement life, one has to make sure that the children or any dependants that they have in their households are raised to carry on the tradition. Once they are grown into adults, one’s offspring become a solid backup system that will hold you up and make sure you are not destitute. Generally, no well-trained child will let their parents rot in the street; it is just African or Zambian to take care of our parents. My mother was a police officer, and she really made sure that discipline was instilled in us. She made sure that we had an education and were up to date with the material we needed. Life-wise, she instilled so much discipline in me and my siblings that by the time she was retiring, three out of her five children were independent. This meant that some of the roles she played were taken over by us as her children. I wish you could see her excitement to hand over the uniform on her last day. To be honest, the old lady planned it well; she not only invested in real estate, from which we continue to benefit, but she also invested in us as her children, and the legacy is well established.
The monthly pension is typically intended to help with simple regular expenses rather than large liabilities such as hospital bills or broken-down farm equipment. Meanwhile, investments come with various dynamics and may sometimes not yield as expected. By the time you retire, your energy levels will be lower than when you were younger, and the systems will have changed dramatically. Therefore, if you encounter challenges that seem to be complicated or a barrier, it is easy to activate the backup plan I call “Mwana wanga alananganepo.” Well-groomed children make a proper backup plan that will never gossip behind your back.
It is every parent’s dream to give their children the best life in this world. However, in trying to do so, never press the “rotten” button because this will be detrimental over time. Create offspring who will not only be able to fill your shoes but will also be able to improve the foundations you have laid. It is sad how neighborhoods, for example, in Lusaka are dying out as “rich kids” (RKs) are busy selling, causing them to be unable to maintain legacies. As you invest in property or company shares, never forget to make time to invest heavily in your children.
The continuity of life will demand that when you are old and weary, there is someone to carry on the torch. Pass on the button and let your children take over certain things. Learn from the church; every stage has representatives, and that’s how the gospel continues. Why are you, as the father, still locking the gate with an 11-year-old playing video games? Why are you, as a mother, setting the table while the young ladies are idling and busy smoking shisha in nightclubs? There is nothing demonic about wearing a chitenge, kneeling, or adding “ba” to the name of an elder. That has been our tradition and culture. Start training your children early on how to run family businesses and how to take care of family; when you are old, they will be a pillar to lean on and a refuge to run to in times of trouble.
The retirement lifestyle will require that comfort be supported by well-groomed and disciplined offspring. The consequences of spoiling children are heavily felt in retirement. Spoiled brats have no remorse and are bottomless pits, constantly consuming but producing nothing. Be warned that 40-year-old dependents eat like cows, drink like tanks, roam like nomads, mint like leaches, and survive like pests. They become increasingly manipulative over time, making calculated moves that will make you feel guilty if you do not give them what they want. Those who invested well in their children will find retirement easy and comfortable.
Driving your kids to school is not a bad idea. One can even assign a driver to do the task. Having children who can articulate themselves in English or any other foreign language is awesome, but an African who is not tough-tested has lost the authenticity of being African, will never have thick, resistant African stamina, and will never survive the African streets. Make your offspring tough enough to take care of you when you need their assistance. Some deliberate moves, like getting them into government schools or making them clean the yard, are some of the activities you may line up as you prepare them as backup.
The author is a retired officer of the Zambia Airforce and an Advocate. He can be reached via email: [email protected] or Whatsapp: +260 97 9165574