A FATHER’S LOVE

Yubedee Pyamene

He had created this perfect brand, everyone showered praises. Life was good. He had raised his child, the first fruit of his manhood and his pride. But looking at Dafe now, his son; he could hardly believe it was his son. This was the story of Omotayo – a business tycoon and billionaire. Though he flourished and excelled at business, for fortune had smiled on him, he never had peace. An heir to his enormous wealth, what was going to happen?

This is how it all begins..

“No one can have it all” they say; but Omotayo Akinola was going to be just an exception to that. Mr Tayo as he’s fondly called is a thriving businessman, had his second PhD at age 28, got married to his beautiful bride Lola at age 30. Life has been good to him and everything seemed like a roller-coaster ride because the rate at which he bagged achievements in business, recognition both nationally and internationally was enviable.
After ten years of childlessness, Tayo finally had a child, a male child – an heir to his business empire! Satisfied and fulfilled, you could say Tayo was; in fact, I don’t think those words perfectly describes Tayo’s state of mind at the time. He radiated with joy. Happiness filled his home. He was finally a man in the African context, particularly in the Nigerian context; for in the Yoruba tribe where he comes from, a mature male, though having the genital, even successful is not considered a full man until he has a child – a male child. But even as the day bloomed, the night gloom at the corner even darker!

Dafe being the only child of his parents at the moment was wrapped up in cotton wool. Given the best of everything; whatever he wanted, he got at the asking. All this his father did with the best of intentions but little did he know he had only just been bringing owls to Athens. Hard to swallow was the fact that at age 25, Dafe still couldn’t pass pre-med to get into medical school. His mates had finished their house-manship and were certified practitioners already; but here was Dafe – a big baby, terribly spoilt by his parents, given all the luxuries and comfort money could buy, trying to switch courses because he couldn’t cope with medicine. Well, it turned out money couldn’t buy focus.

Dafe got into the University at 17 – this marked the beginning of the troubles of Omotayo Akinola, his father. He lived a lavish life on campus. If he attend classes just half of the number of times he attended parties, at least he would have had a little thing in his head to pass his semester exams.

“How could such a dumb child come from such a smart man!” his course adviser lamented when he invited Dafe to his office due to the his poor results. All these had little or no effect on Dafe. For though the son of a billionaire, only son I mean; a young man of prospects and promise, he brought nothing but shame to his father’s name.

His mother, Lola cried inconsolably each day and his father, deeply bittered – it was better they didn’t have a child, for their live was better off earlier without a child. To crown it all, by the end of his sophomore year in the University, he had gotten five girls pregnant, had been arrested by the police severally for the use of substance; and of course, he had six outstanding courses to his name!

Recently, he came home for the holidays (this he rarely does) due to the persistent calls from his mother. Going to the airport to welcome their son after two years of separation, his mom wept uncontrollably for she could not recognise her son anymore, his father tightened his jaw and his heart was heavy. Dafe looked like a drug kingpin! His mother wailed, safe for her husband, she would have rolled on the floor in public, at the airport – a typical frustrated Nigerian mother.

Dafe had tattoos all over his body, with piercing of rings almost everywhere too – he was dressed like a thug. A young man who should be studying medicine in a private college. What a shame! Dafe brought so much shame and disgrace to his family so much so that his parents for once thought they would be better of without him. Tayo had spent so much money the last three years in hiring lawyers to defend his son in court just to avoid him being convicted. How about the millions of dollars on counsellors? It was all a fools errand,as Dafe learnt nothing from anything!

But throwing away the baby and the bath water was something Tayo swore he would never do. Regardless of all the shame and pain his child has caused him and his family, Omotayo Akinola had long resolved never to leave his son to fate as many thought he had. Love they say could be painful and could come in different shades. Omotayo had to do something about his son, this he did quickly; western union became just another bank terminology to him as he never sent Dafe money anymore, he also never listened to him on cases where he got into trouble with the police. Dafe now spent weeks and sometimes, months behind bars at local police stations.
“The-billionaire-son lifestyle” seemed over for him. As his father no longer paid attention to him. And he was now in his final year.

