Tag Archives: parenthood

The place of a family in the modern society

family

Relationships, what has become of them nowadays? Once upon a time, people would meet new acquaintances and they would agree to go out for coffee or lunch and gradually some new romance would brew. It was a step by step process that would eventually lead to the creation of a new family.  Nowadays the picture is very different though. People don’t put so much emphasis on dating, mostly the preliminaries are skipped and the two go straight to engaging in coitus.

When most old people are asked to give their two cents worth on the matter, they say young people have become very promiscuous. Normally I would be on the front line disputing that because I’m in that age group, but it just so happens that I’m in total agreement with the old folks.

The other day I was riding in a bus. I was seated next to a young man whom I imagined couldn’t have been older than thirty. He seemed a bit chatty and though I wasn’t in a talking mood, thanks to my introversion, I kept nodding.

To his delight, an older woman came and sat next to him. She seemed chatty too and before we knew it the two were exchanging excited banter. From what I gathered the young lad had sneaked from work in the afternoon and was headed to another place for a job interview.

Excitedly he told the lady how he had to get a job so he could take care of the children he was going to get in future.

“Are you married?” The lady asked him.

“I’m not married,” he replied freely. “And I don’t plan on it.”

“Why’s that?” The lady continued.

“Nowadays people don’t marry. A guy just gets a woman who gives birth to his children.”

“But shouldn’t those children be raised by both parents?” The woman asked, curiosity palpable in her voice.

“Not necessarily. Nowadays there are no women who are worth marrying. But since guys still want children, it’s easier to just find a woman who will agree to give us children.”

“Don’t you think the children will want to know who their father is?” The lady prodded further.

“Of course I’ll introduce myself to my children. Only I won’t be living with them. Maybe I’ll just be visiting once in a while and then I’ll be giving their mom money for their upkeep.”

As I listened in on that conversation, I couldn’t help but pity the current young generation. In my humble opinion, most guys seem to have lost the essence of what a family represents in society. Most people seem to think that it’s ok to just sire kids outside wedlock. And in some cases, most guys are siring children with more than woman while the women get children with different men.

This begs the question, do we as young people value families anymore? Or what they represent in society? A few years ago, while in high school, I learned that the family is the basic unit of society. Most values a child learns are picked up from these basic units.

In my family for instance, mom would have split from dad ages ago, were it not for the simple fact that she wanted us (my sisters and I) to grow in a complete family. Personally I don’t think that’s always important, given that if the parents are not in harmony, the whole idea of raising children in a complete family could even be to the children’s detriment instead of benefitting them.

My sisters and I for instance. We grew up in what outsiders would term a ‘complete family’, but deep down my sisters and I know the pain and suffering we’ve gone through. So, even though I advocate for families to continue being nurtured, I know they are not always advantageous to the children, or even spouses who suffer stoically at the hands of their partners, so they can raise their kids in a complete family.

So, back to that guy in the bus. From the things he told that lady, I would surmise he grew up in a complete family himself; with his mother, father and siblings. What he fears now, or seems to be afraid of is that the available women are not worth marrying, for instance, because they are too materialistic.

Personally I can’t even blame him. I know many ladies nowadays have embraced the ‘no romance without finance’ concept. However, I’m still of the opinion that we shouldn’t take for granted this small units in society. They are not worthless as many would imagine. They have their perks too.

So instead of giving up on them, we should try to find better partners. I believe that where someone presumes they won’t find a credible partner because ‘all women’ or ‘all men’ are the same, we already close our minds to the possibility of getting good life partners. We should be optimistic. There may not be too many people out there who seem to have the qualities we such for, but I believe they are there. And besides, we should also take our children’s needs into consideration. I would want to believe it’s every child’s dream to be raised by both parents.

Where life presents so many obstacles that two partners are separated, it’s ok for their kids to be raised by one parent, but if it’s our preconceived assumptions that hinder us from trying at least, then I think for our kids, we should try.

Growing up too fast

growing up too fast

The other day when I was coming from church I saw this notice on our court’s gate; that all ladies from our court were supposed to meet later in the evening. I was tired already because of waking up early and the fact that lately I barely have enough time for anything other than school work (that’s the reason I seem so scarce on this vast blogosphere). For a few seconds I wondered why they would precisely ask for ladies to meet, given that normally all meetings are attended by both men and women.

In my rush to get home however, I forgot all about the notice.Later, at dusk, I realized I needed airtime so I grabbed a hoodie and left for the shop. The instant I stepped out I saw a group of women gathered from a far and that’s when it hit me; the meeting!

