The sun can be persuaded
to have roses in the desert.
The dew at dawn is as
soft as the outer reaches of the sun.
the hand that holds the Sword is loving and firm.
The scapel of the surgeon is sharp
to remove the errant tissue.
It is mercy.
The eagle lives on the crag
as the dove descends
and the sea breaks out on victory song.
The unicorn sniffs the golden air
for the sun is married again.
Ravens still growl,
At the dove,
They still stand with
Dead palm oil under
With blackened fingers
The curtain may rent
Seven trips to the rose
In light streams
The column weeps
The hump of their faith
Sprouts maggots of pain
Defying even the pleas
Of the saints.
She was late again, and I rehearsed to myself all the stories she was going to tell me . Not the truth though and that was the source of pain. There was pain in her eyes as she talked and I sighed, for some of the things she said echoed within me.
“Why don’t we have perfect answers and reactions? She asked me plaintively.
I sighed, Can parents be perfect? Is there really a manual that tells us that we can do this or that at any given time?
You don’t become perfect as a human being and we all work towards that perfection when you will not be here on terra firma.
I wish I had perfect answers all the time. My granny would always smile and shake her head.
As a parent, do we have really and truly the best way to bring up a child. Some of us take refuge in our religion and use that as a yardstick. Then I read the commandment that said Tough shalt honour father and Mother.
Can a child honour a drunken father, dishonest and dissolute? Or a mother who indulges in coquetry, flirts and cheats? Where does the honour begin? and the distaste sets in?. How can I honour a father that sends his son to give his girlfriend notes and messages, or a mother that has kept the secrets of her extra houses away from the father until the daughter stumbles on it one innocent afternoon.
Joke came to see me, her eyes saucer like in shock. Her mother is a trader and she had three daughters. Joke is the last of the three girls. A marketing executive with of the major brewery in the city. Her father retired as an accountant and Joke was always regarded as daddy’s little ‘present’ because she came after 12year from the last girl.
Iyabo her mother had a very bad pregnancy. I mean she hardly had one pain free day. We all attributed it to the length of years between the pregnancies. She never seemed interested in her children though always leaving the emotional nourishment to Dapo her husband, so we were not surprised when they seemed closer to their dad and we were touched because you know men always wanted sons . Dapo was different though. He cared for his daughters. As they got older, they would share confidences with their father and not the mother.
Joke said, it was strange as she would visit her friends and knew the daughters could share with their mothers girly secrets, however,Iyabo rarely seemed to want her daughter’s company.
I was always puzzled but since she always seemed concern about them I shrugged it off as maybe she was inwardly shy of letting her inner thoughts to shine forth.
However this afternoon, there was anger, disgust and disbelief in Joke’s eyes. She had escorted her friend to a new flat he was paying for and the landlady turned out to be her own mother!
“We both stared at each other in total shock I can tell you, she suddenly paid money into my account. This woman has been complaining to my dad that she has no money from her trading and asks for money to buy toiletries and she owns a luxurious flat at a swanky part of town. How do I honour such a two faced devil?” Joke asked me
What should I tell her?
Are you jealous?
“I was surprised at the question. Jealous of my own daughter? I wondered if I was jealous. A tiny imp of mischief whispered that I probably am. It was a depressing thought and I felt funny. My spirit lifted however when I remembered Dad and I. The severe pain I had felt when he passed and how I resisted any hint that he could have been human after all.”
I sighed as I listened to Tope. We have been friends for more than forty years and so I accepted all she wanted to tell me as a friend. I wondered though if she would be willing to take a few words from me. I had listened to her eldest daughter talk to me one day.
“Aunty, Mum is the male in this house. She never once visited me in school, has never ever looked at my reports from school. There is a loneliness that I will never wish on my child when I have one. Each time I bring my reports home, she simply asks Dad casually if there are any reds in my report then yawns and goes straight to bed. She never waits for Dad to answer” There was bewilderment in her voice, then she continues ”you see she is of the school of thought that parents should not be attached to their children, but she is not attached to me, I think she said having me, spoilt her shape, she keeps telling me that she was a real heartbreaker when she met dad”
Wow, I said to myself as I wondered how to be helpful. The question of jealousy had come out because Tola has a very beautiful figure, clear faced ebony beauty a pride to any parent. She had finished school and was working in the hospital. As a medical doctor, she barely had a social life until she met Tade a fellow doctor. On the very rare outing, her mother had come out and complained about dress, make up and eventually the fact that Tola was throwing herself at a man who was poor did not have a rich genealogy and was…. The complaints were endless. Tola had in anger taunted her mother and asked her mother if her mother was jealous.
