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Men suffer violence too

gentlebeatz / Pixabay

He is tall, slim, played a good game of basketball. He was even thinking of going to the states to seek the golden fleece… in basketball. In fact, he is also a good actor and the Film industry was paying him close attention. He is every girl’s dream, however, the joke is akin did not have a girlfriend and I used to wonder.
I felt something was not just right, I even wondered if he was gay, but he didn’t show any mannerism that would indicate he had such tendencies. Akin seemed closed into himself. Always friendly but he subtly resisted being close to anyone in the Rest House.

The Rest House was the place that victims of any form of sexual violence always came to and I am one of the volunteers. Maybe I would tell you how I got to be a volunteer there. I am telling you about Akin today I could break that wall of protection he always had around him until one evening when Mrs. Roberts brought in an eleven-year-old who had been battered by his uncle.

Akin’s eyes opened wide on seeing the boy and he unraveled right before our eyes. He dropped on his knees and held the boy tight as he whispered fiercely if the pastor had done anything else. The two hugged each other and the young boy just wept as he dropped his pants.
We watched in stunned horror as the boy collapsed in tears too. What was going on?
Akin rolled his eyes and bunched his fists. Mrs. Roberts asked me to take Akin to the inner room. Akin followed me, sat and looked at his bunched fists for long seconds obviously fighting for control. Then he spoke in very measured tones. What he told me chilled me.

‘I know that boy, I have been trying to trace his mother because I was worried what the pastor was going to do with him and to him. You see, he is my uncle and I had planned to find a way to castrate him. I have been keeping tabs on him since I learned he had opened a branch here. His wife is the owner of a church while he is the secretary. He does everything she wants as she claims to see visions. It is a crazy and sick circle.’ Akin fell silent looking into a personal hell then he continued in a soft tortured voice.
‘He is a henpecked who is too ashamed to own up to the fact that he is abused by his own wife, so each time his wife either beats him up, he takes it out on the boys in his church. He strips himself and then abuses the boys, re-enacting the abuse he suffers from his wife. I was a victim until I threatened to tell his wife and then ran away.’
The room was silent as Akin stared at his hands. He looked at me then ‘I want to help him but how can I tell him anything? He is abused by his wife sometimes and I knew nobody will ever believe my story. Are there human beings like that? How can he approach the Father almighty? Who will break the circle?’
‘He very rarely washes, he has a bad smell and then he asks you to come and take your punishment, he says. Then I find that he breaks down sometimes and cries that the devil should take his soul’.
I had to make a silent prayer to know what to tell him. I explained to him that he would have to accept that his uncle should seek help and get out of such a horrible situation. I did not have the answers but I explained that Akin himself needed to seek help as much as the young boy that Mrs.Roberts brought in. Now I understood why he was loath to have any type of relationship with girls. When I asked him that question and where his sexual orientation lay, he gave me a startled look. He was quiet for a while, then said he might like girls but how was he going to know she was not going to turn out a terror like his uncle’s wife?

You know we hear talk about violence against women, but there is violence against men too? The shame of confessing to abuse by women may turn a man into something more horrible.

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Stupid girls on dates get raped….really?

‘It started with the looks, not extraordinary, maybe I was just anticipating it. I was however not mistaken about the quiet anger. It showed in her actions. She was brusque when she talked to me and frowned even when I had a bath.
Gradually the horrifying realization dawned that she was angry. She was not just angry but outraged with…me. I died literarily when I realized that. My mum was angry with me because I had been stupid enough to get raped. he let that slip one time, she said only stupid girls get raped’.

I stared at her in shock, her mother and my friend had asked me to have a talk with her. She didn’t give me details, now I knew why.
‘I am right you see? You are kind of quiet’. She stood up abruptly, about to flee and I had the presence of mind to hold her just in time. The tears came in torrents and my blouse was wet from her tears and mine.
Bimbo was raped two months ago by her boyfriend. She had known him and everybody in their circle was expecting wedding bells anytime. They went to the same church, were in the same choir together. One evening after choir practice, they had gone to his flat and very strangely for Lekan, he had asked her if she truly was a virgin. Bimbo had been shocked by that answer as Lekan was her first real boyfriend.