Confused, I went up the few steps and back to the house to regroup. I figured it was already too late to attend the meeting and since I needed the airtime urgently, I couldn’t just pass by them without stopping by, even if only to say hi. My big sister advised me to go find out what they were discussing, so I grabbed my phone, which I hadn’t cared to carry previously and left.

While I was going down the steps, I saw them start to walk away and immediately I knew the meeting had ended. Luckily, I bumped into mom, who had just come from the meeting. Boy was I relieved! I didn’t know she was there.

I said hi to the two women I know, and went ahead to help mom with the shopping bags. When I was going back to the house I heard the women discussing one of the issues they had discussed at the meeting and since they’re older than me, I left them to it as mom caught up with them. From what I gathered, it was about a Pastor’s daughter and from the tone of their voice, she had done something appalling.

I do not know any pastor in our court (I barely know my neighbours) nor do I know his daughter, so the discussion felt somewhat ‘alien’ to me. About fifteen minutes later mom walked into the house and curiously, we told her to share with us what had been discussed at the meeting.

“It was about how young kids are behaving. Nowadays, because they can easily access the web they download very X-rated stuff and now their parents are starting to find out. Our next door neighbour’s son for instance. He has a girlfriend. The other day his dad found out and when asked about it he just told his dad they hug.”

My jaw hit the ground when I heard that. The kid is around four years old, so I wondered what he could possibly be doing with a girlfriend.

“Mom, what is sex?” The young boy had asked innocently. The woman was shocked, to say the least.

What, in my opinion, parents fail to realize is that thanks to technology, nowadays babies – the operative word being ‘babies’ – know more than we would imagine on this taboo subject. Now what I keep repeating is, we can choose to bury our heads in the sand and pretend these kids are as naïve as they come on all matters sex, or we can grab that stubborn bull by the horn and tell them the age–appropriate issues pertaining to the matter.

Failure to do that will see children gathering all the wrong information from all the wrong sources and unfortunately, as it is turning out lately, they will grow into irresponsible young adults; my neighbours, who I mentioned in a previous post, for instance. Word had it that the two siblings had been engaging in sex, with each other.

Who’s to blame for such moral decay in the society? A society, where even four year olds – babies who have barely left the cradle – are only too eager to know about sex. It’s a fact; there’s very little we could do to erase all the information found online about sex, or even barring children from getting access to it; but I believe we can determine what sticks in their mind as ‘the truth’; and this can only be achieved by parents having healthy conversations with their children from as early as possible.

The unavoidable truth is kids are growing up too fast, and evading this topic will only have them get their infantile minds corrupted by other kids/adults. I don’t know much about kids really, but I’m of the opinion parents can start off by trying to gauge how much/little their kids know about it. From there they can set the record straight, if need be…and the earlier, the better.

Too much parent involvement?

controlling parents

Every sane/loving parent out there wants the best for their kids; that of course leaves out all the perverted parents, who shamelessly molest their children and do other ungodly stuff to them. For this reason, some parents will go to the ends of the earth to ensure their children get the best in life. In the process though, some of the things this loving or controlling parents do feel a bit extreme.

Personally I feel some of the things done would be best left undone; you know, because in the end it will be in the kids’ best interests. So, I beg to ask, how much is too much?

In some previous posts I have mentioned this aunt of mine, whose mom was so protective because she didn’t want her daughter marrying into a poor family. My aunt fell in love while in college and from that love an innocent boy was born.

My aunt’s mother-my grandma-was obviously none too pleased. I’m thinking she envisaged her daughter’s bright future go up in flames, and as she couldn’t let that happen, she took the small boy in her care so my aunt could go back to school.

I wasn’t born at the time so whatever I know about the particular story, I gathered from different family members. The story, as it turns out, is an open secret, which everyone is too scared to talk about because many people stand to suffer if it was to be discussed openly, for reasons I’ll be revealing in the subsequent paragraphs.

I do not have the full details about what happened back then, but what I am sure of, is that the boy who was born thirty something years ago is now a fully grown man. Problem is, no one took the liberty to undo the mistake that was committed when he was born.

When grandma took him, his mom went back to school. So he grew up thinking our grandma was his mom. Due to our strained relationship with our grandma, my sisters and I only got to meet him when he was in his late teens. Given that he is older than us, he comfortably thinks he is dad’s youngest brother, and the woman he thinks is his sister is actually his mom.

