Poetry

Persuasion

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.

GROWLING FAITH

Ravens still growl,
At the dove,
They still stand with
Dead palm oil under
Their garment,
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.

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Can we talk about sexuality?

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There have been arguments for and against starting early to talk about sexuality to your child. In the wake of the rising abuse against young children, I have always believed that no time is too early.
We all know that as first educators it will be a bit much to expect your child to get educated about sexuality from outside your home. You are horrified at the very idea of that. It is therefore imperative and urgent that you ask yourself the questions and have answers ready.

Let’s look at this way, when your child was on the way, you took steps to get all the proper information that would be necessary, you went to ante-natal classes and the expectant father followed you the occasional time right?
So why would you not prepare your child for that phase in her/his life that might become bewildering if your child does not get proper briefing?

HOW DO WE START?

Sexuality is not simply about sex, so we don’t need to be embarrassed.
Tell your child that the expression of his/her sexuality is a normal component of living. The reproductive organs have their physical as well as emotional uses and a proper understanding is necessary. Children need tobe taught how to take responsibility for their body. As you teach the child how to bathe , clean, and brush you also start in age –appropriate language to show to the child that it has to take responsibility for his/her sexuality. It is not good enough to tell a child who asks you innocently what is the bump you are carrying, with the curt embarrassed words “ wait till you are married”

My daughter when she was little will watch me breastfeed her younger sister, one day unable to contain her curiosity she asked me why her sister was always eating my chest!. I stared in total surprise then I realized that the act of her sister puzzled her. I told her I was giving her younger sister milk. She piped in that there was milk at home why would I hide her sister’s milk in my chest? I explained as much as I assumed she could grasp that it was not just a chest but that I was given her sister the natural milk that nature had prepared for her through me. I let her know that I had done the same thing for her when she was her sister’s age. I explained being very small, her sister might not be able to chew as she does and Nature had planned things in such way, that what her sister needed was food that contained everything. I took the opportunity to tell her that as she gets older, being a girl, she would develop breasts too and she could give her own baby food that way. Of course like a child, she would not leave it at that, every parent knows about the endless questions of children! What I do when I am stuck with a barrage of questions like that, I offer to find out the answers. Sometimes you get respite that way. However, saying you are going to help look for the answers does two things, you get the respite, and you also show to the child, that no one has all the answers all the time. You build trust that way.

THE PARENT IS FIRST EDUCATOR
Parents are naturally the first socializing agents for your child. Your child will ask you the questions first. It is your chance to establish core family values. Your opportunity to bond and establish a relationship. You will find that as time goes on this relationship becomes fluid and changes form and substance but then that is life, and you flow and are fluid with it. You have the chance to transmit love and understanding. You thus need to develop communicating skills when it comes to issues of sexuality. You seize every opportunity looking for the right moments. Definitely, you are not going to be discussing with your six year old, what is best discussed when the child is entering puberty.
Parents must learn age- appropriate answers to give.

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Talking about sexuality… Ready or scared?

Will you really talk about it?

Your child at any given point needs to be reassured that they will not be judged, distrusted when they tell us things. You know how it is that we are suspicious of most things they tell us. We sense that that they have the edge over us and in our helpless recognition, we suspect every sentence they tell us. Right? I know because I have experienced it too, with my mother and with my children. One would assume that if you had experienced the pain of telling your mother the truth and she stares at you withat look that tells you, she is wondering if you are normal, obviously she doesn’t believe a word you have said. Remember the inward helpless sigh and then you gradually go quiet as you experience that sinking feeling of despair and you ask yourself, “why bother?”

The most difficult subject to discuss amongst parents and children is their sexuality. Both sides of the divide never really feel comfortable talking about sexuality. As parents we know everything and nothing. We speculate, are worried and mask our concern with threats, dire warnings, hold conversation in our head with the child and we are shocked when we know deep within us that we are anxious. There is a longing to have a dream child, who knows exactly what we want and like some automaton simply fits into place.

We seem to forget that we were not dream children to our parents and had given our own parents anxious moments too.

Most times children can’t bring themselves to discuss their sexuality issues with us, because they don’t want to be teases, punished, or judged  if they ask most of the questions that keeps them awake. Yes, just like you , children do want to know they have your goodwill . Children want to feel they are trusted. But how are they tomanage the peer pressure that they experience?

So how do we make effective communication between us and the child we love so much and had prayed for?

How do we know what to say, when we should say it?, correct misinformation, and even use the teachable moments?

Making effective communication is a requirement every parent should learn how to do always.

We will still continue on this subject next time.

Please send questions

Here are some of mine

How much will be too much?