Love, as they say could be painful; this his father felt deeply.
Things really went south for Dafe from then on, as he got into trouble again with the cops. This was his road to Damascus, as his life never remained the same. In a bid to survive the harsh financial crisis he was in, he got busted for theft in a grocery shop – that was the final straw that broke the camels back.
Going behind bars for the umpteenth time, he stayed there for three months; missing his final exams and project work, as the police will have nothing of his pleas; he had been caught severally. Dafe never graduated. What a shame! What will people say? The son of a billionaire. What a shame!

Dafe came home for the second time in four years looking like he escaped world war II. He looked tattered and unkempt. With tears in eyes of both father and son, they embraced each other for the longest of times! A major rehabilitation had taken off in his life at that moment. Realising all he has been through and all he had done – the reproach he had brought his father, he busted out in loud cries. It was a solemn moment for Omotayo and his family; their child and baby boy Dafe, has come back to his senses.

Times past and years went by; the provost of college called the next name on the inducting list, “Akinlola Omotayo, MBBS” and the hall was filled with applause especially that of his parents, as they clapped on even after everyone had stopped. With tears rolling down their eyes, they clapped – no one would understand why.

At his speech as the over-all best graduating student. Akinlola Dafe wept too, as he dedicated his degree to the unfailing love and resilience of his parents who stood by him and still believed in him even when he didn’t believe in himself. Never mind, no one in that hall will understand the story behind that statement, except his parents.

Yubedee Pyamene Anokari: is a contributor on PAUL KAY’S BLOG. A content writer and entrepreneur. Currently a student of environmental studies at the University of Port Harcourt, an SDG advocate, passionate about personal growth and development.

UNCLE’S SWEET CANDY

Christiana Kunkala

Lest you forget; this is April and its is the SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH. On this, one of our contributors: Christiana Kunkala massages us with this. We should always be careful with our girl child.

The year was 2007, I was eight years old, running and playing through the streets of Ozuboko-ama; what did I even know? A harmless beautiful time to be alive. The only pain I could remember was staying at a place when my mum used to say “Christiana, sit at a place”, that was just a lot punishment for my little busy legs.

My neighborhood was inhabited by people from common backgrounds, everybody knew each other’s family. To the best of my knowledge, we were one; especially as we spoke the same language. Fondly called ‘kelepe‘, I would go about greeting people and playing with teddy bears; though, it was plastic. We had this light skinned carpenter who saw me the other day and said “this girl you done big finish oh” in the Nigerian pidgin English which translated to “this girl, you are now grown”. In my spirit mind I said, “the guts!”

The other day, my mum and I were having a conversation. We talked about that neighbor hood, then something stroke. You know somehow, our brain has a means of removing sick memories from our head or make it a little less repulsive.

My eight years old busy legs had found its way to our family friend’s, Uncle’s room. He stayed in a single room; what took me there in particular, I can’t recall. But, he handed me over 20 naira to buy that lollipop sweet. What did I even think would be wrong with that? Harmless world we live in anyway.

I bought the sweet, and continued licking it happily. Then, I saw he proposed a bigger sweet which was in flesh with a red cap. Uncle got closer, put his big sweet in my mouth and he began to thrust; while this was ongoing, he put his hands around my throat. Little me was trying not to comprehend, because my head was on fire; trying to understand what it was, trying to understand if I should chew or scream. Then I bit it, quickly removed it from my mouth and put my lollipop back in my mouth.

Somehow; what that meat smells like, keeps coming to me. This fresh meat and same time dusty book smell keeps playing in my head; it makes me feel a little sick and sad that every time a man I like takes off his trousers, I don’t feel excited. I just feel like that is a destroyer and nothing good comes out of it. It tries to stay calm and could do all wrong once directed too, why is it shaped like a blunt knife? Why does it stand so strong at the sight of a victim?

The other day I thought; if I didn’t bite, that would mean after feeding me of his manhood, he would have gone down to my womanhood to penetrate?

The girl child molestation is even more mental damaging than its physical; thinking without circumspect, Uncle would have done worse to other children. I feel apathy towards the male other, I try to fight it; after all it wasn’t so intense. But, he did it anyways and would do more if he could.