After having his son raised by her mom, my aunt later found another guy and she gave birth to a baby girl, who is only a few months older than me. She grew up knowing she was an only child, and it’s not until a few years ago that some cousins maliciously insinuated she had a brother during a get-together.

The way I see it, my cousin now knows she has a brother, but she can’t ask anyone since no one is brave enough to tell it straight to her. Slyly, she tries to get someone to slip up and say it but when we’re around her we try to bite our tongues so we don’t get openly ostracized by the concerned parties for releasing those old skeletons from the closet.

Since I found out ‘my uncle’ and my cousin were actually siblings, I always wonder how it will end. I’m imagining grandma wanted the best for her daughter and that’s why she took her son and raised him as her own. But was that really the best thing to do? I know there are many people out there who have done the same thing and it all turned out fine for everyone. However, I can’t say the same for my aunt.

For starters, my cousin grew up alone and I always got the impression she was very unhappy. During holidays her mom would take her to some relatives’ and as much as one would be tempted to think that was a cool thing, I would totally beg to differ. Her visits felt imposed so they were never that fun. Christmas holidays were some of the worst because essentially they are a time when family members spend together, yet on most occasions she was away from her mom.

Given that her mom was a single mother, I could only think of so many reasons why a child would feel alone and neglected. I doubt my cousin ever had fun. From my perspective, she would have been happier if she had her brother with her to keep her company.

Looking at my aunt, I wouldn’t really say her mom’s idea to keep her son worked for her. She never remarried, and from how I see her, she’s far from happy. Chances are she would have been happier if she kept her son and her baby daddy, who was poor at the time but is now rich. That’s why her mom didn’t want him for her in the first place; he was poor.

If you ask me, my grandma’s attempt to help her daughter only complicated her life. She hoped to fix her life, but instead, now she has everyone walking on egg shells because no one would want to be the one spilling those beans. My cousin had a dull childhood, with her own brother regarding her as his niece. There’s really nothing good about that.

It feels like a complex soap, where deep, dark secrets are revealed towards the end of the story. In this case I’m wondering who will be brave enough to set the record straight. Who will pull down those façades? And when they come down, who will undo the pain caused?

Too poor to afford high-end love

Titanic Jack and Rose

“You can’t give my daughter the things she needs in life. You say you love her, but love alone won’t put food on the table, nor clothe her. Just leave her alone. She needs someone who can sustain her prestigious life. She’s from a rich family, and you are poor. You’re not meant for her. You two can’t be together.”

Those are such depressing words, especially if it’s about someone one truly loves. I don’t know if I will ever conform to the idea of parents deciding who their children fall in love with, based on the financial status of their partners.

I consider it discrimination, and one of the worst kinds for that matter. Love is beautiful, but the minute we start putting up such barriers, we corrupt it. I understand a parent’s desire to protect his/her children; to ensure their needs are taken care of even after they leave the nest, but causing them untold misery while trying to prevent a love that’s already deep-rooted is unfair to say the least.

I grew up in a family where dad’s mother thought her children should marry into rich families. But as it is with love, it’s hard to dictate where it grows, so dad fell in love with mom, who’s from a poor family and his mother has never accepted it to date. I attribute many of the problems mom and dad have had to his mother’s incitement. Somehow she has always been bent on splitting them up.

I know in most of my posts I complain about dad’s shortcomings; even so, I see some good in him sometimes, especially when he is not drunk. Sometimes I wonder what kind of a man he would be if he didn’t drink so much.

On a good day, when he is sober, I see so much kindness in him; he radiates lots of compassion. But that side of him disappears the instant he imbibes anything alcoholic. I pray for a day to come when he won’t crave alcohol anymore. Maybe then, if all goes well, my sisters and I will have the dad from our early childhood back; a dad who wasn’t so cold… Everyone’s allowed to dream, right?

Back to love matters though, I don’t agree with parents preventing their children from dating certain people because they are from poor backgrounds. Money comes and goes. A rich man might go bankrupt the next day while a poor man’s star shines bright and he finds himself at the helm of a multi-billion company.

I always think, if a poor teenage boy falls in love with a rich teenage girl, who’s to say in a couple of years the boy won’t be rich? No one knows what tomorrow will bring. Luck changes, and I have an aunt who would attest to this.

When she was in college she fell in love with a poor guy and they even went ahead to get a baby. Her mom, who obviously felt her daughter deserved better, was against the relationship therefore she had my aunt break up with her boyfriend. Subsequently, she took the new born baby, so my aunt could finish up with her studies.

