There is an issue that most Nigerian parents shy away from discussing. It puts fear into our souls and strikes at the very root of how we see ourselves as a nation.
Not arrogance, or stubbornness or simple ignorant lack of education. Actual double-digit stupidity.
What if your child is not lazy, or misbehaving? What if your child actually lacks any kind of common sense or intellectual capacity? To use an American phrase: what if your child is a dumbass?
If you suspect that your child might be a dumbass, do not panic. Firstly, you must investigate. Follow the correct scientific methodology to eliminate all other possibilities before you accept the conclusion that your child is a dumbass.
Hypothesis: my child might be 'less able' (British word for dumbass). Run a series of experiments that will either prove or disprove this hypothesis.
Experiment one: exam paper.
1) Request a test paper from your child's school, one that is suitable for his or her age group. Administer the test, and then either mark it yourself or hire a tutor to mark it for you.
2) If the test is average for the age, then your child is lazy, and must be beaten. Ensure that the child understands that it was their failure to achieve better than their colleagues at school that resulted in this beating.
3) If the test is higher than average, then your child did not apply him/herself at school. Beat the child for not doing their best at school. Show a small amount of approval for the decent test score. This way the child knows that a small amount of approval will result from good marks at school, while a great amount of beatings will result from not getting good marks.
4) If the test is below average, beat your child thoroughly. Then administer another test. If it is still below average, beat them again.
5) We recommend repeating this process at least fifteen times. If they are still below average after fifteen rounds of beatings, then you can safely conclude that your child is a dumbass.
However, this is not a total disaster. If you remember our example of the private school system and election of Bush Junior, then you should know that being a dumbass will not necessarily be a bar to your child's success. It's just that the success will be very, very expensive to achieve.
If you cannot afford private (or public) schools, a tutor is a cheap and effective way of temporarily boosting your child's achievement. Always hire postgraduate students, as they are more desperate for the money and will inadvertently expose your child to complex ideas at no extra cost.
Experiment 2: pain avoidance.
Your child may be an academic dumbass, but that does not mean they lack intelligence. Sometimes natural intellect shows itself in ways other than the traditional ability to take tests.
The pain avoidance experiment is a good way to determine whether or not your child possesses those 'street smarts.'
1) In this experiment you will be punishing your child for an arbitrary behaviour or set of behaviours. You cannot tell your child why they are being punished. The point of the experiment is to see how long it takes them to work it out for themselves.
2) Make sure you choose a behaviour that will occur at least once every few days. For the best possible results, choose a behaviour that might occur everyday. Here are some of our examples of behaviours to punish:
a) asking for pocket money
b) asking for sweets/crisps/chocolate/non-Nigerian food
c) not cleaning their room
d) not cleaning your room
e) not doing homework
f) not having homework (they really should be asking for extra homework from school)
g) having friends that you disapprove of
h) having friends with parents that you disapprove of
i) having an opinion that is contrary to yours (you may punish them for expressing any kind of opinion)
j) not washing the dishes
k) not washing the dishes properly
l) smiling too much or laughing in the house
You may have some ideas of your own, feel free to implement them. The key to this experiment is to consistently punish the child every time that behaviour manifests.
3) If your child stops that behaviour within two days, add another behaviour to the list. Keep adding them for at least week. If your child is avoiding all those behaviours that result in punishment, then congratulations. Your child is at least as intelligent as a chimpanzee.
If, however, after two weeks your child still has not worked out which behaviours are resulting in their beating, then it will be safe to assume that your child is less intelligent than a chimpanzee; properly more on par with a mildly concussed German Shepherd (the breed of dog, not the nationality and occupation).
If your child fails experiment number 2, then you must invest in a private education. Unfortunately, with such a lack of common sense and no basic survival instincts, your child will need to also develop a complete lack of conscience and morality.
Fortunately, the combination of stupidity, low self-esteem and absolutely no moral compass would make your child a perfect fit for the following occupations: speculative banker, oil merchant, deputy head of a south Wales Secondary School, manager for a sub-prime lender, pastor of an inner city church, pastor of a suburban church, head of an English Department in a failing school, any high political office that comes with a speech-writer and image consultant.
Napoleon Bonaparte (a role model for any Nigerian) claimed: "In politics stupidity is not a handicap." He may well have been talking about your child.