She answered in the affirmative thinking that was the end of that. He had then said, since they were going to get married anyway, they might as well make love so they would be familiar with each other’s body. Bimbo said no in very firm tones and stood up to leave only to find Lekan had shut the door and had the key in his pocket. She stared at him in shock and asked him if he was feeling unwell because that was so out of character.
Lekan simply smiled and reached for her and she told him to stop fooling around but to open the door as she needed to get dinner ready for her parents who were out. Lekan simply pulled her into an embrace which she resisted. Her resistance gave him some strange strength as he held her in vice grip and dragged her to his bedroom.

Bimbo said she went suddenly still in fright and tried to calm him down. But the devil had gotten into Lekan His eyes were wild as he tore at her clothes, pinned her down, forcibly tried to kiss her and when she opened her mouth to scream for help, Bimbo got a resounding slap. She blacked out from the slap a few seconds recovered in time to sob as Lekan raped her.
Minutes later, Lekan sobbed beside her as she silently tried to staunch the bleeding from Lekan’s rape. He begged, prostrated, wept and said the devil got into him. He said his friends had told him that Bimbo was lying, that a twenty-six-year-old graduate could not possibly be a virgin.
Bimbo borrowed a shirt from his wardrobe and went home in a taxi he got for her. She went into some kind of shock and was running a temperature by the time her parents came home. She was curled tight on the bed in a fetal position shivering. The effects of the bruises were now evident on her.
She was taken to the hospital and the doctor confirmed to the stunned parents that Bimbo was raped. Her mother had instinctively sent for Lekan not thinking that Lekan was the rapist.
Lekan came and prostrated begging for forgiveness, saying he had every intention of marrying Bimbo. Bimbo’s mother had to physically prevent her husband from committing murder that day.
That was two months ago, and according to Bimbo, it has been two months of horror. Her dad had insisted she was to break up the relationship.
As far as Bimbo was concerned, she just wanted to be left alone and then she noticed in horror that her mum blamed her for the rape. For her, that was the last straw and she came to me.
What do you think?

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Please what should I say to her? Rape 2

She looked at me puzzled. I stared back in shocked surprise. Elegantly dressed, a lawyer and very incisive in her comments.
‘When you look at me, you assume I have got the best of both worlds right?’
I nodded wondering what was coming and unprepared for her next sentence
‘I wish I have the nerve to kill myself, that is after I have killed him’
I asked her softly why she wanted to kill anybody in the first place including herself
Then she talked.
At nine years old, she was not sure she was going to get an education at all. Her mother was one of three wives and her father had declared that the wives were to look after the girls they had given birth to.
‘He called us apprentice witches who had taken after our mothers’
The women did the best they could either appealing to their own siblings, eking out something from their petty trade. According to Yemi, there wasn’t much to expect from her mum so her uncle was called to help.

‘ the First day on the farm, he asked me to come to the pepper patch I understood what he did then as some form of sexual assault. He had not progressed to actual rape. He said he liked me and if I kept my head, he would ensure I had a fair deal in his house. I was too awed by his big frame and his armpits smelled awful. I slept badly that night.
Next morning, he took me off to the local authority school and registered me in kindergarten one. I was almost 10 years old. The teachers taught I was a joke. Most of my classmates in a kindergarten class could speak better than me. I was the class giraffe, the fool, the errand idiot. They laughed but I was silent. I was finally in school. My mum was over the moon and she thanked her brother over and over again.
‘Two weeks of school, Uncle got drunk and I got my first rape’. Yemi went on talking in a matter of fact voice as if she was giving the facts and potentials of the case she was about to defend in court.
My heart sank as I listened, what was I going to do? Nothing much I realized as I listened to a woman who had learned to keep her own counsel and had in some fashion maybe come to some peace.
As she got older, she was able to run away and come to the city. Yemi read privately as an external student to do her WAEC. She got a job as a cleaner in one of the banks and gradually went for more courses and was able to pay her way to read the law.