Can we talk about this?

Am I making my child promiscuous if I mention the word sexuality?

Do I really know all the answers?

When is the right age to talk about sexuality?

How do I start?

Watch out for the next post

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When Parents Dream…..

For me it was not going to happen, I knew it from the moment she started telling me how she loved their white clothes. My heart sank each time she started the subject. I had a rebellious streak. Father passed away in my last year in secondary school, being a nurse would have been the next best thing. However I was not buying into that. We stared at each other. I was close to tears but stubbornly refused to back down. I told her very firmly that I had not the slightest intention of going to a nursing school. In the first place I was not going to have any relative pay for my nursing fees or any fees for that matter. I wanted to be a surgeon and since my father had passed away I was reviewing my choices. There was pain in mother’s eyes as she had to painfully let go of her dream of seeing her daughter wear the nurse’s uniform.
Years later it set me thinking, do parents live their dream through their children. I met quite a lot of parents who tried to push their children to one profession or the other. Tope was one of them. He got admission to read medicine at one of the best universities in the country. His father swelled with pride each time he told us and we all assumed that Tope would one day don the short coat of a doctor, I even envied him as I had wanted to be a surgeon remember? Then Tope came to look for me and I saw his discomfort. After a lot of nervous coughing he blurted out that he would be graduating as an accountant and had secured the firm that he would do his articleship. The shock was that his father had assumed that Tope would be going for his clinicals and housemanship.
Tope stared at me, he asked me to break the news to his father. I gulped asking him why he had kept quiet about his change of course. He shrugged and said, there was no way that he could tell his father about such a change. He explained that in the second year, he had quietly changed to accountancy , kept his grades clean and maintained a decent CGPA he had not had any problems, he did not fancy cutting people up and would have made a terrible doctor he explained.
We sat in silence as I had picture of breaking the news to his father. I did not look forward to that assignment, and I remembered my mother and I sighed. When parents dream…Could I one day be guilty of this? In Nigeria of those days, children of the sciences were valued and I remembered that my principal had insisted that I was going to be a science student even the fact that I consistently failed physics and was indifferent to Mathematics. He had a faith in me that was agonizing for me? I was happy debating, acting, reciting poetry but was stuck in the science class.
I became a firm advocate of career counseling thereafter because the opportunity became clearer to allow the child to choose irrespective of the dreams of our parents.
I became a parent and I understood why parents dream. I caught myself telling my children that they should opt for professional courses. Something that they can be masters of when they leave school and have to fend for themselves in a world that had rapidly changed from what I knew of it.
As a parent, I had dreams of them becoming self -reliant, the government jobs were gone, factories and industries needed a different kind of worker. You no longer needed to have understanding of the general Rules of the civil service code anymore. Nobody wanted to be in service to a nameless person but children wanted to hold their survival firmly in their own hands.
There was now the age of technology and the world had shrunk to a village.The language was now different, abbreviated to a level that you needed a dictionary ….a new dictionary to understand new words. Can Parents still dream?
We need to look for new dreams and search through our hopes and prayers what should be the pattern of our new dreams.
Sometimes we look at our children, they are now children of a new age , a new vision, it is fast paced and the parents have become the children as they look on confused, grasping at their dreams. Time to take a look and see what you can safely dream about
The world still need love, decency, uprightness, justice and we may still dream of honesty in the blind rush for money.
I take a look round and still tell my children, there is still opportunity, to be decent, have a sense of justice and fairness, be upright, share love to another human being and be a creature of the Creator. Now maybe the colour of the dreams may change but these values like threads run through life.
Be a man in the cascading confusion of a new age
Now when parents dream…… they see hope of a new dawn for man

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Is your child on the shelf?

“It is like this, I really can’t make up my mind if she is now redundant or her second value is non existent. Years ago Dayo was ready to have a stroke if Gbemi even hinted at having a boyfriend. I didn’t mind then. I agreed with him as I did not fancy looking after an illegitimate child while her school programmes was disrupted. So I joined and made quite a few threats myself. Dayo my hsband spoilt her rotten, gave her a car when she turned twenty one, rented her an apartment a proper flat not the famous one bedroom holes her mates were renting at that time.

Gbemi to all intents and purposes did not lack anything. She did us proud too at graduation, five prizes at faculty level and best graduating from the university. I felt a bit uneasy that she did not want to have a party as she graduated, but I shrugged it off. She did her masters and went to announce she was going to Scotland for her doctorate. I smiled and asked her when she was bringing a boyfriend home for us to vet. Gbemi shrugged that the man has not turned up. Suddenly I felt something was wrong, I remembered with shock that my daughter turned thirty a few months back, then I felt chills wondering if something was wrong with her. Seriously I started playing back in my memory the suitors that had been turned down by her father and how they had gradually dried up and I became uneasy. What have I done? Is Gbemi now on the shelf?” Tinu turned very worried eyes to me.