You could say the mouse finally roared.
I have said it often on this blog. Let’s take a step back once in a while and put the spotlight on ourselves. We know that we are not always right. My cousin says you can’t keep forever second guessing yourself. There is no such person as a perfect mum or dad. We are humans after all too. So how do we help ourselves to grow?
Tola drew naturally close to her dad, being an only child, Tope became so immersed in her job that she forgot all about the guest she had invited into her life. Children are guests and gifts from the Father Almighty. We are not just expected to feed, clothe and educate them, we have other basic responsibilities too.
What are the priorities we show our children with our activities? I asked my friend if she wanted a rich husband for her daughter and would be willing to shop for one. I asked what made her to be close to her father?
She looked at me in surprise and said her father was the one person she could relate to in a polygamous setting with her mother out of the picture
“Well, you seem to be repeating the same pattern you know, Your father took care of you because your mum was not there physically for you and you never became close because the bond of love was not made. You are not in the picture right now for your daughter, not because your husband has another wife or wives, he loves you but you have made him both mother and father to your only child. When do you want to be in the picture?”
I saw a strange look come into her eyes as realization started to dawn. It was going to be a long road to find a daughter and it was time I left.
What do you think?
I shook my head trying hard not to let her down. I never saw the butterflies nor did I see the stars. I felt resentment rise in me, as I felt cheated of what may have been a legitimate experience. She was looking at me and I could swear I saw stars in her eyes. Were those butterflies I felt in my stomach, my hands were sweating and I knew I was going to sound like a frog being strangled if I spoke. I took refuge in a screechy laugh. Alarmed at that sound I clamped my mouth shut.
There was a teeny bit of jealousy that rose in me. Tolu my fourteen year old daughter was beginning to look uncertain. I held her in my arms and screamed silently for help and guidance. She wanted to know when she would know she was in love and was asking me what she should feel. Nothing in my warehouse of memories looked like what the romance books says. The clammy feeling, the stars in her eyes and those darn butterflies!. I get all those feelings when I am nervous or am about to hit the roof over something.
Tolu had been told by her friends at school that she would feel all those things when she meets Mr. Right, Ergh! We had to talk, it was standard practice in the house, she asks the questions and I had always been able to answer the questions. Now I am having problem answering this one because knowing my daughter as I do, her next question was going to be if I felt that way about her father. So I took a deep breath, and held her hands
“Darling, love comes to people in different ways, when we are young and start seeing the opposite sex as a bit more interesting than the nuisance we thought they were, our generative instinct is coming into play. We are beginning to be self- conscious, we start wanting to look like the ideal we sense and want the object of our interest to see us as the ideal. I guess that is when we see those stars because we see in the other person something higher than ourselves and we want to be the best for that person. These feelings awaken in us the sense of what real love should be like. It is a beginning my dear but like a fruit just budding, you must allow it to grow, mature and ripen . Remember how I used to tell you not to eat unripe mangoes in the garden? You know you must allow it to mature and ripen and then you enjoy the fruit?”
Tolu nodded and she looked at me as she asked, “So falling in love is like seeing an unripe mango?”
“Learning about those butterflies in your stomach is learning about love and you will need to give the mango time to grow, mature and…..”
“ripen” she finished for me laughing.
I went further picking my words carefullyas I explained about crushes, infatuation and their new definitions of friends with benefits and friends without benefits. She was amused and we chatted for a few more minutes before I rushed off for my production meeting.
Obviously Tolu had only barely understood the phrase about “friends with benefits” because she asked her dad what were the benefits the neighbor’s undergraduate son meant when he said they could be friends. I waited until the wretch got back home and bared my teeth to the miserable boy, explained to him the benefits derivable from a rampaging witch as well as what the insides of a police cell could look like. I smiled as I explained to a horrified young idiot what he could with his benefits.
