Open Letter to Nigerian Parents: It’s Okay to Fail

October 16, 2022

Dear Nigerian Parents,

I want to tell you an unfamiliar story. One that may seem foreign to the rhetoric you’ve pushed onto us for ages. It’s a story of imperfection, the never-ending struggle we were raised into, the constant reminder that we need to break free from the belief that it’s our duty to rise above it all and “succeed”. We even coined a name for this process, “hustle”. We adore it, worship it, and it defines every day of our lives. And if we don’t play this game and pass, we’ve failed. 

Well, here’s a radical idea. Maybe it’s okay to fail. Because you’ve failed too. 

You failed to see the flaw in making us live this way in the first place. In making us believe our worth was only in the things we were able to achieve, that our grades are all that matter, and that our value is conditional. We don’t hate you, but it’s not fair. Especially when you must have failed at some point in your life too. But you’re here.

That carryover is not what’s going to end my life. Getting a C instead of an A is not the end of the world. I need you to see that I try. I hope you know not everyone can get an A. The fact that I failed once in school doesn’t mean I always will. It also doesn’t mean I’ll fail at life. But above all, I hope you know that even if I do, I’ll try again. Because it’s okay to fail.

And I’m not alone in this, The educational system itself has failed me. Locking me out of an education for eight months. The country itself has failed, putting its citizens into worse living conditions year after year. We’ve all failed in some way. But we’re still here. The mere truth of that means we have the chance to make it better, as long as we keep trying.

In all, I hope you don’t fail to get the message of this story, that it’s okay to fail.  As long as I don’t stay on the ground.

I’ll keep trying my hardest.

💌, 

Nigerian Students

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