THE TaSmAnIaN PARENTS

Now, this… this piece right here… close to my heart it is.

Honour your father and mother so that your days will be long…
I meditate on this part of the scripture often and the meaning rings clear each time: Revere your parents or die young!

Uh-oh.

It is easy to honour parents who are wonderful, parents who put you first, who don’t abuse you in any way, parents who understand the concept of sacrifice. What about the other types of parents though? The ones who cuss you out whenever they feel like, the ones who gossip about you with your siblings and relatives, who are not responsible, who wouldn’t give a rat’s ass if you packed up and died today, what about the parents who forget your birthday not out of having too much on their minds but out of carelessness, who may even regret bringing you into the world? What about them? Do they get honour votes too? How do you honour the parent who is not an angel?

These are the questions that a certain female asked me. Of course, I went into a long-winded speech about how you just have to, how we don’t know why God chose them to give birth to us, how everything that happens to us is for a reason, blah blah blah. We talked some more and after she felt better and after I was sure she wasn’t gonna go fling herself off some random roof top, we hugged and said our good byes. Hours later though, while listening to music(rock music, music of the gods… Through The Trees by Low Shoulder to be exact), I mulled over my conversation with the female, and to be honest, I felt hypocritical giving her “the” speech. In the light of her intense pain and suffering, the logical thing to do or say suddenly seemed awfully shallow and so so bleh. For that moment, I felt all her pain like it was my own. I mean, this is a grown woman we are talking about. Obviously, the failure of her dad at being a prime parent still brought bile to her throat.

This begs the question: What is parenting all about?

If I may answer, to me, it is essentially about one thing. Sacrifice. A selfish person cannot be an effective parent. You give all of you and more for your child. You do not seek rewards. Expecting dividends(so so wrong) is pretty much like asking snow to show(rhymes yeah?)in a desert. Impossicant(now, excuse my twist O ye grammarians but I had to lay emphasis and impossible doesn’t quite cut it for me right now, hence, impossible+can’t=impossicant). It doesn’t work quite that way. Raising your child or children shouldn’t feel like punishment. It’s bad enough that people rush and get married without due thought and process; but having children when you are not mentally prepared? Not cool. If your children haven’t had decent meals, you have no business sitting pretty. If they are broke and stranded in a land far away, you have no business sleeping well at night. You have to worry, you have to pray, you have to give a damn. That is what the job is about really. If you cannot comply, then you have no business with procreation. Wait until you are prepared. Wait till you can be selfless. Wait till you can be responsible. Wait till you can cope. I know that there are no perfect parents, yes, but there is such a thing as trying. Trying and falling short of expectations is infinitely better than not trying at all especially when the lives of your offspring are concerned. For you simply cannot afford to fail. There are almost always no second chances. Almost never!

I recently heard the gist of a lady who when she was in college, fell ill and was hospitalized. When she got better and had to pay the hospital bills, as she was still a student, living far away from home, and with no source of income whatsoever, she asked her dad for money. He told her that her illness was her fault and that it was not his business. The end. This lady was in a place where she knew no one and short of sleeping around to get the cash, there was no other source of help. It is not as though her dad didn’t have the funds(and even if he didn’t, surely there are better ways to convey the fact), it wasn’t as though she did anything to him either. He just didn’t give a damn.

Also, I have seen instances where mothers are too selfish to actually do the nurturing that a mother should be known for. They prefer instead, to leave the welfare of their children to strangers. They just do not want any form of responsibility. They are lazy and selfish. Why then did they give birth? To prove that they have functioning wombs? Well, I never!

The story that was big news a while back about the young man who killed his father and cut him into pieces got me thinking too. We all went gaga on that one. How can a normal kid do that? Was he on drugs? Was he influenced by demons? I never once heard anyone ask, did his parents do anything to provoke him? What kind of upbringing did the boy have anyway? Why did he unleash that kind of fury on his father? What went wrong?

Now, don’t get your knickers in a twist just yet. I am not saying that what the guy did was right or even normal. What I am trying to point out is that what if it wasn’t all on him? What if it was just a precipitated event in a long chain of events? What if his case was that of chronic bad parenting? What if? See, if you grew up in a normal home, count yourself blessed. If you go out there and hear people talk about what they have gone through and what they are even still going through, you would wonder why we don’t even have more child murdering parent cases. Some parents could be so Taz-ish.

The same scripture(for those who would want to hide under it’s umbrella), that says we should honour our fathers and mothers so that we may live long in Exodus 20:12, also quotes in Ephesians 6:4, that fathers(and I think fathers in this context can be said to encapsulate the essence of parenting and maybe mothers too), should not provoke their children to wrath. The profound relationship between cause and effect comes into play here. Garbage in, garbage out. A child reacts badly and everyone turns judgmental… No one points fingers at the parents because in our part of the world, they can never get it wrong. They are after all parents, right? It is their God-given right to be blameless always. Sad.