Tolu is barely on talking terms with him as I revisited out talk and gave details about the meaning of “friends with benefits”
Did I do it right? I have been wondering.
What do you think folks?
When is it time to do it?
You don’t expect your child to ask you that type of question do you?
It was a strange question to ask her, and she stood there staring. Then she gulped and went back to the seat staring straight ahead. I knew then she was seeing the ghosts of her dreams. She sighed slowly and twisted her hands on her thighs.
“I guess I never thought of that” she muttered at last
Quite and interesting question all parents never expected to be asked and frankly speaking, if you were asked how were you going to answer? Do you trust your daughter with her male friends?
Kofo had always assumed she knew everything about her daughter, had insisted that she was very close with her daughter Solape. She would have been happy knowing about Solape as a model child until she was shown a sex tape by accident.
She almost had a heart attack and there had been one very violent fight at home. According to her, she had hit her daughter for the first time right across her face. The shock she had problem recovering from was that her daughter had hit her right back.
Kofo collapsed, not from the beating but from the shock of her daughter raising her hand back at her. It was a tough thing to happen. Segun had come to me in desperation asking me how to resolve the issue between wife and daughter. Solape had left the house in tears and Kofo vowed never to talk with her daughter ever again.
Never is a long word in relationships and definitely in a filial relationship. I had to ask my friend to swallow her pain enough to check what was the genesis of the fight, then asked her to be sure Solape was safe wherever she ran to for refuge. Segun had made some discreet calls and knew that his daughter was safe. He was also wondering what to do about his wife. Who was he expected to be loyal to in the first place?
What was the story about sex tape? Solape said her boyfriend had bought and they were going to watch it in his room. Kofo hit the roof asking if Solape already had been having sex with her boyfriend. Wait for it, Solape is twenty six had even concluded her service year but was waiting to get a job.
“That question was way out of her terms of responsibility” was Solape’s argument, when I finally met with the daughter. She wanted to resolve the fight with her mum but she was still angry herself.
“For goodness sake, she is not thinking I am a virgin am I?” Solape had continued pacing the sitting room of her friend Remi where she had taken impromptu shelter.
How do you negotiate a relationship that should have changed focus years ago? when Solape had attained the age of discernment?
The questions kept coming. What was wrong here? Both parties needed counseling?
Will you suggest solutions please?
While we are thinking about this problem, I have one of my own.
Parents ought to evolve from being parents with the responsibility to bring up their children to a point of maturity. All through the lives of their children until they have to pass on to the greater beyond, they should maintain a relationship. When should parents see their children as friends? What type of friends are you with your child? We would like at the stages of friendship in its different definitions , and like Solape demanded, what would be the terms of responsibility?
Looking forward to your responses.
Being a parent is easy, but parenting is for all your life
I read the book SURVIVED THE JOURNEY by Memuna Barnes. It is a story of survival. A story that can inspire our young persons today. Captured and held by rebels, this remarkable young woman walked through the emotional mines of her teenage emotions of infatuation, confusion and was able to hold close to her heart and head lessons she had learned from a grandparent which helped her retain a sense of herself. When we started this blog, I wanted to have her share with us. She is African and comes from the value systems we hold dear, how mush of these values was impacted to her became evident when she was captured as a teenager. I feel that we could learn as parents the benefit of her impressions and how the relationship she enjoyed with her grandma became a source of inspiration during those terrifying times with the rebels.
Please meet Memuna Barnes Author of SURVIVED: The Journey.
Growing up, I lived with my paternal grandmother for a period of my childhood and whenever anyone of her grandchildren were treated unfairly and went running to her in tears or if she found one of us in a corner in tears she would sit beside that child and say, ‘Nothing lasts forever…..if life which is created by God inevitably ends, then there is nothing that can be inflicted on you that will last forever.’
This is one of my favourite of my paternal grandmother’s sayings. She used these sayings in raising her us with unbreakable emotional strength.
