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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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Conversations with Mama

The pain didn’t have a location and it was not physical. But it hurt so badly I sighed awake for three straight nights. I was also embarrassed. I remembered mother. Then I prayed weeping silently in remorse. Could I talk with mother now? But then, I still felt pain about the whole episode. Forty three years was a long time to hold pain and Mama had been dead for twenty years of that time. We had not talked for the first fifteen years after mama passed, the pain was too raw all that time. I had simply ignored all the silent promptings that explained it was in my best interest to hold mama in love.

The horror of one day in Time, being brought to face the chasm of lovelessness had forced me to get a firm grip of myself and I made the first tentative approach to talking. I had no idea where mother was now in the beyond, I had not even prepared her seat so she could sit with the ancients. So I had to call her with my thoughts and use my love to search for her through moonlit nights amongst the stars.
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It took a while, but finally mother responded one morning while I was in the bathroom. She simply stood in her thoughts watching me critically and then said simply, she had received the messages. I asked Mama how she was faring and gave her a critical look.
Mama looked …well….Mama had shed the toga of a ghost and looked young, in fact younger than how she was before she passed.
“So, you didn’t send me such messages just to wonder at my age do you?” Mama asked
“No, Why didn’t you give me any inkling of what you thought of Alex when I came to tell you about him” I blurted
“I did” Mama said and I could imagine she had raised her eyebrows as she always did when she thought I was asking a stupid question
“Mama, you never said what you thought was wrong with Alex, just asked that I should not get pregnant and said it was okay to agree to marry him and he promptly made me pregnant. Why didn’t you tell me about love Mama? About waiting and preparing for the Mr. Right and not living with a man out of wedlock”
“How could I tell you what I only sensed, your father wasted no time getting another woman when I did not birth a son for him, what did I understand about love too?”
“My daughter is sleeping with her boyfriend now and I don’t know what to tell her, I wish she would wait for him to come and ask for her hand properly, Alex never did for me. Three children later, I left him and live alone now. The moral standard is much lower than when I met Alex Mama and as a parent, I have tried letting my daughter know about decency, but she says she is getting on and must marry quickly or be left on the shelf”
“I see, so you want me to spook your daughter by appearing by her bed and tell her she is committing sin?”
I laughed outright, alone in the bathroom with the misty image of my mother. She still retained her sense of sarcasm and fun.

I wanted to ask her what I am not doing right about parenting, and why all I said to my daughter always sometimes ended in painful arguments and silent days of mutual hurt feelings.
I wanted to be a perfect parent, show out all I had missed why growing up and fill in the gaps.
“In short Olayemisi, you want to live your life all over again through your daughter. Interferring as usual with the threads of fate of your gift”
What?

I was alone in the bathroom and Mama had returned to history and left behind the lessons of love, prayer and patience.
Parents were never created perfect, that is why procreation was allowed, so we learn through each other and with each other.
Talk soon..

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Thank you, Grandma

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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.

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The New generation or what?

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 .
Dear Parents,
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.
Regards,
A concerned Parent.
so what do you think?

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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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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.