Fast-forward to thirty something years later, my aunt is still unmarried, and the poor guy her mom didn’t want for her is now a rich man. Everytime I think about my aunt’s predicament I wonder, if she went back in time, would she have fought for her love? And her mother, my grandma, if she knew the impecunious young man she rejected would one day be rich, would she have let him marry her daughter?

The words at the beginning of the post are from a show I was watching yesterday. A teenage girl’s mother was talking to her daughter’s boyfriend, asking him to keep off her because clearly she deserved someone from a rich family. The girl’s father additionally, asked the young boy to go make money first and when he was rich he would be free to marry his princess.

In a funny twist of fate though, the young boy grew up without parents because he was switched at birth with the same girl by the man’s wife, who was furious with her husband for cheating on her. Oblivious to them, the girl the parents are trying so hard to protect from poverty isn’t their flesh and blood and the poor boy is the one who is actually their real son.

Parents do many things-some of them awful- with their children’s best interests at heart. However, sometimes it is advisable for them to step back and let the kids forge out their own paths. I have seen enough instances-in real life and in movies-where parents meddle in their children’s love life and none of them has ever had a happy ending.

The last boyfriend my big sister had was an Indian guy and seeing as we’re not Indians, mom asked dad what he thought about the relationship. He didn’t have a problem with it. He said he wouldn’t want to butt in into our love lives, lest we had a fate similar to his sister’s. Hearing those words from him made me realize the seriousness of the issue.

He is not happy his elder sister is single, and it’s their mom who personally orchestrated it; in her attempt to fix her daughter’s life, she ruined it instead. I am not a mother yet, but I believe when I am, I will let my kids choose who they want to love, because part of being a parent is knowing when to stay out of children’s affairs.

It’s not easy I know, but one has to let their children make such choices. If it works out, good for them; if it doesn’t, well…the parents won’t have anything to blame themselves for. And money, as important as it is; lack of it is not enough to keep two people who truly love each other apart.

Accepting and loving the disabled

living with disabilities 3

Is a disabled person as important as a person who is not disabled? That’s an odd question, right? But I’ll tell you why I’m asking that. On the news there was this story about a young girl, suffering from a mental illness. They didn’t specify what kind of mental illness the girl suffers from, but from what I gathered, it could be pyromania (a mental illness that causes a strong desire to set fire to things).
Her parents took her to hospital and she was given medication that contains the illness. Regrettably, at some point, her brother hit her on the head and the illness came back stronger than before and since then it has been difficult treating it.

One day her mom went out and when she came back she found her daughter had set all her clothes on fire. Furious, she brutally dragged her to a secluded shed in the compound and tied her up, in an attempt to stop her from destroying more things.

Days later, the girl’s hands started rotting; I’m assuming her mom tightened the ropes so hard, thereby cutting off the blood circulation in her hands. When she was taken to hospital, the doctor said the only way they could save the girl’s life was to amputate her hands. As we speak, the girl who I judged was in her teenage hood is not just mentally impaired, but also physically.

In all sincerity, I respect all the parents whose children suffer from any form of disability; because they require so much love and attention than an average child. If the girl’s mother had been caring enough, she would have sought treatment for her daughter instead of locking her up so inhumanly.

Now the poor girl is physically disabled. That means even if she later gets her mental illness treated, she will need prosthetic arms. She has an extra disability, thanks to her mother. Judging by the fact that her own brother also aggravated her mental illness, one would assume the girl lives in a hostile environment.

If she was a ‘normal’ child, I bet her family would have loved her a little bit more than they do at the moment. That’s why I asked in the beginning if disabled people are as important as those without disabilities, because some people treat them like they have no right to be on this earth; like they don’t have feelings.

What we need to understand is that they did not choose to be disabled; because in all honesty, who would love to be born with a disability, when it makes one require so much attention from their families/caregivers? Who would willingly choose to be a burden to anyone?

Any disabled person needs to be showered with affection, not to be treated like they are lesser human beings. I find empathy a solution to many things. In high school we were taught about this golden rule: to treat others the way we would love to be treated. For instance, that woman tied her daughter up in a secluded shed, instead of trying to understand the girl’s situation was triggered by an overwhelming health condition; would she like to be treated the same way, to an extent of having her arms amputated?

The girl lost her arms. If she was a burden to her family before, now she will be a bigger burden. She will need people to take care of her, more than she did before. I’m thinking, she will need someone to always take her to the bathroom everytime she needs to go, until she can manage to do without her arms. That’s just unfair.