This saying of hers along with a prayer – Psalm 23, taught to me by my parents were instrumental in keeping me sane when myself, one of my younger sisters and two female cousins were taken from our family by the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone and held captive for almost two years.
I have always been an outspoken individual, although in my teens this aspect of my personality was not always encouraged from my family – as in most African settings.
I was born in Liberia and so my parents along with one of my younger sisters and I lived in Liberia. We lived there till the civil war broke out in 1989, where I witnessed the atrocities humans are capable of inflicting on others humans on the more vulnerable side of life in the absence of law and order. A year later we were able to leave on the Sierra Leone army ship to my father’s side of the family, as he is Sierra Leonean and Sierra Leone was at peace at the time.
For some unexplained reason I would not curb this, I spoke my mind almost always during the my time in captivity. I was brave enough to tell the rebel commanding officers who showed sexual interest in me that I wasn’t old enough. As this was some of the advice my grandma gave me. That a girl must be past her teens before she can be sexually active or it would affect her fertility.
Most importantly, however, I always remembered where I was taken from (my upbringing) in order to keep my mind on where I want to go in life.
Another one of my granny’s advice.
So what do you think?
Let’s have your comments please.
It was not intended that Funke would walk in on the conversation. Tired and understandably irritated she took her shoes off as she climbed the stairs to her apartment. She froze however as she heard her daughter’s voice, “I think she hates me, she is always gossiping about me to daddy”. Her hands flew to her mouth to suppress the gasp and she froze. The voice that answered was that of Melinda, her close friend. Funke waited to hear her response but Melinda had stiffened so ran down the stairs silently put her shoes back on and made a noisy entrance. Her heart was beating very fast but she desperately tried to keep a straight face as she made a ceremony of opening the door.
Temi, her daughter was in tears as she stared at her mother too horrified by the knowledge that her sentence had been heard. She made an attempt to fly to the bedroom but Funke dragged her back and into her arms. “I didn’t mean that Mum”
Generally they don’t mean that truly. It takes an extreme act of abuse before your child will say that about you. But it is a warning sign, to let you check your communication strategies. We always state that every parent was once a child, sometimes looking into yesterday may help us understand today as we plan for tomorrow.
Let me share some tips for effective listening:
1.Be attentive when you listen to your child and maintain eye contact. It is discouraging to a child if you look away or text while the child is talking
2. Show signs that you are listening, nod, make sounds that you are paying close attention
3. Whatever you hear, never show horror or disgust, or even contempt, you will not get a chance again.
4. Don’t look bored, yawn, look at your wrist watch or at the door. Give your child total attention. Let your child know that the moment is vitally important to you.
5.Ask question for clarification, don’t pretend you have all the answers, it works better if you offer to research the question for more answers. That moment is vital and give that quality time all the importance it deserves.
6. Children appreciate being able to have the opportunity to expreee how they feel. Time to talk is the best teachable moment you can have to let your child know what you hope for with them.
7. Don’t yell or scream or order. Telling your child that he/she is headed for the darkest part of hell for an infringement makes the child rebellious and creates a most negative effect.
8.Show empathy and acceptance, it is your opportunity to guide the thoughts and dreams. Your child gains confidence and trusts both you and himself
Dialogue is always a better option, be prepared to allow your child to tell you those things you have said that has been hurtful and confusing. Your child needs to know that he/she is learning to be a viable individual in the community and you are willing to invest in the moral growth of your child.
Show faith and trust in that child and be willing to defend values, your values.
We will expect you at the blog
Well remember the post we shared about privacy tips for your child/children? I came across this in a group chat. I found it interesting and asked permission to share it here.
To all parents and even grandparents, as well as teachers, here are some unbelievably simple parenting ideas that work.
1. Children need a minimum of eight touches during a day to feel connected to a parent.
If they’re going through a particularly challenging time, it’s a minimum of 12 a day. This doesn’t have to be a big deal; it could be the straightening of a collar, a pat on the shoulder or a simple hug.
2. Each day, children need one meaningful eye-to-eye conversation with a parent.
It is especially important for babies to have that eye contact, but children of all ages need us to slow down and look them in the eyes.