She never told her mum about the pepper patch rapes. She said she did not see what good that would serve. It was payment for the opportunity to be able to read and write.
Her mother passed away when she was in 300 level in the university. When she met Bayo, she went through the motions of an excited bride and was relieved when she got pregnant. But still had nightmares of the rapes
She had a perfect excuse to keep the physical side of their relationship to the barest minimum. She had also learned to control her rages
‘I did not like all that romance stuff he was into, did not like undressing, did not want any male looking at my body so I was happy being a born-again wife. However I had developed a crazy mannerism, I would bathe at every opportunity and would perfume my body all over. If Bayo touched me I would go stiff as a board and freak out. At first, Bayo found it amusing and thought I was just shy’
‘You never told him about your uncle’?
‘Are you mad? First, he will not believe me, then that look will come into his eyes and he will watch you every minute, or he will start asking you every tiny detail wondering or teasing that you probably enjoyed even a tiny bit of the rape’.

So what do you want to do? I asked when the silence was beginning to stretch
‘Bayo wants to visit my uncle to thank him for the education, If I lay eyes on that uncle, I will have to kill him and then kill myself to stop the torture of years and misery. Will you get someone to stand for my child?’
Please, what should I say to her?

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Rape….the human disease and shame

It was raining heavily and Tinu, driving in the rain felt the beginnings of a headache coming on. She sighed and the phone rang, one cursory look confirmed it was Banji on the phone. She stretched out her hand to pick the phone, saw the girl and stopped.

The girl was obviously lost as she seemed oblivious of the rain, gathering her tattered clothes about her. Her blouse was torn, eyes were swollen and as Tinu stopped, got out of the car, she knew it was much worse than being lost. The girl had been beaten and she bled.
Tinu simply took the girl into the car and drove to the doctor. She was enraged and had a murderous glint in her eyes.

Thirty minutes later the doctor came back to the consulting room. Tinu gave the doctor a questioning look, there was also an appeal in those eyes as it silently asked for answers.
‘Rape my friend, by more than one person, she doesn’t seem to know the assailants. They dumped her at the bus stop when they were done with her.’ The doctor replied her silent query grimly.
Tinu unclenched her fists and asked to be taken to the ward to see the girl.
‘Now they dump them in the streets’ she said through clenched teeth as she narrated the story to her husband Banji much later.
Anike, the girl who was raped had been lured by the promise of a job in a neighboring town so she was completely lost and didn’t know where to go when those who called her for an interview simply grabbed her.
Are you shocked? That is just one scenario, there are several. I will share as much as my anger, disgust and bewilderment will permit
Where do you place your sympathy, in the midst of the calamities befalling the human race?
That is not the end of Anike’s problem you know. Her mother simply refused to accept that Anike was not to blame, and there was horror at the mere fact of letting the law enforcement agents come into the picture. She felt she would be blamed because she had not been strict enough with her child.
In the African tradition, a good child belongs to the father and any misbehavior of the child is placed at the doorstep of the mother.
Where does that leave Anike? Nowhere.
What kind of parents are we? Is there any form of support system in this country that helps someone like Anike? She sits and stares, I heard she was given a rape kit, a government lawyer came to talk to her and after much persuasion, her mother went with her to the police station. The officer gave her a lewd look and yawned.
She has refused to make further visits to the Police, the lawyer says she is busy and there is growing terror in the eyes of Anike as I watch her each time I visit.
I read the book of Robert Uttaro TO THE SURVIVORS’ and I ask myself questions.
I ask you now, Rape has been an issue right from Biblical times. Are we as humans so defective that we have been unable to resolve this type of murder?

I read from the good book that the commandment said clearly Thou shalt not kill.
We murder or we are accessories to the act before and after when another human being is raped. We take without permission the fundamental human rights of another human being in the act of rape.
There are so many types of it and starting from today, each week on this day, I will send you posts about rape.
Why?
I hope you will help in your own way to raise a voice against rape, and domestic violence.
Let’s do something, please.