She already had one disability; she didn’t need anyone disabling her more. The mother should have been more understanding, and loving. Sometimes when I fall out with mom, I always wonder, if she can’t understand me and she is my mother, who will understand me then?

Mothers should love their children the most. What’s the point of going through agonizing hours of labour to bring a child into this world then end up treating that same child so unfeelingly? And those things we wouldn’t want anyone doing to us, why do them to others?

living with disabilities
Disabled people require special attention, not to be mistreated. It’s not their fault they have impairments, which may prevent them from performing some activities. If anyone is taking care of a disabled child/person and they just don’t know how to handle their illness, they should seek help/advice from a professional.

Incapable of love

incapable of love

In a previous post I mentioned a very disturbing thing dad did right after grams died. The other day mom expressed her concerns about dad playing some songs that were played at grams’ funeral and since dad was still there I asked her to tell him about it, so we could resolve the issue for once and for all.

He has been playing those songs frequently and somehow I had hoped he would be considerate enough to steer clear of them until she had recovered from the grief of losing her mom a few months ago.

In my opinion, what he fails to realize is that she was very close to her mom and her death affected her a lot. He lacks empathy. From what I’ve gathered, he and his mom were never really close. She was a strict disciplinarian and at some point, due to the conflict of interests he ran away from home. That said, I feel he doesn’t quite understand that special bond between a mother and child.

He never had the pleasure of calling his own mother “Mom.” She forbade her own children from calling her ‘mother’. She never really wanted to accept she was growing old and it’s like she imagined being called mom would emphasize the fact that she was losing her youth.

Making up for lost love

However, we understood that fact a long time ago, and for that we’ve always showed dad so much love, hoping it would in a way make up for his love-deprived childhood, though he hardly reciprocates. I feel he deliberately pushes us away.

Shouldn’t the thought that we try to make him feel loved help him overcome the bitterness from his childhood? I am no shrink, but I imagine my presumptions are not too inaccurate.

What ensued though, was a fight. Dad argued that there’s nothing he does that sits well with mom. “People die, you will die too. Let everyone carry their own cross,” he bit out angrily. I hadn’t seen that coming. Somehow I had imagined he would be like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you felt that way.”

On the contrary, he seemed totally unapologetic. “Let everyone listen to the songs they like,” he seethed.

His response shocked me. I had hoped he would atleast empathize with mom. But then, the more I think of it, the more I realize why he seems incapable of love. The one person, who was supposed to show him how to love, didn’t.

Substandard parenting

I may never have this conversation with his mother-for respect’s sake-but I feel she’s entirely to blame for her children’s misfortunes. As damaged as dad might seem, he appears to be the best of the siblings. That definitely tells a lot about her. She failed her children, now we’re left with the empty shells she raised; mean people who don’t seem to know what love is.

How do we teach dad how to love? How to be empathetic? It’s true what they say about teaching an old dog new tricks; how can we possibly fill his heart with love, when he grew up, not knowing how it feels to be loved? How can he love, if he doesn’t know what love is?

In a twisted kind of love, I talked about how he has a weird way of showing us he loves us. He tells us he loves us, but his actions tell a tale of their own. I don’t remember any single thing dad did for me that made me feel he loves me. I get the impression that every little thing he’s ever done for my sisters and me, he did out of obligation.

When I was small, I managed to overlook his shortcomings. I knew I would have wished for a better dad, but somehow I still loved him, and hoped he would love me back. Now I’m all grown up, and there’s nothing he does that even gives the illusion he is capable of love. In any case, nowadays it even feels worse because he has become an alcoholic so any free time he spends away from the office, he spends it alone, drinking; and most of the time he is plainly hostile.

Neighbours who have come to know the type of man dad is keep telling mom whenever they meet outside, “Be strong.”

After that brief argument, he said goodnight and flounced out of the room. Clearly, it hadn’t gone the way I had expected it to. I know mom has her own shortcomings and all, but that’s not the response I had hoped for. She had approached him meekly, in a conciliatory tone; one that didn’t brook argument, yet he reacted like mom had thrown hot coal at him, throwing hands up in the air and all.

I know dad had a difficult childhood and that’s why he has turned out into the hostile man he is today. However, I believe even though we might not have the power to change the lives we led as kids, life gives us numerous opportunities to forge out our own paths.

It’s not easy trying to ditch one’s past, that much I know; but at the same time I believe that with a little determination one can make so much progress.