I wondered too. Gbemi is tall elegant, a really beautiful girl who should have been married a long time ago. What could be the problem? I made comforting noises to Tinu while I promised to have a talk with Gbemi at the earliest opportunity.

I had a chance a few days later when Gbemi came to see me. I watched this very beautiful lady come down from her expensive jeep as she scooped my grand-daughter in her arms. Gbemi loves children and would spend time with her young nieces and nephews. I commented that it seems she is taking her time about having children of her own. A frown came over her beautiful face as she replied that a woman needs a man before she gets pregnant right? I said yes but that I didn’t think she was in dire need of males as I was sure they would have been banging her door down. She gave me a look and flopped down on my worn couch and grinned.
“Aunty, Dad made such a do about me waiting for the right man and kept raising the bar that I think he made men redundant to me for a long while. If I could just get pregnant I probably will forget about the idea of marrying. I don’t want to be baby mama’ Gbemi made such a sound of distaste as she said the last two words ‘baby mama’.
“Hmm I see” was my comment but I wondered.

“Marriages are not just for the faint hearted you know” I told her wondering if maybe I should recommend Lola Babalola’s book to her.
If you keep looking for Mr. Right , you must be mentally ready you know I told her and we discussed what the issue could be.

“Aunty I am an old maid, looking for the kind of man Daddy says can make me happy, and if I am not lucky soon, I might just decide to remain a lonely miss in my big lovely house and expensive cars, men keep their distance, what can they offer me? I seem to have everything already. To all intents I might be on the shelf already”
There was silence as she finished, then she gave a bright smile but the smile did not reach her sad eyes.
Is your child on the shelf? I pondered for a long time. We all made such a fuss about getting an education, getting a career started and in the crush of our crowding ambitions left out the concept of thinking of starting a family. We need company along the road of the highway of life.
You might ask the question whether it was in anyway paramount in a woman’s life to get married at all.
As parents, and African, we are beset with the doctrine that we must carry on the line and we dream of the day when we sit at the high table as parents of the bride and groom. When we link our values with another family forming new threads and links.

As a parent we look forward to that day when the baby who cried anf held our finger is helped to start his/her own family. We feel we are discharging our responsibility as we hand over the baton.
However, we need to ask ourselves as responsible and effective parents, how well have we prepared our child to handle a relationship outside the family?. Have we made our child ineligible to have a healthy relationship?. Have we spoilt them to such a level that they can’t handle challenges of relating with others? Have we given such a doctrine that they are incapable of learning tolerance and understanding of strange moral codes and ethos that may be different from ours?. Have they become marooned on our myopic island that they cannot survive? Have we bred hothouse plants that wilts from the first puff of reality?
Is your child left on the shelf?

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Can you ask about the first time?

The language of sex and your child
I had to think for long moments before daring to start a topic like this. I am Nigerian and no matter what we say, the subject is something we squirm about and look everywhere but at our children.
Let me ask you a simple question, have you ever asked your child what the first time felt like? Or on the other hand, have you ever wondered what your child’s sex life is like?

You know, you suspect, worry and you are sometimes reluctant, or simply don’t even think about asking.
Tinu told me this, (of course I am not using her real name but that will do) “I didn’t think much of asking my daughter Wura if she had been to bed with her boyfriend. Just felt she was still innocent. I mean I melt each time she focuses those brown eyes o me and makes a request. Her dad can’t seem to resist her either, so I felt well, she really doesn’t need to be anything but her innocent self. I never thought of her in terms of physical intimacy with a man. Sure, she introduced her boyfriend to me and I was being the ‘modern’ mum when I said it was okay for him to visit her at home. The poor wretch looked personable and did not talk stupid, you know, start every sentence with ‘as in’. Then I walked into the kitchen of all places and there he was fondling my girl and she was giggling. I let out a yell and chased him out of the house. My daughter was very shocked at my reaction. She stared at me stunned, then ran after him. It took a while before we were calm enough to talk. I never wished to see the disgust on her face when she asked me if I was waiting for her to ask permission before her first sexual experience. What have I done? Tinu asked me in pain”
I understood her confusion and cultural shock. We had grown in a society where you did not discuss your monthly circle and here was a daughter freely making out in the kitchen of her parents. How high was the leap? What were the consequences? Is it modernity or plain stupidity?
We stared at each other, confused and anxious, because there is always cases of rape of young persons reported almost daily in one newspaper or the other, how do we balance that with a natural reticence not to talk about sex and this was not even rape!
Remember I posted a few weeks back things you must teach your child about physical safety with uncles, aunties and family relatives. This is different though and somehow deep inside you are not sure you feel comfortable with that level of freedom.
Roseline was outraged when I shared this with her and she has a son. “Tope would not dare bring a girl into my home much less take her to his bedroom, I will castrate him first!”
I was stunned by her own answer. I asked why, she glared at me then sighed; “I don’t want to be an emergency mother in law to some stupid girl who can’t keep her legs crossed around my son. Girls are always on the lookout to snag a rich husband and they use stupid words like being someone’s ‘baby mama’. What the heck does that mean? They are not thinking of settling down, but just be a parasite on some stupid male who has no control over his zipper!”