LITTLE JOY

Hannah Chiamaka Ejimofor

Photo credit: Olomoresoa


Little Joy ran out with the other kids joyfully when the power was restored. She was happy they were going to continue the ‘jungle book’ they have been watching at their neighbor’s house (Uncle T). But immediately they got to the door, she paused; the other kids ran past her leaving her in her state. Carefully, she pulled off her slippers and walked in quietly. On entering, she sat down at a corner, “Come sit here”, Uncle T called out to her as he tapped the space on the floor next to him. Joy’s eyes shone with both pleasure and fear, she quietly crept to his side and took a good posture. Few minutes later, Uncle T’s hand has found its way into her pants, he stroke and her heart fluttered; then he took her hands and laid them on his groin.

Seven years old Joy felt the hardness!

The American Psychological Association (2018) defined sexual molestation as an abusive sexual behavior by one person upon another which can be either forcefully or by taking advantage of the other person.

A girl child is a female below the legal age which is mostly eighteen years. So taking advantage of such a person sexually can be termed sexual molestation. There is no justification to it. Such a person is unaware of what sex is neither does she understand the implication of such indulgence. In Nigeria, it is an offense under several sections of Chapter 21 of the country’s criminal code and the age of consent is eighteen. So having any sexual activity with a person below this age is termed Sexual molestation.

With the high increase of cases, we can say that child sexual molestation is one of the leading crimes in Nigeria. As at 2005, UNICEF reported that one in four girls has experienced sexual violence before the age of 18 and if a research is carried out right now, you would realize that most girls had in one way or the other, experienced this act of sexual molestation.

The causes of these sexual molestation; most times, comes from poor parenting, the inability for parents to look into a child’s eye and see her needs, her troubles, her desperation and her worries. I have a friend who told her story of how she was molested by her cousin countless times. He did it to her and the other young girls around and the other girls would laugh about how the guy ‘chooks’ them and how they ignorantly look forward to another night with him. But, when he started visiting her room and ‘sexing’ her; she wanted nothing but to be heard.

If you live in a neighborhood where there are men around, it’s advisable you guard your girl child jealously and even tell her about sexual molestation and how to react to it. It’s not a sin to mention the word ‘sex’ or even give them sexual education. By so doing, they get to understand the implication of such indulgence.

Take little Joy in the story above; at this age, she is naive, she doesn’t even know what it is called. She might think it’s likeness or fondness. But as she grows to understand what happened, she tends to develop a feeling of resentment towards the opposite sex and towards sex itself. She might be prude or even have issues during sex which in turn would affect her relationship or marriage. The effect of sexual abuse on the girl child can not be hidden. It is detrimental to the girl child, sexually and psychologically. On the other hand, it can also break her values and norms; thereby, turning her into a woman who sees sex as something that can be done even without attachment.

Sexual molestation is a very dangerous act. It breaks a child and leaves them hanging on a thread that only grace could save. Take care of your girl child, try to understand her and once she starts acting up, try to know why and monitor her reactions.

A good girl is a good mother and a good mother can make good sons to make the world a better place!

THE MUTED CHILD

Ibinabo Sekibo

A controversial statement to call one who was pregnant, a virgin; but then, I don’t know how I would have classified this young lady. Well,I remember moving in to this new apartment with my boyfriend and amongst the judgmental stares I got from those already living in that environment; one stood out the most. As I later learnt, she was the one spreading the rumors of a girl who eloped with a young man. Well, that was Mama Onome, my next door neighbor. I didn’t care what was said about me, as people would say, ‘that’s her cup of tea’. As for me, I was having the time of my life with the one I loved the most.

Enough about me already, I can’t bore you before I start the main gist. I mentioned Mama Onome earlier; you would have probably guessed right, she had a beautiful girl named Onome. When I moved into the neighborhood I got to know that everyone addressed her as Mama Onome and I followed suit. She was the one with all the latest gist(gossip), you would go to purchase something from her kiosk just beside the gate and she would tell you everything that’s happening, she calls her self ‘the happening woman’. She was also the most troublesome in that environment, but the best part of her life was her daughter Onome.