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DO I HAVE SIX STOMACHS?

It started innocently enough, one of my girls insisted I love one of her sisters the most of my children and she really lashed out in pain. We always argued and I tended to keep asking her to get her act right. Then she told me I was trying to put her in a mould and very sharply told me she is different. ‘Do what grandma told you, have space in your stomach for me but not in the same space with my sister’

My mother had always said she had six stomachs, that is where the stomach talk came from.
I remember staring at her stomach often. How can you have six stomachs?

I did not understand for a long time until my understanding of my language made it clearer that what mum meant was that she had six different understanding of her six children r did she mean love or favour?

Can parents favour one child over the other? I really do not want to answer that question even for me. But I understand my mother after I had six children myself. Do I favour one child over the other? Please don’t ask me the question again. I am reluctant to ask myself and I refuse to answer because you see, I really don’t have an answer
In my race, we tend to check for the origin of an incarnation, so we might understand the manner of invitation or mission of the child thus invited. I remember I wondered about my first son and knew well ahead about the others some part of the manner of their incarnation. No I am not being fanciful.

How do you see your children? Could they really be friends?. I watch my friends sometimes when they try to impose a religion on their children and they generally support these impositions with plentiful quotes from the good books. So how did I become such a rebel?

I hate being pigeon-holed and generally leave an association once it begins to stifle me. Almost all my children have picked these traits.

Do I have six stomachs? Do I view my children differently?, rate them differently? Yes of course, because they are six, uniquely different from each other. Then I understood mum. Yes you can have six stomachs. Yes you love them differently. Equally? Ergh, can we compare love by volume? Quality? Love? That serves, nourishes, strengthen? I doubt. What is the measure?

Some nights I just lie awake agonising over a child who seemed to me to be so different from me that I wonder how we happen to have woven a thread that necessitated us sharing another incarnation together. I wonder, agonize and sometimes am at pains to understand. I am not the only mother who does that you know.
It was one of the reasons that helped me talk to my mother again. I could finally understand and empathize with her confusion over me. I think I gave her the most cause for headaches. I was so different that we hardly could have a meeting point.

Now as a parent and grandma, I remember and sometimes nod in silent acknowledgement of my mother’s comment over six stomachs. I probably have six stomachs too.
How do we navigate the parenting waters and be able to bring each child to shore safely and move on without leaving scars or scarring them too negatively?

I do seem to have a lot of questions right? And you must have assumed I have forgotten all about parenting.
The invitation is still open to visit the parenting forum on the site and do let me know what you think.
How many stomachs do you have?
Talk soon

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Let us be sincere

Let us be sincere with the children too.
A lot of us tend to boast as parents that we were picture perfect children tour own parents. We tell our own children how butter never melted in our mouths and how we were model children.
A parent sent me this and I read through carefully looking for the logs in my own eyes first. I thought I should share with you. Parenting apparently has been an issue since from the time of Adam and Eve.
Tirukkural by Tiruvalluvar (a Tamil poet/writer) was written more than 5,000 yrs ago. It’s one of the ancient science on Human Behaviour, which has not changed in spite of modern education & technology!*

*SOME GOLDEN THOUGHTS OF THIRUKKURAL:*

1. *If your child lies to you often, it is because you over-react too harshly to their inappropriate behaviour.*

2. *If your child is not taught to confide in you about their mistakes, you’ve lost them.*

3. *If your child had poor self-esteem, it is because you advice them more than you encourage them.*

4. *If your child does not stand up for themselves, it is because from a young age you have disciplined them regularly in public.*

5. *If your child takes things that do not belong to them, it is because when you buy them things, you don’t let them chose what they want.*

6. *If your child is cowardly, it is because you help them too quickly.*

7. *If your child does not respect other people’s feelings, it is because instead of speaking to your child, you order & command them.*

8. *If your child is too quick to anger, it is because you give too much attention to misbehaviour & you give little attention to good behaviour.*

9. *If your child is excessively jealous, it is because you only congratulate them when they successfully complete something & not when they improve at something even if they don’t successfully complete it*