 

Old and neglected

elderly neglected

This past Monday dad received a call from his uncle-his mom’s brother-who takes care of his grandmother (my great-grandmother), telling him she looked so frail and was afraid she might be transitioning to the other world sooner rather than later. Afraid his granma would die before he saw her, he took a day off so he could travel to the countryside to visit her. Coincidentally, mom was also taking her weekly off on Tuesday. She offered to accompany him.

Tuesday morning, the two woke up early, and went to see dad’s granma. While they were away, mom called, saying they had seen her and she looked frail but was okay. That was a huge relief because the thought that dad had taken a day off in the beginning of the week sought of gave the impression his grandmother was on her dying bed.

Last time I saw her was in October last year and even though she looked thinner than I’d previously seen her, she looked so beautiful. The entire time I was looking at her I felt like I was looking at an older version of my big sister, and then I would see my grams-dad’s mom- and my dad’s siblings. I saw family members from three generations in her. The resemblance was striking.

She is the matriarch of the family; the tree, from which four generations have sprouted. That is indeed a phenomenal blessing. I’m not too sure how old she is, but I imagine she is in her late nineties or early hundreds; about a century old. Looking at the fruits of her womb, directly/indirectly, I would say she is blessed.

From her, great people have been born; for instance, three of her children, who I know, are well-to-do and furthermore, dad and his siblings all have very lucrative careers. Anyone in her shoes would be proud of her descendants.

However, there’s one big problem with that. When mom and dad arrived at around nine, at night, they showed my sisters and I some of the pictures they took of our great-granma. She didn’t just look frail, she looked malnourished, visibly pallid and in one of the photos she seemed almost lifeless. It was too creepy I just requested them to delete it.

Mom said they took it so we could get the actual image of how she looks. Those images of her infuriated me. She seemed that neglected, yet all people do in my extended family is boast about all the wealth they have. Of what use is that wealth, if it can’t help such a woman, who is now too old to fend for herself? What’s the point of having children if they won’t take care of one when age renders them helpless and dependant?

The uncle who called dad is the same one who keeps asking for money, citing the old woman’s special needs; special diet and all. The woman I saw on those photos didn’t look like one who receives any special treatment from the people, who I feel have been scamming family members off. She just seemed neglected. My heart went out to her. Her caretakers look so healthy, well-fed, yet she on the other hand looks so underfed.

Old people can be difficult. My late grams wasn’t any different. She insisted on remaining in her home when mom suggested she come live with us so we could take care of her. Mom even tricked her into coming home but a month later she said she wasn’t used to the city life, so she begged to be taken back and as mom didn’t want to impose, she took her back. Next thing we knew, she was all scrawny; malnourished and all and before long she was dead.

Old people aren’t the easiest to deal with, but at the same time, I believe it’s the responsibility of the younger members of the family to take care of them. The best way to look at this situation would be to imagine oneself, old and confined to a wheelchair courtesy of old age, and alone because the people one birthed and raised are too absorbed in their own lives to help/care.

I don’t like nursing homes. Why take an old relative to a home? They spent their halcyon days, taking care of those same children who leave them in the care of total strangers? Isn’t it everyone’s dream to spend their sunset years with loved ones? Life is a cycle; our parents take care of us when we are young, and when age catches up with them, we take care of them.

Why neglect them when they can’t take care of themselves? They used up their better years feeding and clothing us? Would it be too much to ask that we, who are still young and able, return the favour to our loved ones? It’s the least we can do to show our gratitude for their priceless work.

Children; who will protect them?

sexually abused

The things people are doing nowadays, just to get laid? People have clearly lost their minds. On the news, there was this story about a man who has been defiling his daughter, for months. When arraigned in court, he said he had heard his daughter was sleeping around and wanted to prove she was still a virgin; how? By having sex with her.

I was about to start laughing at such absurdity, when I figured people have actually lost all their morals. Anything goes. What made the story even worse is that the said daughter got pregnant and her mother, afraid that society would judge her husband took the girl to have an abortion, so there wouldn’t proof of his perversion.

When I hear of such stories, I just feel parents are letting their children down. Parents are failing their own children, the same ones they are supposed to protect. That leaves me wondering, if parents are preying on their own flesh and blood, dirtying them in the most repulsive of ways, how then will strangers treat the same children with love?