Onome was so beautiful and I remember how bright her eyes were, her laughter full of life, she would run errands without grumbling unlike the other children living around. I would simply say I was drawn to her free spirit, and the way she embraced whoever ever came her way; and so even with her mother’s repulsive nature that could push anyone far away from the family, I was still drawn to her. I loved her so much and we were really close, I guess she looked up to me as the elder sister she never had.

I was really glad when she got to SS1 (first year, senior high school) although she was a very late bloomer, all tall and lanky; but before her SS1 second term, like a young lady she developed curves in all the right places. I mean curves
like that of a matured lady. She turned heads everywhere she went; a beauty with skin as black as the soil. She wasn’t just beautiful, she was also a very smart child, she already knew she wanted to be a medical doctor. So set and sure in her ways, sorry to say, but I wasn’t so sure about decisions like that at
her age. The young and old drooled over her beauty and the girls were envious and wanted her brain, everyone isn’t born the same way, no one person can be blessed in everything.

Onome was lacking so much in the ability to socialize; she was a very shy child, but I guess that’s where her problems lay. When Onome started withdrawing herself from association even more, then I knew there must be a problem somewhere or it could be one of those phases she was passing through
as an adolescent, I decided to put it off as the latter. My little friend grew worse everyday, more silent than she usually was, I passed by to work in the morning she wouldn’t say hi, she would rather stare until I was out of sight.

Now as I think back, she could not call for help but her haunted eyes did. She could not speak up but her soul screamed out. I was not naïve, but I acted ignorant and careless; she trusted me but I couldn’t reach out to her when she needed me the most. My little girl was molested and threatened to keep her mouth shut or lose the ones dear to her; while I wish her molester be paid for all the harm done to her, I wish more than everything that she would have been able to heal. Her letter said the scars were too much to cover up, but right under our nose she killed herself, bit by bit.

My princess was raped, her beauty became a curse; she could not speak up for fear of what the world would say, and the worse part was that even her mother who could have spoken up for her decided to be mute. She wanted to save her own marriage at the expense of her daughter’s life, not only was her physical body defiled but her self esteem must have also been dealt some blows; if not, how would I explain her empty eyes on her death bed. She got pregnant and while her molester tried to hide what he had done, she bled.

At that point, when she was struggling with her last breath, she told the doctors that it was her father that put her where she was; her letter was later found among her other belongings. The virgin was pregnant, and her father was the father of her child that never saw the earth. Now after she has left earth for a long time, I fulfill one of her last wishes that her story be one that the world would hear. Yes, she is gone and her molester has been put behind bars; but now I wish, she could have survived the ordeal. A cruel fate for a beautiful soul! That was how her life ended. Someone filled with lots of dreams and aspirations, and it was all snatched away; because of a gift mother nature felt she deserved.

Sekibo Ibinabo Faith is a contributor on PAUL KAY’S BLOG. She is a creative writer and a poet, she hails from Okrika Local Government Area in Rivers State, Nigeria. She got her O’levels from Princess International College. She has a few works to her credit under the pen name HighBee.

OLA, THE PREGNANT VIRGIN

“Ola, pregnant?” I asked in disbelief.

“Do you even know Ola?”, I asked Vera.

“I know Ola now, Ola is the younger sister of Onyinye”, she replied me whilst laughing.

Vera was my friend of eight years now; we had all worshipped in the same church. She was my teenage crush who enjoyed my company but wouldn’t admit it. She actually made church more interesting for me. Whatever church activity was there to attend, I made sure I was there; as far as Vera was going to be there. My lackadaisical attitude towards dressing, was weaned out of me by Vera.

My aunt whom I was staying with at the time; often looked puzzled whenever she saw me polishing my shoe fervently before going to bible class (Laughs). I remember one occasion; I rushed early to church so I and Vera could have some lone time before others would come, she didn’t come and I stayed all through the boring session. I got into choir because of Vera; I needed to see her more, hear her voice more and impress her with my deep bass voice. Whenever a sermon was rendered against ‘foolish love’ amongst teenagers; it made me angry, as that meant Vera would avoid me.

Vera wasn’t much of the holy one; but she knew how to be ‘churchy’ in and around the church premises. But Onyinye was the poster girl of the church. She was what every parent wanted their daughter to be. Ola, her younger sister was a beauty, and not just a beauty; she was an intelligent chap. Other families adored their family, especially with the good work their parents were doing with these two girls. Asides them, their elder brother was a drummer for the church. They were adorable!

