Recently, I had an interesting conversation with my primary school friend. He asked what I have been up to and I explained about my career journey and what is sustaining me in the city. He, on the other hand, explained that: “Brother wanga wamkulu ali ku UK, nde amatisamala [My brother lives and works in the UK so he takes care of me and my family].” I asked if the brother had a family and he said he was married with four girls. I asked how the brother managed to take care of his own family and his (my friend). “Tinabadwa mimba imodzi. Ndidzivutika mbale wanga ali ndi ndalama? [We came out of the same womb. Why should I suffer when my brother is doing well financially?”] When I asked him if he had plans to earn a living on his own, it was clear he didn’t and was happy sponging off his elder brother.
Now, I have a problem with this spirit of entitlement with our siblings’ success and money. Yes, nature dictates that when one is down, the other must help. But for a grown man/woman to be comfortable siring children with no plans and depend on a successful sibling is unfair. In most cases, such relations hate and mistreat the spouse of their sibling. They feel she is in the way of the help. The truth is; a sibling owes us nothing. If you grew up in the same household, given same opportunities, but failed to capitalise on them, do not become a burden to a sibling. Learn to accept your situation and become independent at your level.
When helped, it should be from the goodness of people’s hearts, not because of pressure. This type of behaviour actually robs the ‘successful’ sibling of peace in their family and marriage. With time, these entitled siblings even want to send their children to their ‘rich’ relations. The best place to raise a child is with their biological parents. When you have to send them away, it should be under necessary circumstances and not just laziness to raise your own children. This is a topic for another day.
It is becoming a norm for the ‘entitled’ ones to demand rentals, school fees and money for food. Some even brag: “I cannot suffer. My brother is in the UK; my sister is a chief executive officer (CEO) at such such a company.” Sadly, these spoiled siblings do not show any interest in starting a business or looking for a job.
I don’t entirely fault the spoiled sibling. I think partly the successful siblings plant and water this behaviour. It is ok to say no. It is ok to tell them off. They may get upset at first, but eventually they will learn to stand on their own. In the ghetto where I come from, everyone hustles to survive. There is no room for sponging off a sibling. Never!