Inspiring Change Through Literature and Media
I dedicate this write up to all mothers (and mothers-to-be) out there- especially mothers of the younger age bracket of children.
If you have a school age child or a pre-teen, then you’ve got to keep learning a lot about the way the mind of your kid works, and things she or he thinks about and engages in, so as not to be taken unawares by their escapades someday!
Besides, we need to be equipped to give the necessary foundational guidance which is very fundamental at this stage of their lives.
Like it or not, your kids are growing up- and very fast too! And it might just be of interest for you to know and admit to the fact that in all likelihood, your little angels are a lot ‘smarter’ than you thought!
The fact is that at this stage of their lives, your kids are just becoming conscious of realities of life: getting more aware and engaged in goings-on around them.
According to Family TLC, preteens test limits and are just beginning to have social conscience.
At this age, they are already forming their opinion about such things as justice and equity, and they do need your help to guard their sense of judgment in the right direction lest they get it all wrong from the very start.
Here is my own experience:
Some time last week, I engaged my boys (Ed 10, and Eddy a big fat 7) on how I wished for more of their involvement in carrying out household chores.
Furthermore, I spoke about how I would need for Ed to be a bit more responsible, to be better behaved, and about how I’d love him to be more tolerant of Eddy and take better care of him as an elder brother should rather than being antagonistic every time (sibling rivalry you know).
I then went on to tell them a story told me by one of my vendors named Mr. Eke earlier that week.
Mr. Eke, who had five kids in quick succession had boasted of how his 9- year old first- born son assisted in caring for his younger siblings by helping to bath, feed and sometimes even get them prepared for school!
Ed listened attentively, after which he recited his favorite line in response:
“I don’t mean to cut you short Mum, BUT…” He began as usual
“… that is probably because the boy was brought up under adverse conditions, possibly abject poverty.”
“They are five while we are only two.” He went on, “So there is no basis for comparison because you never brought me up that way.” He concluded.
My jaw dropped!
To be very sincere, I was stunned!
Firstly, for his effrontery, because at his age, I never had the guts to talk to my parents that way!
We were never brought up to reason, to engage our minds logically, or to speak out in my generation this side of the globe!
(With all due respect Mums and Dads- now Grandmas and Grandpas- because I know you meant well and wanted the best for us), it now seems as if all our parents cared about in those days was instilling a(n) (un)healthy dose of ‘fear’ and respect in us. Hence, they never spared the rods one second!
As though having children under subjection, children too scared (to death) to think or speak their mind, let alone voice out contrary opinions was the only measure of good parenting!
I rest my case!
Secondly, I actually marveled at the depth of his reasoning, for though not totally accurate, he did have some good points…
So rather than scold him (my usual first instinct, which to be honest I tend to subscribe to most of the time – being a ‘beneficiary’ of ‘good’ upbringing myself), I managed to comport myself and I heard myself saying,
“Interesting! How are you so sure?”
“Because I read about (he actually mentioned the name of a certain guy- one Albert something) who turned out more matured than kids his age as a result of being brought up under very similar conditions…” He replied and went on to give details of the write up.
To my surprise, Eddy readily backed him up with various interjections and gesticulations! They had read the article together on the net!
“Brilliant!” I managed to say, applauding them!
I then went on to correct their wrong notion and to educate them on the fact that adversity is not the only motivation for early mental and emotional maturity, after all, Jesus increased in wisdom, stature and favour.(Lk. 2:52)
Besides, I told them, adversity is more likely to trigger rebellion in children. So Albert must have been one in a million!
Hmmmmmm!!!! That episode really got me thinking!
And as though that wasn’t enough for a week, just last Friday, while driving my boys home from school, I tried to instruct Eddy, who would be writing an Entrance Exam into High School the following day on codes of conduct in the exam hall- being his first external exam.
I recited the rules and regulations again:
“Don’t open the question paper until you are told so…
“Don’t take any foreign sheet into the exam hall as that could be mistaken for an attempt to cheat…
“Cheating is a grievous offence which carries different penalties – including jail terms depending on …”
I was rudely interrupted by my boys’ laughter!
I looked back and saw them actually rolling over on their seats laughing out loud!
“What’s so funny?” I asked puzzled.
It was my seven year old Eddy who spoke up this time…
“Go to jail for cheating in an exam hall?”
“Ha-ha-ha-ha… that’s sooooo funny!
“You must be kidding Mum. It’s too funny to be true…” he argued in his typical exclamatory manner and just went on giggling.
“What’s so funny about that?” I asked bewildered.
“The person’s results could be withheld or cancelled at worst. But send someone to jail for cheating in an exam? That’s outrageous!” (and yes- my little boy’s uses big English terminologies!)
“And very unfair” His elder brother added… and they just kept on laughing….
“But at certain levels, it could get to that-“, I managed to say- completely at a loss on how to convince them instantly I hadn’t cooked that up.
“In fact, some examination bodies in this nation are looking at implementing that at University Matriculation Exam level for example.”
But my kids just went on laughing as though saying, “Mum, please say something else… we didn’t fall for this one”
I was mystified! Because even at high school level back in our days as an adolescent, everyone used to tell us that!
For kids my age in those days, the fear of a jail term was the beginning of wisdom! Do not cheat in UME lest you end up in jail.
Never for once did it occur to us to question how equitable that penalty was. We just absorbed it- hook, line and sinker!
See what I mean mothers? Times have changed!
And if our kids are learning this fast, so must we! In fact, we need to double up!
To strong, healthy, emotionally balanced, intellectually sound and godly children!
Funmi Adebayo © 2013