How then could Ola be pregnant?

Onyinye was someone who always smiled in church, even in the hardest conditions that made me frown; and I was someone who hardly show anger facially. Onyinye was someone who was always ‘glad in the Lord’. We had always thought her sister would even be better as she seemed more introverted. If Onyinye could lead the children department, and be such a great example; then her siblings would hugely benefit.

“How possible it is that Ola of 15 years old is pregnant?”.

I asked Vera again, not for being deaf; but, I didn’t want to believe it. Ola was someone many people liked, adored and admired; I too.

What broke my heart more was not the fact that Ola hadn’t completed high school, No!

What broke my heart was that she had eloped to live with the cultist in his early twenties, who had gotten her pregnant. Her parents emaciated with time. They had even wanted to abort the baby; but she was strong headed. How could a church girl who’s a supposed virgin be pregnant? Was she another virgin Mary?

Her ‘husband’, a young man in his early twenties; no job, skill or education. How then would he take care of his ‘wife’. I felt I needed to see Ola, talk to her and let her know her life nor future can’t be truncated by this pregnancy. But I was scared, cos people would think I intend to also ‘shoot’ in her direction. Three years ago; a girl of seventeen, in her final year of high school also got pregnant; due to the stigma, neglect and shame committed suicide.

My pain isn’t about abortion; that’s a talk for another day. My issue was that these girls needed counselling after pregnancies. These girls needed proper sex education from their teachers, parents, churches, organizations, as a matter of fact from their society.

As Vera went on saying how people thought she’d get pregnant and God helped her to shame her enemies; I sat numb thinking about Ola, trying to imagine her hiding a big ball under her dress to feign being pregnant. I wondered what she could be going through; what she was doing at the time and I thought…

Must stigma come with unwanted pregnancies?

Must Ola live a life of regrets?

Must Ola always be used as the example of the wayward girl for every family?

Does unwanted pregnancy signify end of the world?

Your counsel to Ola would be valued and cherished on the comments box.

DISCLAIMER: this post isn’t meant to look like anyone; I really apologize for any similarity in names, place or situations.

FATHERS ARE NOT IMPORTANT IN THE REARING OF CHILDREN!

I was to travel this Monday morning as early as 6am! By Sunday, all my documents were complete. Every single one of them was complete. But then, I had to run around to see what more money I could be able to grab. Luckily for me, someone who owed me some amount of money paid me that Sunday evening. So, I was greedily happy; I don’t think anyone could be as happy as I was. But, I was tired as my boot was one that reared up to my lower leg; and it was quite new and tight. All I needed was to be home.

About five minutes from where I was to alight from this vehicle, I brought out my wallet and paid my fare. I could have simply put it back in my back pocket. But, I wanted to be sure I don’t forget it; so I held onto it. Inside this wallet were documents I needed to travel with: my passports, my ID cards, My ATM card and also that of my parents (Since I live with them, I hold it for them; cos I was the very careful one).

In the fullness of my confident military demeanor; who would believe I’d forget a wallet as critical as it was. Well then, it happened. But I noticed immediately I jumped down; I chased after the vehicle hoping it would stop, it didn’t. I jumped into another, whose driver asked me to get out on realizing my wallet had just been stolen. Despite my pleas, his harsh voice from his cigarette cracked lips still shouted in his thick pidgin accent, “Carry your careless self comot for my motor”.

“It wasn’t his fault”, I thought to myself.

I ran back to where I got down from the vehicle; crossed the road and waited patiently for the bus to come around. I prayed to God earnestly in my little hazy moment. Finally, the bus came and they did search; but my wallet was gone! I’ve used over three wallets since I became an adult and I’ve never lost any one of them. This was strange! After moments of gruesome lamentation; I entered another vehicle, headed home. I called my younger sister to wait at the gate as to help pay my fare.