3. There are nine minutes during the day that have the greatest impact on a child:
the first three minutes right after they wake up
the three minutes after they come home from school
the last three minutes of the day before they go to bed
We need to make those moments special and help our children feel loved.
These are simple, right? Nothing really earth-shattering here.
1⃣ Whenever u feel like scolding or beating your child, take a deep breath, or count 1-10 and then act.
2⃣ Let’s ask them to study their favorite subject on their own..
3⃣ Send them to one exam without studying at all..
4⃣ Remember what our kids are learning in 5th std is taught to 7th std abroad..
5⃣ Lets keep our kids out of unwanted competition.
6⃣ 80% of what kids are learning ,won’t be useful to them in future..
7⃣ Our kids can really afford to do whatever they want to do in future .
8⃣ Higher degrees don’t guaranty success and happiness..
9⃣ Not all the highly educated people do well professionally.
And not all who do well professionally are the happiest ones..
10 Kids are always in a party mood.. don’t spoil their childhood. Support and let them be what they want to be.
Pass this on to as many parents as u can..
And change the way we look at our kids and their future.
Did you find this interesting? Let’s have your comments please. Join us on our Facebook page and continue the conversation.
I have the pleasure today, to include the post of parent to our growing list of guest bloggers. Mr. Adegoke Opeyemi has shared a list with parents.
Please read and I hope you will share.
HERE IS A LIST OF THINGS YOU NEED TO TEACH YOUR CHILD(REN) AT EARLY AGE :
1. Warn your Girl Child Never to sit on anyone’s laps no matter the situation including uncles.
2. Avoid Getting dressed/undress in front of your child, once he/she is 2 years old. Learn to excuse them or yourself.
3. Never allow any adult refer to your child as ‘my wife’ or ‘my husband’, reprove it immediately.
4. Whenever your child goes out to play with friends make sure you look for a way to find out what kind of play they do, because young people now sexually abuse themselves.
5. Never force your child to visit any adult he or she is not comfortable with and also be observant if your child becomes too fond of a particular adult.
6. Once a very lively child suddenly becomes withdrawn you may need to patiently ask lots of questions from your child.
7. Carefully educate your grown ups about the right values regarding SEX. If you don’t, the society will teach them the wrong values.
8. It is always advisable you go through any new material like cartoons you just bought for them before they start seeing it themselves.
9. Ensure you activate parental controls on your cable networks and advice your friends especially those your child(ren) visit(s) often.
10. Teach your 3 year olds how to wash their private parts properly and warn them never to allow anyone touch those areas and that includes you (remember, charity begins from home and with you).
11. Blacklist some materials/associates you think could threaten the sanity of your child (this includes music, movies and even friends and families).
12. Let your child(ren) understand the value of standing out of the crowd.
13. Once your child complains about a particular person, don’t keep quiet about it. Take up the case and show them you can defend them. Remember, we are either parents or parents-to-be. and remember “THE PAIN LASTS A LIFETIME” And please share to all friends who have children.
Why don\y you go over this again, share with your friends and invite them to subscribe.
A Concerned parent shares
The following is a contribution I felt we should all share in. Parenting does not have exclusivity and some of us may have answers and suggestions. Our blog is meant to raise questions within us, create dialogue and we learn together. A Yoruba adage says we can’t all sleep with our heads pointing to the same direction. In sharing, we learn and grow
Why don’t you come over to our blog, read, share and grow too. You could also like us on Facebook and post on our page .
There are things that parents do that makes me wonder if they know the implications. In my teaching career, I’ve come to realize that children who are well brought up produce better results.
What I see these days is training the “butty”(aje butter) way which gets me scared of what will happen in the next 10-15years.
I see eight year olds who don’t bother to lay their beds.
I see 10year olds served by the maid or “caring mum” on the table and they either don’t pack the table or they just dump the plates in the kitchen for the maid or “caring mum”.
Drivers carry the bags of children above 5years and the children call them “my driver”.
Manual cloth washing is gradually been replaced by washing machines yet the maid or “caring mum” will be the one to do the laundry.
Children wake up and go straight to the TV and sleep late watching TV with mum & dad but mum & dad don’t allow them read late. They’ll say “go and sleep”.