To those who already have children, caution is the key. Ruin the life of one child and generations will be wasted. You cannot afford to exhibit NEPA behavior (NEPA is the name of the “ghost” power authority in a certain West African country)… On today, off for one month. Life is not The Jerry Springer Show where absence of common sense is unbelievably bae. We can never get it right all the time, but hey, we can at least give it a shot. To those who are yet to be parents, prepare yourselves. If you aren’t sure you can live the somewhat thankless and sometimes selfless life that is expected of a parent, chill biko( biko means “please” in my very sexy Nigerian Igbo language). Children are not livestock. You cannot just have a baby because you are financially empowered to take care of it. Be mentally and spiritually prepared… and just like in the preparation of tomato sauce for pasta and white rice, if you stick to the few but important principles and not try to overdo or underdo, you’ll do just fine.

May the grass beneath our feet be perpetually green…
See y’all good people next Wednesday.
Adios.

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24 thoughts on “THE TaSmAnIaN PARENTS

  1. WOW! Very beautiful piece… Sacrifice is a key word in parenting but i don’t think it is everything. i believe that even though children want you to be there for them all the time it is virtually impossible. and sometimes it is OK to allow them to sort out themselves. Always meddling into your child’s affairs will still cause them to resent you and will make them grow into irresponsible adults; the kind that rely on people for everything.
    Another aspect to look at this whole parenting thing is that parents who go to extra lengths to make sacrifice for their kids sometimes end up being resented by the kids for not taking better care of themselves and sacrificing so much for them because somehow they start to feel indebted to their parents especially when parents use every opportunity to remind their children of the sacrifices they made for them. Also it is very hard and nearly impossible to give so much and expect nothing in return especially because most parents see their children as some sort of investment and expects at least appreciation for their sacrifice, and this is also purely human.
    There are so many dimensions to parenting that it can’t be covered in one post but i think the summary is to train or raise your kids with kindness, love and a sense of responsibility. Also choose a parenting style and stick to it because it gives kids some sense of structure and stability.

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    1. Hmm… I see your point… and it makes a lot of sense too. Thanks for shedding light on those other areas. While there is no sure way of parenting, there are footholds to help us along. Without sacrifice, it would be impossible to love, be kind, and be responsible to children. Sacrifice implies that you focus more and them and less on you. It doesn’t mean abandonment of self. The part about parents seeing their children as investments is exactly the kind of thinking that I am trying in my small way to erase. The moment you begin to view them as investments, you begin to lose focus. Frustration sets in especially when they misbehave. But if a parent viewed a child not as investment but an extension of them, it would help a lot. Sacrifice doesn’t mean spoiling a child(for it is only spoiled children who would resent a parent who has sacrificed for them), neither does it imply meddling into the affairs of a child. Just more on them and less on you. I believe that other qualities that good parents should have stem from sacrifice. Not only sacrificing the good but also the bad. For example, if I know that my child has ulcer, my not letting him/her indulge in spicy foods that I know he/she likes, even when I know it will probably earn me an hour or two of the silent treatment is a sacrificial act. In that scenario, I have sacrificed/given up a hug and an “you’re the best mum” which I would have readily gotten had I allowed the spicy food, and which would’ve really made me feel good, for silent treatment which would make me feel like crap, for the good of my child. There’s lotsa angles to sacrificing really… and from it we find that it becomes easier to be kind, patient, firm, et al.
      Thanks for always reading ICON… I appreciate the insight you brought in…

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    1. Ahhhh… IC came here!!! Thank you… for the compliment, for sparing the time from the busy celebrity life to come on here. I am glad you think it was interesting. I am still waiting for you to do a rock song oooo… LOL!

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  2. Hmmm….a topic very dear to my heart…parenting! You did justice to it despite the limitless directions parenting may go. No matter how varied its styles or approaches, one common factor that must not be found wanting is ‘sacrifice’ …..which involves a healthy dose of selflessness. Additionally, and I have found this in my years of experience, the amount of time spent with your child is usually the determining factor. The more time you spend with them, either by physical presence or outright emotional presence – through very close monitoring…(constant calls and messages….in fact endless ones coupled with being there at every opportunity)…the more you are able to parent well. No one….and I mean no one….knows their child the way most claim they do except they have put in the needed hours…and I’m sorry, that’s where most issues lie. Such that, if there is a need to be there, the parent is there not as a figure head but as one who knows what and how to ‘parent’ their child. Every parent is unique as is every child. Put in the hours…which takes a lot of sacrifice as Nneka has ‘rambled’….be rest assured….you will hit the jackpot and/or find rest.