When I got home, I told my parents; my dad initially questioned why I didn’t put in my bag. Meanwhile, this was something I always did. Then he told me, maybe this was meant to happen as it has never happened before. In his words; if this had not happen, another thing deadlier might have happened. He told me of someone who prepared a poisoned food for the child of his friend. Before the child would eat the food, the family dog had gone and finished the food. All the family members cried for the dog, because it was so lovely and had been part of the family picture for long. It was months later that they discovered the dog died in place of their son.

After this, I was trying to come to terms with my travel plans being shattered when my mom came to berate me for being so careless. This was bad for my health, but she had no idea. This Monday morning, I had ran to get everything I lost. The thing I got last was a wallet, before going home to rest. Since I couldn’t travel today, it had to be the next day early morning. I slept and woke up about 3pm to put my things in order; only for me to find out my ATM card (the new one I had made earlier today is now missing). I searched everywhere; even went to the bank that told me it’s past official hours. I almost cried; I needed to travel with this ATM card. I called my dad, met him at his office and he asked me to try and remember. I then told him of a shop I had bought stuff from.

He told me not to let my mom know about it, even if I don’t find it. When I eventually got to the shop which was over one hour away; I called to inform him that I had found the ATM card, I was so glad. Now, during those uncertain moments when my mental strength was low; he didn’t condemn me. He became a mental fortitude to me.

Now, back to my headline. I’ve seen many single moms using that (the headline) as their mantra; struggling to be a father and a mother to a child. Many times they fail; because a woman and a man cannot have the same set of ideologies. The International Women’s day was a day to celebrate the women, but most parties used it as a medium to despise and contemn the male folks. You begin to wonder why?

Most moms make sure the child is brainwashed into hating the father. You find out those children’s lives get ruined! If they’re girls, it’s even worse; as they are most times plagued with trust issues. Most times too; the men, in their quest to provide for the family; tend to neglect the family. But, every child should try to get close to both parents irrespective of sex. Because, their words, counsel, guidance, experience are indispensable. Even if I’m told my dad cheats today; I’ll let him be, if it makes him happy.

Its generally the same rule you should apply to virtually everything in life. Always filter the benefits and losses you tend to gain from someone before discarding the person. Your focus should be on the person’s strengths; the value the person brings to you, before you start counting the person’s faults.

I do hope you learn a few; let me sleep as I do have a trip to make tomorrow.

MIRACLE: SEXUAL PERVERTS ARE ON THE RISE

Good day everyone; I trust we are having an awesome day, as we prepare for St. Valentine’s day. I think that makes today St. Valentine’s day eve (winks). Well then; I brought a guest writer to share her experience with you. In a time when it appears sexual perverts are on the rise; the kind of advances women now get from the male folks is increasingly annoying. Igoche Miracle pens down her experience with much vexation.

Our guest writer is Igoche Miracle alias Shining Jewel. She’s not just a singer but also an intermediate creative writer who has been writing for eight years and is yet to publish a book.

On the 4th of February 2020; I had this disgustingly petty experience from an aged man in his late fifties. I had awoken to my father’s call, to get up and eat while he was proceeding to leave the house. Sluggishly, I rolled off the bed and unto the floor; with my feet slightly kissing the tiled floors of my bedroom. I got into the bathroom; still sluggish, I poured some cold water on my feet and then on my back and hurriedly rushed the bathing process. On getting out of the bathroom; I got a towel which I used to wipe up the moist areas of my body, I got dressed, had my breakfast hurriedly in order to meet up with my 10:00 am lecture. As at the time of having my breakfast it was 09:05 am. The moment I had concluded the routine for my preparation to school; I hit the road with a total of 1,050 naira, hoping to get change from the 1000 naira note; not minding the 50 naira I had on me which would take me from my street to the major road.

On getting to the major road, I awaited public transports that I hoped would aid me with change from the 1000 naira which i possessed. While I waited an old man who looked as if he were already in his late fifties approached me; head straight, chinned up, eyes forward, talking to me.

He said, “You’re headed to Abuja campus right(as if soliloquizing)?”.

I replied, “Yes I am”.

He said again, “I am headed for Choba campus. Okay, get on; I’ll pay for you and I”.

While he said all this, I thought to myself how fishy it sounded.