I don’t know if it’s the in-thing, but there seems to be so many sexual assault cases, with parents as the main culprits. Like this other story I heard last week; a man had been arraigned in court for defiling his son for years. When questioned, he said the devil led him to do it. They do repugnant things, then give the most preposterous answers. Then again, how does anyone come up with a credible answer to such heinousness? There’s none!

How does one get such a precious gift, a child, then vitiate it in such a manner? I’ve mentioned my own mom in numerous posts, and as I’ve said before, she is not a perfect human being; nonetheless, she has done the best she can to ensure my sisters and I turned out right. She has taught us what it means to make sacrifices for loved ones.

With her marriage for instance; she hasn’t stayed with dad because she wanted to, but simply because she didn’t want us to grow in a broken home. Has she made choices I felt were wrong? Severally. Still, she never forgets how to be a mother. She may not be the strongest person I know, physically speaking, but if she were to take on someone bigger than her, just for my sisters and me, she definitely would. She could stand having someone treat her wrongly, but if it’s us on the receiving end, she opposes it with all her might.

Seeing the things mom has gone through to defend us from harmful situations, leaves me wondering why some parents cause their own children harm when they should be their protectors. How can a father rape the same child he sired, or a woman, the child she birthed? How does a parent kill their own child, just because they feel they can’t provide for them anymore?

Other men, on the other hand, defile their children because their wives denied them their conjugal rights. Seriously? I don’t know what kind of a mother I’ll be, but right now I feel that is wrong. There is no excuse in the world that could make any of the debaucheries sound right.

A father is not supposed to be involved in any sexual relationship with his children, whether it’s consensual or forced. It’s wrong. And neither is a mother. It’s just wrong. It doesn’t matter if one was sexually starved, going through a very painful breakup or did it under the influence; it’s wrong.

Sometimes women are aware of their children’s predicament (being molested by their own fathers) but because they feel they could be worsening the situation if they reported the crime, they become accomplices. It’s not easy revealing such sordid acts to people who might possibly judge, but before one becomes an accessory to their partner’s crimes, they should consider the defenceless victims; the children. Who will defend them?

sexually abused 2

When I look at small children I get the impression they feel their parents are superwomen/men. They feel their parents can protect them from any type of danger, big/small. So what happens when the same ‘supermen’ attack them and the ‘superwomen’ don’t do anything to stop the pain? The children are left scarred for life, unable to trust anyone.

If one can’t stop it, they should consult a friend, or a neighbour, church minister/priest…anyone who can help. It’s better to fail knowing you tried than to look back and realize you didn’t lift a finger.

The woman who had her daughter have an abortion had me wondering, how different is she from the husband, who defiled his own daughter? Their neighbours are the ones who called the authorities after the teenage daughter talked to one of them, when she freaked out on realizing she was pregnant.

In my opinion, it’s a parent’s duty to protect their children; to keep them from harm.

 

Childless

A newly married thirty year old woman hanged herself because other women were taunting her for her inability to conceive. That was the headline of a story I heard on the radio. The story had me wondering why people choose to be so heartless at times. So the woman couldn’t conceive; how was that her fault? Maybe it was her husband who’s sterile. Or maybe God just had decided she wouldn’t have babies for His own sacred reasons.

Sometimes in life women find themselves faced with great obstacles that deny them the chance to ever give life to their own newborns, and in most cases it’s never deliberate. It’s usually a painful experience. Say a woman conceived and later realizes she can’t carry on with the pregnancy for whatever reasons, so she decides to get an abortion. I’ve said it before; I’m anti-abortion, but that doesn’t change the fact that this things happen. In the process, something goes wrong and the unfortunate woman has to undergo a hysterectomy.

How does one suppose that woman would feel when the doctor breaks it to them that they will lose their womb-the one thing that enables us to give life to young ones? A mistake they made drove them to that tragic culmination, and that means they will probably beat themselves up about it for the rest of their lives.

There are many reasons that prevent a woman from conceiving their own children, but one can bet that whatever it is, it hurts when a woman wants a baby and can’t get pregnant. It’s frustrating; it’s painful; it tops the list of women’s worst nightmares.

Last I checked, many women want to become mothers at a certain point in their lives, unless of course they are nuns and that automatically denies them that privilege. I bet that woman felt bad enough she couldn’t give her husband any children without anyone reminding her she couldn’t conceive.

“Do unto others what you would like others to do unto you.” That’s a phrase I learned in high school. We called it ‘the golden rule’. That brings me to the callous women who drove the poor thirty year old to suicide. How would they feel if they were the barren ones or couldn’t conceive and others kept throwing that in their face, ruthlessly? I imagine they would be none too pleased about it.