I couldn’t help laughing watching her face and seeing she was in earnest. Later though I contemplated what she said. The social media these days is replete with all types of relationships and maintaining some sense of reason is becoming hard by the day.
When does our responsibility end as a parent? Do we just feed them, send them to school or do we have the responsibility to give them a viable moral compass?
How can we give them a moral compass if we have not evolved a viable one that will suit our sense of values?
I seem to have a lot of questions and I am praying that a parent or two will answer these questions for us.
I will look forward to that.

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REVIEWS: HELPMEET BY LOLA BABALOLA

The question is, are marriages made in heaven?
When you pick up the papers to read, you are fed with stories and pictures of marriages that have broken down. Some have been marries for a while, some for far much longer. It is those long marriages of twenty plus years that sadden me. A friend of mine who had been married for twenty four years walked away and I felt really bad. If you had stuck with for that long, why walk now? Then you read about the wife killing the husband, do you stick an association where mutual respect has been downgraded to zero? I know a young woman who says she really does not think marriage is meant for her, because she could not be sure the gentleman of today might not turn out a monster later. Why do people get married and picking from my guest today, what role is the woman to play? I do remember that the Lord is reputed to have said he He was creating a helpmeet for the man. HELPMEET. That was the word that struck me when I saw the book. It resonated with me. It is not a book for Christians alone but for women of all ages, creed and race. That was what I found comforting. I did not have to be of a particular faith. I could read it as a manual, a guide, letit be my friend on a lonely confused night.
One hundred and forty five pages of inspirational and intuitive sensing of the role of the woman in this wonderful creation.
The cover art was also interesting as it spokes volumes, the deep roots of life together on a journey holding hands and connecting.
It is a fairly long read, but I am sure you will not notice as I had to restrain myself from asking endless questions.
Let us meet the author Lola Babalola
1. Let’s get to know you
My name is Oluwafunmilola Babalola. I am an intercessor and the wife of Olajide Babalola, an Architect and generational reformer. We are both ordained Pastors and family counselors. We are blessed with six beautiful children. My professional background is strategic communications and I have quite a few years of experience from both the private and development sectors, so I consult across both sectors but my job title these days is Mum.
2. Is this your first book?
I have been writing for many years and have published my poetry on the world wide web. I am also the Founder of a pure play company called Feelnubia.com, where I have been writing for about 6 years. HELPMEET is however, my first published work.
3. Why did you write this book?
I must make a quick clarification. I will say I was the Editor but I cannot claim to be the Author of this book.
Back to the why:
Although I shared some of my personal testimonies in it, HELPMEET was written on the instruction and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to encourage women to contend for marriage of their dreams by equipping themselves with the knowledge of God’s original plan for a wife in the life of her husband. That knowledge liberated me as I wrote and read over the manuscript. It continues to take me closer to God’s heart for my marriage as I read it and I am blessed by the numerous testimonies of both single and married women who have read both the manuscript and the published work.
4. Do you think marriages are made in heaven?
I believe that each one of us is created as a unique expression of a multifaceted and gloriously complex God who is as real to us as we allow Him to be. If you invite Him, He will guide you through pretty much every aspect of your life the least of which is not marriage. In fact, I venture to say that marriage is the most important individual decision you will ever make in your life, second only to the decision to stop blindly driving one’s own life and hand it over to the direction of the only Person competent to navigate one through life’s journey. So, my answer to your question is not a simple refutation or affirmation. If you invite God into the preparation, selection and martial process, your marriage could very well be made in heaven!
5. In your view, what would be grounds to seek divorce?
This answer would depend on the worldview to which you subscribe. These days, I live my life for Jesus Christ and the Bible, which is my Standard Operating Manual (if you will) prescribes adultery as grounds for divorce. In practise however, there are many reasons why a person might seek or welcome divorce. The Bible also shows us that Jesus is big on love and forgiveness, while clearly stating that God hates divorce and for good reason too. Some of the reasons a couple might find themselves at the brink of divorce are logical outcomes of the foundation of that marriage in the first place. When we rush through our preparations and decision to marry, it is inevitable that some signs we ignored or trivialized would come back to haunt us. Furthermore, many of us do not appreciate the gravity of the covenant of marriage so these days, you hear married persons say casually: ‘I will walk’ over seemingly trivial issues.
Divorce can solve some problems but it is not always the magic pill that our fast-food convenience culture presents it to be. Many marital or relationship problems persist beyond the divorce, as couples that have children continue to deal with one another nonetheless. Divorce does not take away my poor decisions, immature management or reaction to a problem. It does not wipe out my own mistakes. It passes the buck somewhat but it oftentimes compounds the problem. My encouragement to anyone considering divorce is that each person should honestly examine their reasons. Is this situation remediable, forgivable? If not, why?