We both got into the vehicle after the little drama which transpired and headed towards our destination. On getting into the taxi he starts questioning me on my level, department and course option, which I replied to. Some moments later, he asks to have my phone number and then I tell him, “I do not give my number out” and he quickly locks up and moves away from me. Time came for him to stop at his destination and he pays for just himself. I stare in amazement to the funny scene he displayed. I ignored him knowing fully well that the driver was going to pick offence with me, once it got to my turn to pay the fare at my destination. So I seat calmly, still hoping for the money to be accepted.

Finally, I got to my destination at least (that was half of it) and it was my turn to pay but then driver rejected the 1000 naira note I offered him; then I opted to pay for two persons but he still rejected the offer. Eventually, the passenger who I opted to pay for, told me to go that he’d pay for me; So I left to continue this tragic journey with the 1000 naira note. At long last, it was changed and I finally felt settled.

I have experienced this several times and have failed to document previous experiences but this singular experience made me realize how true the rate of perverts in Nigeria is; including the stories and experiences I’ve heard from other persons.

WHY WOULD A GIRL BE THE CLASS PREFECT?

Photo source: Pexels.com

“So you mean all of you were here and a girl took the first position in this class? Now, all the boys step out; after flogging you would each bring 500 Naira each on or before Monday”. That was the form teacher of my cousin’s class. My cousin came back from school that day, telling me he won’t pay for it.

Throwback to my second year in junior secondary school; what we do call J.S.S.2. We were about to round up this class and this class was taught by one of my favourite teachers. Either Physical and Health Education or Social Studies; I think it had to be social studies. She then gave us an assignment; “Write down the responsibilities of the father, mother and children in a family”. I remember how we all laughed at someone who wrote “My father also cleans and cook for the family”. I did laugh too, because I was stunned; how could your father actually be cooking and cleaning for the family.

Another deep throwback to primary five or was it four; I was about nine or ten years old. We were taught by a teacher named Maureen; who picked a girl as a class prefect. No assistant? No, no assistant. As far as Mrs. Maureen was concerned, Ann was enough. Ann, well turned out to be ruthless; our names were always in the list of noise makers. When I toppled her from her first position; I thought she’d like me and maybe I might just be the new prefect. Nah, It was not to be; I was then very much despised by Ann. The boys, even those who were even not in our class; hated Ann for being the class prefect.

Now, let’s take it forward; I happened to meet a friend while in the senior secondary school who said he wanted to be a nurse; the laughter that erupted from me and the guys there must have been what shoved him to medicine.

I don’t know if its just in my country; but many times, you find teachers, parents, older people making comments to girls like, “you are too rough, you don’t know you are a girl”. or you find them telling a boy who’s just been injured, “why are you crying too much? You don’t know you are a boy”. Even in families, a junior brother might even be seeing disrespecting the older sister and when she seeks to confront, you hear statements like, “leave him please, you know he is a boy”.

Over time, the society has honed males and females into recurring stereotypes; where the females are to be a beautiful ‘damsel in distress’ house wife, while the man becomes a violent all controlling figure. This has led to so many cases of gender abuse, physical abuse of women and the likes. Never was a man the assistant to a lady all through my life as a student. Teachers gradually stereotyping the careers of children. You’d hear things like, “you don’t know you are a girl; you are playing football. If gender equity is to be attained; then I think we have to go to as far as the basics and of course re-orient ourselves greatly.

Do have a pleasant afternoon!

MYTH OR FACT: SPARE THE ROD AND SAVE THE CHILD?

I had various pictures to use but I just couldn’t help but use this. Once upon a time, I wanted to make this MYTH OR FACT a weekly article on the blog. But then, sometimes these things leave my head and I can’t force it. So I guess we would have it in bits and trickles.

A popular saying whilst growing up was the “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. It was a mantra for so many teachers, ranging from my primary school to my secondary schools both junior and senior. it was a saying that was usually dished right before someone was punished.

In this ‘Internet age’, many parents are usually caught up between two difficult options. They don’t know when to mete out punishments to their kids for messing up; they equally don’t know if and when to apologize to a kid for punishing them. Not like I am down playing any writer; but the emergence of writers writing on parenting has actually been on a mad rise like wild fire. Some on the internet, others on the shelves. If you search in almost every region, you’d get to find out about two or more books on parenting and of course you would also find curious parents rushing to find out ‘the secrets of parenting’. (smiles) that sounded like a book title right? I don’t know about that (and I apologize to anyone whom that is the title of his or her book).