10. *If your child intentionally disturbs you, it is because you are not physically affectionate enough.*

11. *If your child is openly defiant, it is because you openly threaten to do something but don’t follow through.*

12. *If your child is secretive, it is because they don’t trust that you won’t blow things out of proportion.*

13. *If your child talks back to you, it is because they watch you do it to others & think its normal behaviour.*

14. *If your child doesn’t listen to you but listens to others, it is because you are too quick to jump to conclusions*

15. *If your child rebels it is because they know you care more about what others think than what is right*

*Pls fwd this to Parents who care to read this!*
*IT MAY GUIDE OUR MODERN PARENTING!*
*Positive Parenting!*

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What should I tell mum

I came home after seven years, I still looked fresh almost untouched. I really didn’t know what to expect, even why I came home. I was tired, emotionally tired, spiritually empty. It was time to go home.
I really had not factored into my spirit what my mum was going to say. Seven years is a long time to have stayed angry and rebellious. Seven years was the time it took me to look in the mirror. Really look in the mirror to look for me. To look for my definition of me, what it means to be me. I am not making any excuses my friend. I just got tired of it all, suicide even lost its attraction. Tried it for the first time after the physics teacher ran his hands all over me in class just before lights out. It was the same night the principal had called me into his office and asked me to sit on his lap and something hard kept sticking into me and I struggled to move away.
Yes those silent struggles, in his office his long beard and his pants, it was the reason I asked my mum to sew khaki shorts for me and I zipped them up my belly, to stop those wandering hands. I would scrub my body every night trying to take his smell on my body off. I was scared, I did not know who to ask the questions. Then I looked in the mirror then, saw my staring eyes and despaired .
Subuola would in rage insist I was after her boyfriend, first time I understood the import of what she meant, we had a big fight. It was Kola who in sheer mirth explained that I could make men commit sins. I asked him to explain, but he simply laughed and shook his head. He said my dimples and those bewildered eyes were a dangerous combination.

But that explanation came years later after two suicide attempts. But back in those days, I only felt shame, dirty and sad. Why would the principal do this things, and the physics teacher. I never had good grades in that subject, I could not explain why my brain will close up just seeing the subject written on the board. I was in constant state of terror just seeing him. He would pinch my breasts ( it was just coming up) very painfully. Hold me very tightly and rub himself hard against me. I would whimper and struggle, gradually my shame changed to anger and developed into a rage.

Seven years ago I timidly asked my mum why men were like that, and she lost it. I had never been so severely beaten. My backsides ached, mum checked my innermost places almost with a torchlight and there was no name left to call me after six hours of verbal abuse. I felt like nothing. The mat was so hard, and when it started raining, I embraced its cold sharp stings. It was better than all the abuse. I didn’t know when I started walking that night. I did not remember if I met any masquerade, I just walked, and walked.
The morning found me in the city, and the call of the conductor brought me sharply awake. Ikoyi still had a park in those days, so I guess in some fashion. I got there. Slept in the grass for a long time. Then this family approached me and asked if there was anything wrong. I remember saying very simply that I was missing and needed a job. Those were strange days. No telephones then, so I stayed with them for a while being a nanny to their child. Took my ‘A’ levels as a private student, rekindled my dream to be a human being.

I discovered later I had been damaged by the silent abuses, my mum’s lack of understanding made me a very bitter person. I closed my heart , kept the keys but refused to communicate.

I started teaching and loved the children particularly one sad eyed angel called Tina. She always sat quietly in a corner. Rarely went to breaks with the other children, never got her clothes dirty until one day another tiny one mistakenly splashed her with the drink she was having. I saw the terror that came into her eyes and how she trembled uncontrollably. Suddenly I knew what was wrong with her. I picked her up and rocked her as my own tears finally burst and we both cried helplessly.

Hours later, when the storm was over, and the wretched house girl who had been abusing Tina was arrested. I went to my clean, over clean spruced flat and looked in the mirror again
Now I am on my way home to talk to Mum.