In HELPMEET, I was able to address some uncommon perspectives about divorce and I quote:
“There are women who have turned marital challenges and betrayals such as domestic abuse, adultery, even homosexual confessions around and built strong happy marriages out of the ruins of such calamity, while others have understandably found it impossible to navigate past those deeply difficult and painful experiences”.
Also, from another section I quote:
” It Takes A Life-Time To Correct A Marital Misstep
Even after divorce, couples find that the scars of their previous marriage lingers, colouring every subsequent relationship and interaction for as long as they live. It becomes a condition many live with, learn to manage but never quite overcome. Perhaps that is why God hates divorce because it creates a wound in our spirits from which we hardly ever completely recover. Even after they are healed, these wounds tend to cause a mutation from the scarring such that we are no longer quite who we were before we got married to that person and can never return to being the person we would have been had we not been through the experience of a failed marriage. This sobering thought should make us unwaveringly determined to get marriage right the first and only time.”
5. In your view, what would be grounds to seek divorce?
This answer would depend on the worldview to which you subscribe. These days, I live my life for Jesus Christ and the Bible, which is my Standard Operating Manual (if you will) prescribes adultery as grounds for divorce. In practise however, there are many reasons why a person might seek or welcome divorce. The Bible also shows us that Jesus is big on love and forgiveness, while clearly stating that God hates divorce and for good reason too. Some of the reasons a couple might find themselves at the brink of divorce are logical outcomes of the foundation of that marriage in the first place. When we rush through our preparations and decision to marry, it is inevitable that some signs we ignored or trivialized would come back to haunt us. Furthermore, many of us do not appreciate the gravity of the covenant of marriage so these days, you hear married persons say casually: ‘I will walk’ over seemingly trivial issues.
Divorce can solve some problems but it is not always the magic pill that our fast-food convenience culture presents it to be. Many marital or relationship problems persist beyond the divorce, as couples that have children continue to deal with one another nonetheless. Divorce does not take away my poor decisions, immature management or reaction to a problem. It does not wipe out my own mistakes. It passes the buck somewhat but it oftentimes compounds the problem. My encouragement to anyone considering divorce is that each person should honestly examine their reasons. Is this situation remediable, forgivable? If not, why?
In HELPMEET, I was able to address some uncommon perspectives about divorce and I quote:
“There are women who have turned marital challenges and betrayals such as domestic abuse, adultery, even homosexual confessions around and built strong happy marriages out of the ruins of such calamity, while others have understandably found it impossible to navigate past those deeply difficult and painful experiences”.
Also, from another section I quote:
” It Takes A Life-Time To Correct A Marital MisstepHelpmeet fincvr
Even after divorce, couples find that the scars of their previous marriage lingers, colouring every subsequent relationship and interaction for as long as they live. It becomes a condition many live with, learn to manage but never quite overcome. Perhaps that is why God hates divorce because it creates a wound in our spirits from which we hardly ever completely recover. Even after they are healed, these wounds tend to cause a mutation from the scarring such that we are no longer quite who we were before we got married to that person and can never return to being the person we would have been had we not been through the experience of a failed marriage. This sobering thought should make us unwaveringly determined to get marriage right the first and only time.”
6. How would you advise a battered wife or an abandoned one?
In life, we have little control over the things that happen to us. The only part of life’s experiences we control is how we react to the curve balls that might be thrown to us. Both men and women have experienced physical or emotional abuse as well as abandonment. Some abusers are psychologically handicapped and require intervention to amend their responses to stress. Some find that in different relationships or circumstances, they are not aggressive or predatory. Often times, abuse is accompanied by other behavioral problems but all marital problems have a cause and effect. The effect might be disproportional to the cause but it has a cause nonetheless.
Some abuse might be accompanied with signs apparently escalating towards resulting in or serious physical or emotional damage. If the victim seeks divorce or finds him/herself served divorce papers, the truth is that divorce (while greatly damaging) is not the unpardonable sin. With wisdom and divine guidance, people can move on from divorce beyond the conventional levels.
If you have problems in your marriage, you could choose to go it alone or turn to popular wisdom. An uncommon option is in the book HELPMEET and I quote: If you find yourself confronted with marital problems,
“…you need to return to the manufacturer and turn in your warranty. Go to the Lord, the author of marriage and… give Him a blank cheque and wait on Him for instructions, which you must follow to the letter however foolish they may sound. He is able to turn around for good what is meant for the trash cans but that wisdom and technology is not in any man’s possession. You must wait on Him though, for your own specific instructions, rather than following the instructions given to someone else who was in similar circumstances.”
I must add however, that if you consider your life to be in danger, you would be best advised to first put some physical distance between you and your assailant, while you await further instructions or seek godly counsel.
Should parents help in determining the helpmeet of their children