I see parents play game for hours on their phones yet wonder why their children don’t read and why their results are poor despite investment in expensive schools.
I see tweenagers and teenagers who can’t cook common white rice because there’s maid, nanny, cook, “caring mum” etc.
I see children who are addicted to cheating in exams, assignments, class work and the parents aren’t taking conscious steps to correct it instead some will bribe teachers to make their children first or teach them during external exams.
I see children who talk to their parents and other adults disrespectfully and all parents say is “children of now a days are outspoken”.
Your children’s wardrobe is full of clothes but they don’t have a single book.
You buy them lots of toys but you didn’t buy them books.
I can go on and on.
See, when next you tell your child not to do house chores, study hard etc have it at the back of your mind that what you’re saying is “don’t take responsibility for your life”.
I guess parents don’t know that chores and morals are almost directly proportional to academic performance.
Haven’t you thought of it that when our forefathers went to farm, fetched water etc before or after school, the world was a better place?
Haven’t you thought of it that our local proverbs which have remained relevant were coined by illiterate men and women?
A yoruba proverb says, “eni a nwo ki wooran”….”those who make news don’t watch news”.
So when you’re mentoring your children to be T.V. addicts you should understand what you’re grooming them to be.
There are TWO PAINS in life and everyone must suffer one; PAIN OF DISCIPLINE or PAIN OF REGRET.
When you’re preventing your children from going through pain of discipline, just understand that you’re automatically preparing them for pain of regret.
Some parents feel that their children’s careers are secured because of their financial stand.
Now, let’s do this analysis;
1. You get your children a job
2. You make them take over your company
3. You set up a business for them
1. If you get them a job and they have the wrong attitude at work like been late, talking rudely to clients etc which made the company lose a big contract,will they keep them there?
2. They take over your company and your company lost within three months an amount that you didn’t make in your first five years in business due to their lack of discipline, will you pat them on the head and say I’m proud of you child?
3. They run the business shabbily and there’s nothing to show for it within few years.
The earlier we stop these pampering the better. You will give an account to God about them.
Train your child in the way he should go and when he is old, he won’t depart from it.
A concerned Parent.
so what do you think?
Be the Talk
“Our environments are so replete with institutions that extol such values that could pervert the growing adolescent. Among them::
– becoming University graduates as teenagers
-along with this, exam malpractices funded by parents.
– immorality by sugar Daddy/sugar Mommy on Campuses
– sermons in places of worship that preach only breakthroughs without much knowledge of the scriptures
– uncensored home video movies
– lack of “hands on” education that places undue importance on paper qualifications.
– unending rat race among parents leaving no time for responsible parenting, that parental responsibilities to ill prepared boarding houses
– above all, between material and spiritual education that produce brain cripples that rule the world.
All these leave bitter tastes”
Dear parent, I thought I should start off with the comment of a parent over our last topic, Remember I asked how much your child was really worth?
Will you encourage your child to cheat? What is the value you have given your child?
We live in the information change and some of us have defined it as the age of knowledge.
It does not matter if our child becomes a professor at age 21, what else have we impacted in the child?
A sense of the right values of the child being able to see his place in the world as a viable human being able to navigate through the pressures of wanting to be like his peers, setting goals for himself and taking responsibility for his actions.
I came across a conversation by some young ladies and at issue was the sexuality of girls in comparison with that of the boys. In our culture across the country, the girl child is expected to play the role of the restrained miss. She is expected to finish school, and get married in that order. Most girls are beginning to resist that role allocation, and wish to live on their own terms but there is always the sneaking feeling of being left on the shelf.
We say the biological clock of the female ticks regardless of whatever she does and so girls feel the pressure and want to rush into marriage even when they are not emotionally prepared.
What do we mean really? What is our responsibility to preparing our children for marriage, and what optics of our own marriage will they see to decide if we can be that talk?
I seemto be full of questions today. Let us really talk and be the talk of what we tell our children from when they take that first breath in our arms and we look into their eyes and love flows from us to the infant and gratitude from our hearts to the Creator for the opportunity to be the talk.