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GET YOUR PRIORITIES RIGHT


My name is Mercy. I am a christian.
I got married at 25, finished my PhD at 27 and became a Professor at 40.
So fast you said? Yes, everything around me work fast. It was now that I realise that it was a misplaced priority.
My ambition blindfolded me and I got it all wrong, that is why I am sharing my experience through this medium to warn and encourage our young mothers not to be careless as I was back then.
I worked very hard as a lecturer and as an administrator, always busy that it became my language to my children.
My mum was around to nurse the children for me for sometime, the moment they clock ten, I usually send them to boarding school, though my husband was not in support but I always find my way. I have no good warm relationship with my children, 2 boys and a girl.
I never knew it was a bad idea not to have time with my husband, children and the household, until 5 years ago, when guilt, loneliness and restlessness filled my heart. I sent for my children to rejoice with me at my 60th birthday.
The two boys, staying in Canada said they are busy and that their sister will come down from South Africa.
Two days to my birthday, my daughter sent this message to me,
“Mum, I am very sorry not to be around over there, there is no time to squize out, my husband needs my attention at his newly established clinic, presently, I’m pregnant, very busy and lonely in a strange land”
Please pray for us mum. Happy birthday”. I could not get out of the meaning I get from the message. “First-thing-First”. When they needed me for warmth and discussion, I was not available, now I need them for warmth and discussion I could not get them, rather they returned my slogan back to me “I’m busy”
To worsen the matter, my dear died in his sleep a month after…only one of the children came without his family to the burial ceremony, I was dumbfounded!!!
#COMMENT: it is good to work and be a hard working fellow. But hear this important and salient biblical truth, Parenting is a sacrificial work, give it all it takes, any work that will take away your attention too much from your home – #Avoid it and be careful!
#SOLIDIFY YOUR HOME FIRST, CREATE TIME FOR HUSBAND AND CHILDREN, ESTABLISH THE FEAR OF GOD IN THEIR HEART THROUGH YOUR ATTITUDE AND BEHAVIOUR.

THOUGH, IT IS COSTLY NOW, BUT THE FUTURE REWARD IS WORTH IT.
Prov 31 – the woman receive reward of praise at the end after series of home-care activities.
THIS IS AN EYE OPENER FOR BOTH MEN & WOMEN.
LET’S BE SELFLESSLY AVAILABLE WHEN OUR CHILDREN NEEDS US.
GOD BLESS.

Kindly post to the Parenting Blog.
Very interesting you would say, a parent brought this to my attention.

Here is one response,
Charles Ayo Dada wrote: They wanted doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, geologists and engineers … and they ensured that they got it! Little did they know that with their “selfish aspirations”, the world would be losing… the best carpenters, cooks, musicians, writers, artists, gardeners, farmers, visionaries, and inventors, whose innovations and revolutionary discoveries were to change the world!

Parents beware!

Adjust yourselves to the nature of the child guest who comes through you … but does not belong to you!

That was Charles, but my questions are:
Are we guilty of wanting to fulfil our frustrated dreams through our children?
Are the children, investment against our old age or are entitled to be allowed to lead their own lives once they have attained maturity?
When must we learn to stand aside and watch, guide, love and be friends ?.
Are you a possessive parent?
So many questions. Let’s talk shall we?

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Resolutions…..what are they?

“How did they come about anyway?” my daughter asked me
We were discussing new year resolutions and I had asked her if she had thought of any for this year. You know I never really thought that it originated from somewhere.

Do you think new year resolutions started from somewhere or as a result of something? I don’t think so though, but I sense that it must have started from the human mind deciding to review its past activities and checking for itself how far it has gone towards achieving a goal or a set of goals.
Remember how we set so many goals for ourselves, it is indicative of the prayers we make too. Not one prayer point, but several in fact in the space of a minute. We do have a lot we want. So I asked her what she had set for herself as a goal this year. She frowned then gave me a questioning look.