As a parent, your influence on your children’s decision about their marriage is not so much in talking them into or out of a choice but something that begins long before you the parent even get married. As soon as you become aware that you are to be married one day, you should begin to pray about your yet-to-be-unveiled spouse, your life together and your children (biological and spiritual). This perspective adds a weightiness to your own decision which will certainly not be lost on your children as you recount it over the years to come. Marriage makes or mars destinies: yours and that of your seed after you!
One piece of wisdom that I acquired through penning this book is the realization that each one of us is part of an intricate whole. Your story began long before you were born and continues long after you would have died. You are a unique, wonderfully unduplicable expression of God and the culmination of the dreams and hopes of many, many of your progenitors who came before you, as well as an ancestor to generations to come. Your decisions and choices will impact your children and their children either as examples and a blessing or lessons and a burden to them. That singular perspective will guide your children as well as it will do for you.
8. I am intrigued by your choice of the word helpmeet? Please explain.
It was not my choice, actually. Please remember that earlier on, I admitted that I wrote this book by instruction and inspiration. In that sense, I was simply the Messenger.
Having said that, I do know though that the book’s title is taken from the scripture in the exact form that it is recorded in the King James’ version at the point in scriptural reckoning when man’s need for a wife was articulated by God. The Lord said: ‘I will make [man] a help meet for him’ This means a help that is apt, just right, precise and commensurate with his need. Help meet in the original text of the Bible means ‘strength’, which is a paradigm shift from the way women are perceived; as the weaker vessel.
I believe the title was chosen for that reason, to unveil the deeper and true meaning of a wife’s identity and purpose in her husband’s life. To quote from the book:
“While at first glance, the difference [between WIFE and HELPMEET] might appear to be nothing but a matter of semantics; it is actually a matter of perspective. This perspective is often what determines the failure or success of a union.”
9. What is your perspective of the true role of the wife to have a blissful marriage?
It came as a surprise to me as I read the manuscript that the true role of a wife is to live for another, to be a “life laid down”, laying down her strength and pouring out her life in obedience to God as a demonstration of God’s unconditional, unrelenting and unselfish love for her family. To quote from the book:
“It Is Not About You
Women have been sold a lie. That lie is the idea that happiness in life is about what we can get from other people, how much they love us, value us and give us. Nothing is further from the truth. A self-centred life is a very hollow life and the stuff that misery is made of. TrTrue happiness comes from service to others. Loving THEM, giving to THEM, valuing THEM and serving THEM. ‘Except a grain falls to the ground, it yet abides alone’
No fruit ever becomes a tree by sitting pretty in the fridge. It must be eaten and its seed thrown in the dirt, covered by earth, to all intents and purposes it must die: rot and decay first, before its essence is regenerated, then it germinates and begins to grow. If it wants to remain un-un-eaten, clean, pretty and comfortable, that fruit will not amount to much by itself. It will ultimately rot and be thrown away, not even fit to be eaten anymore. Yet, within that one fruit is a seed that has the potential to become a forest, if only it would let itself be thrown in the dirt and be covered by earth. When we learn to live for others, we discover that the beauty of love is buried deep within our sacrifice.”
10. Share your thoughts on the following as they affect a marriage
a) drunken husband
b) flirtatious wife
c) disrespectful children
The foundation of a marriage is a strong determinant of its outcome. The Bible tells us that “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him from them all”. The effect of problems on a marriage are determined long before those problems arise. What is your philosophy of life? Where do you get your compass, your navigational tool for marriage? Will you permit problems to derail your marriage or strengthen it? That perspective is one which we tend to choose before we embark on the voyage of marriage. Did my marriage vows include the words: “…For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health…”? Did I even hear them or did I just mumble them without any consideration for what I was saying or what the words mean? Some couples now leave those words out. That already says a lot about where that marriage is going. The Scriptures tell us about two houses: one build upon sand and another built upon a rock. We learn that WHEN the storms come, the one built on the rock would stand through the storm. Please note that the scriptures did not say IF the storms come, it said WHEN. Problems are inevitable. They just present in different forms.
Marriage is a covenant, a vow, an oath between you as an individual and God. Your spouse just happens to be a beneficiary of that covenant. What excuse will you give God for not delivering on your vows, which you made with your free will?
11. Who do you intend this book for?
This book is written for women who are married or for single ladies whom marriage is a desirous estate. As it says in the preface:
” This book is written for both Christians and non-Christians alike, in response to the call of the Lord to inspire hope and faith in the hearts of women all around the world. This is a call to women to understand that God wants a wonderful life for them and marriage does not need to be excluded from that life. Marriage is not a journey for the feeble-hearted nor the double-minded, but you do not need to give up on your ideal of marriage. This book is written to give you a clear vision of God’s purpose in designing marriage and will help you to understand that purpose in order to give focus to your desires and aspirations. It will help you to contend for the marriage that God intends for you to have, one in which you are fulfilling purpose and within that purpose, you will be able to enter into peace, all round prosperity and walk in your destiny.”
“More women than ever are opting to pursue [other] goals to the total exclusion of marriage. If that is you, this book might not be of any interest to you”.
12. Please give us links to how we can get a copy of the book
Please search for the book on Kaymu, Amazon (Book) worldwide or Waterstones Bookshops UK, using the search parameters: HELPMEET, LOLA BABALOLA
13. Will you be interested in answering questions on a counseling basis from readers of your book?
It will be my great privilege.
14. Give us a an address where we can send such questions
Kindly email me: lola@babalola.com.
Thank you very much for honoring me and reviewing my work.