A great lesson I’ve learned in life is to never wait to experience something so I can understand how it feels. Life’s too short to experience everything; one should learn to feel others’ pain without necessary living through it. That said, we should embrace the gift of empathy. We should learn to walk miles in people’s shoes; then we’d realize if situations were reversed and we were the ones going through that same thing, it would be a heavier cross than we had imagined it to be. Empathy. That’s what we need to embrace; for the sake of humanity. If those women had been empathetic, a life would have been saved. If the thirty year old opted to take her own life because she couldn’t give life, then one sought of gets the impression that the issue really weighed heavily on her.

Instead of mocking her, the said women should have told her there were other options like IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization), surrogacy, adoption, etc… depending on the cause of her childlessness. They might have their own implications but they are options regardless, and the way I see it, they would have been better than her feeling desperate enough to hang herself.

Children are like clay

clay in potter's hands 2

Children are like clay; the environment moulds them. Naturally when a baby is born, they are without knowledge of the numerous ‘how to’s’.  For instance, when a baby is born, he/she comes into the world, unable to speak. With time, they pick up the words they hear around them, and as they grow they learn to verbalize their emotions. For instance, if a baby is raised in a family where expletives are used a lot, he will use them even when he’s not so sure what they mean.

A conversation I had with my sisters made me realize that most of the things I do are just a slight modification of what I learnt as a kid.

My sisters and I started walking down that familiar road to the past. Our conversation was just a normal one, talking about one of our uncles’ birthday party, which we’ve been invited to. It’s a rare gesture from our relatives because since I can remember we’ve always had a strained relationship with them. I’ve referred to the genesis of that beef in some previous posts.

When we received the invitation, we just said we’d take a rain check. It’s a party which will be held this coming Sunday and honestly it wouldn’t take much effort for us to avail ourselves, but the nature of the relationship we have with them makes it one of those things one has to seriously mull over before jumping on the band wagon.

Earlier in the day I asked mom if she’ll be going but she wasn’t so forthcoming about it. Actually her reply was more like a retort. She, in her own words, felt bothered that we would contemplate going to such a luxurious event when her own mother-our grandma-is admitted in hospital. She got admitted today and the issue has had mom stressed up all day because the doctors said she was seriously ill. She thought we were being insensitive, but truth is we were only trying to distract her so she would atleast stop worrying about her mom too much.

While discussing the issue with my sisters, we started recounting some similar events from the past. As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, this beef with our relatives didn’t just start recently; it started when my mom got married to dad. When my cousins and I were born, the beef hadn’t been settled yet; our parents passed the beef down to our generation. We’ve always treated each other with meticulous caution; in most cases it just feels like we’re perfects strangers; we hardly keep in touch during the year, so when we hook up for our annual get-togethers, that’s when we start acquainting ourselves with what others have been up to. Honestly I find that little set-up mind-numbing.

Mom’s reaction didn’t come as a shock to me. Chances are, even if grams wasn’t sick, she would still have found a valid excuse to sit out this party . She’s done that so many times before. While recounting some of those instances, we opened the flood gates to our past and we moved from one thing to another. The conversation made me realize that kids are shaped by their environment; the beliefs I have today, I acquired them as a child; most of the habits I have today, both good and bad, I acquired while still a child. I grew up of course, but what I learnt as a child has stuck. I realized it’s difficult to change the things we learnt as children, because those are some of the first things our minds captured. One would need to undergo major reprogramming to change them.

When we were small, mom made us stay in the house a lot; at the time it felt like the best option given the circumstances, and as we grew up the habit stuck. I’m not very okay with the idea of just staying in, but high chances are if I’m not out on appointments, running errands, etc. I’ll be in the house taking part in some indoor activity. I can’t say it’s boring, but it does feel monotonous at times. The worst part is even when I decide to break the monotony, go out and have fun, I end up feeling like staying in would have been the best option.

I attribute this to the fact that when growing up we were made to believe it was the right thing; from what I’ve realized, it will take a lot of will power to break the wont. This is just one of the many things I still do that I learnt when I was a child.

With this in mind, I’d love to believe that children should be handled with so much care. The lessons we impart to them determine the kind of lives they lead when they grow up. If a child grows in an environment that makes them so afraid, chances are they’ll grow up into fainthearted adults. Ergo, if one wants their child to have some certain qualities, they should instill in them those qualities while they are still small, because when they grow up it becomes difficult to shape them.