“Mum, I am not being rude, but If I tell you, Iam going to have a hard time working at it as you will be checking me out to know if I am working at the resolution. I think resolutions are private you know”
I swallowed as I acknowledged the truth of that statement. But can we give our ourselves resolutions? How dowe teach our children, the importance of resolutions? Is it supposed to be at a particular time of the year?
I remember that for me my resolutions or review tends to be as I approach my birthday. It is that time of year when I wonder what the Creator wished I could do with my present incarnation and as I take my first breath my contract begins .

I used to think that is when I review what I have done in the past year. For me the first day of January is just the first day of the new year but not the first day of my new year. They are other days of similar importance in the calendar of my growth to a goal. So it generally is part of a collective review.
I thought of all these as I chatted with my daughter. She asked me why I had lapsed into such silence, so I smiled and shared my thoughts. Her eyes opened wide in surprise and she nodded.
“You know mum, actually, I sense a day should be a review. We could make each evening of our lives a review of what he had done and make a resolution against the next day”

Now it was my turn to stare and give silent thanks for the opportunity of experiencing this gem.
So, resolutions? What are they really? There are the decisions we take each time we give ourselves a chance to honestly review how we have acted and make a resolution to improve on it.
If we take it one day at a time, we stand a pretty good chance of keeping, maintain and sustaining our resolutions.
My daughter smiled, and touched my shoulder, “and you didn’t like pastors mum?”
I stared and she laughed blowing me a kiss
Happy new year everyone

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What shall we give Jesus for His Birthday?

It is the time of year when we all remember it as the season of goodwill right? So when my daughter kept giving me broad hints about what she wanted for the Christmas celebration, I sighed wondering how I was going to communicate to her what the real Christmas was supposed to be.

All those nativity scenes and movies she kept watching was not doing the thing I wanted to pass across. I had noticed that each time I patted the seat beside me and asked her that we should chat she would become restless and remember something she needed to do in her room. Hmm , her room had become some kind of fortress these days. She was always hiding in there. I did not want to invade her privacy as I am a stickler for privacy myself, I could snoop in there. I asked myself the question, why would I snoop in her room? I didn’t like that picture of myself so I waited.

This afternoon, I was checking my old box of memorabilia that I always took with me and my hand struck my piggy bank. A smile came across my face as I gently stroked it and I knew I would start bawling in a minute as I remember my dad. He was my hero and I could never stop talking about the things he taught me even with his silences and his silent trust of me. The piggy bank started with him asking me to drop whatever tips his friends who came round gave me. He said I might be surprised what I would have saved by the end of the year. He said he would give me the interest toad to it. We made a pact and he gave me the piggy bank. If I was sent on errands by his friends, they would tend to ask me to keep the change. That went into my bank. Some days I would sit and daydream that angels would fill up the bank for me. Other times, dad would give me a smile if I had made some really good grades and hand me some coins to put in my bank.

Each year by the beginning of the third quarter he would order for clothes for the children. He did not like the rush towards Christmas. So usually as the last month came round, I was always in a fever of impatience to have the chance to put on my new clothes and go visit friends and relatives.
As this particular Christmas approached I kept hinting to dad that I would love to have “bisco’ you know the glittering sticks we burned at Christmas, I was not into bangers and the noise but I loved bisco and would stare at the glittering showers imagining I was seeing stars come and go.

However dad’s question was very surprising.
What is Christmas for?
It is the birthday of Jesus dad, we all know that
Hmmm… so what are you getting him for his birthday then?
I stared, then stammered. He is not here dad, he is in heaven
Is that why we can’t give him a birthday present? We pray to him don’t we every morning?
I slowed down and gave my dad a puzzled look
He smiled, that very special smile of his and wondered if Jesus might not like me giving Ahmed the little boy next door a football for Christmas.
He is a Muslim dad and he doesn’t celebrate Christmas
He is God’s creature my son, and Jesus is neither Christian nor Muslim but the incarnate Love of the Creator. You think we might just give Jesus a lovely birthday gift of love which we show to our neighbor whoever they are wherever they maybe.

Your neighbor is just a thought away and it is faster than the second.
I knocked on my daughter’s bedroom door as I sent a prayer of thanks to dad for his Christmas gift