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Who is the adolescent?

Who is the adolescent really?
Have you ever felt real frustration talking to your child and she looks at you blankly for as long as you were ‘yakking’, then she sighs and asks you what is the next thing you want?
Both of you know at that moment that you have wasted each other’s time. There is a tiny sense of despondency within you for you know the message you want to pass is very vital but you just can’t seem to get it through her thick head right.?
Don’t give up, and assume that a demon may have possessed her or you ascribe the issues to a relative or the other.
Every parent at some level needs to be an effective parent and as much as it is instinctive for some, it is for the most part an art you need to acquire too. I know most parents really need to be communicative in teaching the child the different realities of life and you must teach it well before you assume you have done your best. It is not going to be enough to put your hands up in the air, give up and consign your child to the influences of others who really don’t care.
Why do you need to talk with your child anyway? How about considering these reasons?
• As a parent, you have the most influence over your child
• Your child trusts you
• Your child needs to know facts about its sexuality very early in its growing years, we hear cases of child abuse, young girls taken off and married off. We must learn what they should know, and it is now urgent
• Children particularly teenagers face a lot of peer pressure, it is not enough to just bark orders, you must learn to talk more, listen and guide.
• It is an opportunity to help the child build values, and ethics that will serve the child. If you have family values, this is the time to start passing it on.
• You must have the facts, not the myths always so that your child can trust the information you pass on.
• You will need to pass information in teachable and comfortable way, to allow your child understand that the information is in the child’s best interest. Don’t fall into the temptation of giving dire warnings and issuing threats. It does not work.
• Children are naturally inquisitive and will explore things, test your facts and your value system against what they read, pick up from the internet, learn to be one step ahead as much as you can.
• Your child need to know that you are always seeking for information that will be helpful for it and it creates trust if you are willing to tell your child that you will find out about a subject. Don’t act the ‘know it all’ parent.
• As a parent, you should be the first to educate your child about sexuality issues. Remove the mystery and simply be factual so the child builds self respect and personal value system
• Know your child, it is important to be aware of the child’s weaknesses, concerns and let the child know you trust the child to overcome these weaknesses and give your child the sensing that you know the strengths and highlight those strength often to the child.
• Negative media messages are threats to your child’s self esteem, counter these messages by always giving the correct facts. We all have different body shapes and a girl watching ultra slim celebrities will be under peer pressure. Explain to your child that the body evolves and there are different body shapes for different personalities.
Contrary to what we think sometimes, not all adolescents are on the make and getting through to them, discussing their bodies with them in a relaxed and easy manner helps them over their confusions and might also give you a handle on living with your child. It is not okay to give very dire warnings every time or threaten that you feel the child is going to come to grief one of these days. We should show faith, constant trust and be ‘available ‘ always.
On one last point, our shop will open soon and you might want to browse through to pick up a few things.
We will talk very soon and if you do like what you have read so far, why don’t you subscribe so we simply drop our next chat in your mail box and you can remain current.
Finally we will love to have your contributions and comment as well.
Remember, every parent was once a child.