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    1. Aunt Rhoda… I am honestly wowed that you think I did justice to this. You are a seasoned educator and an amazing mum(your kids are so delish… the first time I met them grown, It was hard to believe they were real) and so your saying that means a lot to me. I am excited about these other areas you pointed out too. Time and close monitoring. I have always wondered about that and I absolutely agree with you. When I was a child, I didn’t care if my mum was working the hours she did to make more money so I could be happy, all I wanted was for her to just be around. I really would cry whenever she had to leave in the mornings even though I also had school to get to. Though her constant “checking up” on me as the years progressed kinda drove me crazy, I now realize, thanks to this point by experience you made here, why she probably did that. I am also seeing how daunting parenting can be… ah but daunting or no, it will and has to be done right. Sacrificing not just money or will but also time. Hmm. By the way, if my future kids turn out to be half as wonderful as yours, then bueno! I shall rest easy. Thanks for reading… for commenting… for the insight…

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  3. This is so true “a selfish person cannot be an effective parent. You give all of you and more for your child. You do not seek rewards. Nnee, I’m everly proud of you , your write ups are wonderful

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    1. Thank you so much Ogoo… my substitute mum. All the mothering of me you did that first year in College, I will never forget that. I am glad you agree with and enjoyed this post. Thank you so much for always taking the time to come on here, and for the side encouragement too… *hugs*

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  4. Awww……thanks for leaving our link here. It’s amazing that you think this much about my kids….not sure they are maintaining status quo oooo….they are still bringing out ‘aki’ from my head! I’ll keep trying….lol. We are all still a work in progress…and we will keep trying. Keep writing….I’m learning!

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  5. Seriously, I love this post. I always do. it’s inspiring together with the following comments and replies.
    I have observed through experience that being a parent needs enough readiness especially on the side of the female parent cos I have two of my female cousins(both very young at the respective times they made up their minds) who have gone the wrong way all bcos they were in a haste and they really really regret but they have to live with it, anyway.
    exactly what Jesus meant when he talked about settling down and counting the costs of building a tower before beginning. Once again, thanks for this.
    Ride on. Jah bless. One Love!

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    1. Aww… thanks Joseph. I am glad that you love it and are inspired. The fact that you even read, is wonderful. I agree with you though, counting the ‘costs’ before ‘building’ can help put lots in serious perspective.. lots. That way, we are way prepared before even the time comes. This business of raising children… May God help us all. Thank you…

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  6. Nice piece…. and you’re right,parenting is very difficult, unfortunately some people see families on Television and assume its easy, then they proceed to be the cause of their own undoing…I thank God for good parents, I’ve experienced the chaos in other households as a kid, and it always felt so foreign to me, I’m glad it stayed that way….impossicant, HAH! and I thought humorous individuals were vacating WordPress (good one)…I’ll be following right about…….now 🙂

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    1. I’m thrilled that you read and liked it. You really are among the lucky few who didn’t experience the “battlefield”… good for you.
      Ha ha ha… grammar can be such a pain with all the constrictions… I needed to let loose. LOL. Thank you for following… I appreciate. Please keep your deep thoughts on a constant flow… the stuff on your blog is amazing. I am taking my slow time digesting the words. What a fest!

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  7. Very insightful piece dear. And the comments too. I won’t lie, parenting scares me like crazy!!! I often tell God if I won’t turn out to be a good parent I’d rather not have any. Better help society than add to its problems.
    PS: saving this for future reference.

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    1. Maryam darling! Sensible line of thought there… but honestly, I think you’ll do just fine. I wonder if anyone really knows how they’ll turn out. We just gotta try to gravitate towards perfection… who knows? We just might hit the mark. I’m glad you read this one, I’m always happy when you read my posts. Your dedication to doing so warms my heart… like strong coffee, hot and rich, on a cold cold day.
      xxx

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  8. I agree with your points on why we should prepare ourselves for parenthood, Ideally that’s how it should be, it’s just that even when we do all we can, after having the baby, you realize nothing you could’ve ever done could’ve prepared you for parenthood…lol. If you wait till you think you’re ready helps, but in our present day, busy, emotionally draining, society, you may be waiting forever! I do see where you’re coming from though, because there is a whole other spectrum where worthless individuals are spewing out kids in droves, to fulfil selfish desires of having the title mommy and daddy, unfortunately after the baby is born they realize they made a mistake, and then it’s just too late.

    Nice post, thought provoking.

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    1. “Worthless individuals spewing out kids in droves…”
      Lol… that was very apt Alicia… and you are so right, nothing really prepares you for the role of parenting really. Nothing.
      Kind of like going swimming in the sea. You go feeling confident that you can swim because of your sessions in your community pool. Then boom! The currents. So strong. You realize you’re not such a hot shot. If you didn’t even have swimming experience before, you may drown if no one comes to your rescue. The fact that you learned how to swim though, strong waves and all in the sea, the preparation at least keeps you alive till you adjust and your skills flourish. Nothing really prepares us… so true… but doing our part is a must.
      Thank you so much for adding your flavour up in here. I am intrigued by your blog. I’m following.
      God bless you.

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  9. I love your truthfulness. People can deny truth but it changes nothing.

    It only serves to invalidate people. People raised by loving parents do not understand what it was like for the rest of us.

    How can you ” honor” someone who has contempt for you and considers you a burden or a disappointment?

    It is unfair for people to judge us for not ” following” the bible. They do not know what it is like to have your parent tear down your self esteem.

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    1. Oh I’m so glad you can relate. You got the real gist of the post. People who have it good don’t know what it is like on the other side. Everyone just pretends like it never happens. And they judge blindly…
      Once again, I’m so glad that you understood me.
      Thank you…

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