But do you really think there is a manual in parenting? Do you feel there’s a particular way to groom a child? Most ‘civilized’ African parents who feel they have to be western, actually do not employ the use of the rod and later regret their decision. Most parents too, who felt their own parents were too hard on them, also decide never to be so to their own children. Then there are parents who feel the rod should never be spared. But, in these too; most times the child’s feelings, emotions, or even esteem is hurt, other times the child grows to become too arrogant. Most people also feel that ‘sparing of the rod’ has increased the amount of social vices; but what would we know?

I have seen kids whose parents never spared the rod yet ended badly. I’ve seen kids whose parents also spared the rod and they equally ended badly. One cannot help but ask, what then is the solution. I have a nephew of about four years old; when he lied to me the very first time I was really hurt and shocked. I didn’t beat him, I actually called him and let him know I would never beat him if he told me the truth and then later he lied again, I was really bemused. Over the years, I’ve come to know that parenting is more than just giving birth to a child or more. It entails not just providing financial support; it also entails emotional support, understanding when to use the rod, when to appeal to the child’s conscience, when to also dish out other punishments aside flogging as it sometimes harden the child up like a criminal.

If the rod should be spared or saved remains a huge question to so many parents; well…… even me too. Any suggestions you drop could be valuable to a parent, you never can know; use the comment section.

HOW HAPPY CAN A LARGE FAMILY BE?

An image of an extended family
Source: Impact Photography

So, today is already the second day in the month of January; the year is running fast, isn’t it? Good morning my awesome readers (‘awesome’ just happen to be one of the words I’m binge using). Yesterday was grandma’s thanksgiving and it was cool but my crush wasn’t in church. (chuckles). You know that feeling you get when you’ve worn what you may feel is your best and it turns out he or she isn’t going to see and admire you in the splendor of your beauty.

As much as the extended family is praised for all its strong ties and bonds; its still a fragile or should I rather say volatile environment. I believe as far as humans, it is actually difficult for us to just remain peaceful without any hate, resentment or animosity. One that saddles the extended family is competition. Almost every member of an extended family feels they are in a competition with one another. It seems like for every extended family, they shouldn’t be living together.

Yesterday, immediately after my grandma’s thanksgiving service at the church; I teamed up with my kid sister and my cousin that should be of same age with her and we went on a visiting spree. Visiting various families that might have seen us once in about five years and some also that might have been seeing us for some time was quite fun and hectic. At some homes, they really felt at ease while at some others they were in a hurry to go. There was a particular family that was exceptionally hospitable; before we could even refuse their food, they had dished and served it. Then there were some other families that were engrossed in knowing the age, class or latest qualification of even those that were not on the visit with us. Some by their faces practically wished we hadn’t visited. It was such a dynamic experience.

When I look at the division in my country, I think it stems up from the family. The extended families can never be together. When I look at two warring families, it actually bothers me to think that at some stage these were siblings that probably ate porridge from the same plate. If you look at the picture above, you’d find the family looking very happy. The real question is that are they actually that happy?

I was lucky to come from an inter-ethnic marriage that exposed me to two different tribes in Nigeria. As the first grandchild, the both families did actually try to make me download an image of the family tree. I remember once I was so interested in a particular lady before I was told her dad is related to my mom, the family tree can be so huge. Sometimes, it scares me to think that I and my cousins or even my sister won’t be in talking terms.

Now, there was something I noticed in our visit yesterday. The homes we enjoyed most were the ones we had memories with. What does that tell you? These memories could have just been made in a day or even in few hours, but it was really huge yesterday. Many times as parents, let your kids interact physically with their cousins and relatives. It helps to build family bonds and many times when you do have issues with your brother or any of your relative. Never let your children be aware of it; else you might be causing a generational war.

Extended families can actually be happy; but it would take a whole lot of commitment and sacrifice. If there are methods that worked for your extended family, do well to share in the comment section. I am sure I won’t be the only one needing your counsel.

Bon Jour mes ami(e)s