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Does your child respect you

Honour thy father and Mother
“When you hear the words “Thou shalt honor thy Father and Mother” how do you read it as a parent?” I asked my friends this question early in the week and asked permission to use the replies of two of my friends to use as lead in for this topic.

Layi Ademokoya: Notwithstanding that God did not give condition for obedience of this command, a parent should live an honourable life that will encourage their children to obey the command. A man in an incestuous relationship with his daughter does not deserve that honour even if it is given on compliance with God’s command. Afterall, the holy scriptures in Ephesians 6:4 enjoins fathers ” And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord”.
Adebimpe Akindele: No, all elderly people ni o. Gbogbo awon to ba ju ni lo.(Translation, it applies to all elderly people anyone that is deemed as older) Even a times those who are anointed by God even though you may be older than them. There is need to always respect those younger to oneself because no one knows tomorrow, another reason is, respect begat respect. And the respect your parents law has a rider”that your day may be long”. It’s very important, because automatically it becomes a curse when one disrespect an elder and without the elder laying any curse.

So what do you think? Is that commandment actually meant for the children or the parents? Let’s look at a couple of situations.
A father who comes in drunk every night cannot be said to have done anything to honour the concept of fatherhood can he? How will a child honour a father who goes into rages every once in a while and has bad language to boot and belts everyone he can lay his hands on? Could we really ask the child to honour father in that regard?
My friend Adebimpe seems to sense that it meant really that we should honour the elderly. Would the elderly have honoured the age that they are as to make the children honour them?
Let me ask our mothers, how will a child honour mother if she is a slave to any type of fashion whether it suits her person or not? You know the kind of mother who seems to be perpetually competing with her daughter and is always wanting to wear the same clothes as her teenage daughter. The kind of mother who is willing to allow other men paw her skin while her daughter is around and notes it. What is there to honour in such a mother?, I ask.
There is no such thing as a perfect parent and we all know it but we do get guides from higher sources if only we listen.
That commandment is directed more at parents than the child. When we as parents in our activities create an environment of the high qualities we are endowed with we are likely to make children honour father and mother.The conditionality attached becomes possible because in seeing our parents as potential role models we learn how our days may be long
You might think I am preaching but if you give a few thoughts to the idea I am sharing with you, we might see how we are flouting that commandment. There are societies in the world that have evolved a healthy respect for their elderly citizens.

I have come across parents who have encouraged the demoralization of their children because they gave the excuse of being very poor. Poverty does not preclude us from decency. When a mother looks the other way as her daughter brings home all types of men and accepts gifts, from those men twice her daughter’s age. She has precluded herself from all honour and it will be hard to ask the child to honour motherhood .
What we really are looking at is our responsibilities as parents. Fatherhood brought to a level that inspires respect from the child and helps the child to see you as a role model and mentor guiding the child into maturity.
The same applies for motherhood, a womanly chaste nurturing, that ennobles all those who come into her orbit. The woman we have learned determines the spiritual outcome of a nation through her very nature. Let’s look at it this way and think about it.

The world is full of swindlers, thieves, reprobates, bad politicians or any manner of negative people, but they are children to some parents. Do you get my drift?
Where will you place your child? When next you hear the words or the command, “thou shalt honour Father and Mother” please think about it and ask how much of it have you given as a father or mother.
The Creator by whatever name we recognize Him, knows we came imperfect, and must thus make our weal or wealth as human beings. However, when we take on the responsibility to invite another human being into our circle of experiencing, we have the job to make it right. Every child that has come is the right child for us and we learn and grow by the passion and care we put into making ourselves the right parents
We can change the world only if we imbue our children with the right mores and ethics. If we make them look at the world through our lenses and if those lenses portray a decent world to the child.
It is easy to be despondent and cynical and ask ourselves that what is the point?
The point is we all are responsible for the mess the world is in right now because we are the parents.
Next time remember, “Thou shalt honour Father and Mother”. It is an order we should obey.
Chat soon