Saturday, 9 September 2017

Learn To Spare The Rod Sometimes - A True Life Story

Learn To Spare The Rod Sometimes - A True Life Story
Learn To Spare The Rod Sometimes - A True Life Story

I grew up in a very strict home, and my father used to be very strict and high handed. He never spared the rod. Growing up, I seldom saw my dad smile, he alway wore a stern look like he was always pissed at us. He would never play with us, compliment us when we did good or even have a normal conversation with us at all. The only time he talked to us was when he was asking questions, giving orders or scolding us. We could not be caught watching TV with him around, whenever we heard the sound of his car pull up, we would turn off the TV, stop whatever game we were playing, scurry off to our rooms and put up our best behavior.

But all that started to change right around when I got into secondary school. I remember the term I came first in JSS 1, he congratulated me for the first time in my life! I had been coming first in school since I was a toddler but he had never patted me on the back. That had always been my mom's job. There was this belief that if you compliment kids, they would start to misbehave. Then my SS3 when I passed WAEC and JAMB in one sitting, he not only congratulated me but also gave me money to go hang out with my friends. When I came home from my first semester in the university, he shook my hands and hailed me ' Agu, alla '. Another memory to hang in my archive of golden memories.

These days he is basically my best friend. Now we sit around watching the news every other evening and talking about politics, religion, culture, and life in general, and we argue a lot too as well. You think I like arguing on the social media? Wait till you see me arguing with my dad in real life. He is my little sisters Telemundo and Zeeworld partner. Come to my house and you would find all of us playing, gisting, yabbing, and poking fun at each other; just having a laugh. My older brother would always tell me and my younger ones how lucky we are. That we are the ones really enjoying our father because he was not that fun to be around back in his day.

What changed him, you might ask. Well, I wondered the same thing too, until recently when he told me the story of what reduced his high handedness. Apparently he also grew up in a very strict home with a very high handed father. All his uncles were the same, men who never talked to their kids except when they were scolding them or giving them orders, you only spoke when you were spoken to, so as a young man, he got his first idea of parenting from these men.

He told me of a particular uncle of his, the meanest of them all. This one was strict with both his kids and everyone else's kids. Children do not play in front of his house, even chickens dreaded his Obu. Due to his strictness, his children grew up into frightened men and women. Grown adults with no self-confidence or self-esteem; basically scared little insecure kids living in adult bodies.


They would never raise their voice, they would never speak in public, not even in family meetings. They would never argue with anyone even when they are being trampled on, they were all cowards who would run away from a little confrontation with little or no resistance. So everyone in their Umu nna disrespects them and takes them for granted. His uncle died a sad lonely man feared by all his kids even on his death bed.

My father had experienced firsthand what his overly strict uncle turned his cousins into and it scared him. Then he looked at himself and realized he was also alienating his own kids because of his high handedness. A man with 7 kids comes home from work in the evening and not one of them comes to keep him company in the living room. He watches TV alone and eats alone because his kids are scared of him. What kind of life was that? He did not want to end up like his uncle nor did he want his own kids to turn out like his frightened cousins. So he mellowed down.

As a parent, you need to realize how much your attitude towards your kids shapes them psychologically. Your demeanor towards your kids imbibes a very huge impact in their subconscious. Positive or negative, depending on how you treat them. Parents need to learn the difference between love and fear, respect and subjugation. Your children should love and respect you not fear you and be oppressed by you. Do not be a god to your children, be a mom, be a dad, be a friend, and upon all be a human being to them. Do not destroy your children's future being a merciless dictator in your own home. Learn to spare the rod sometimes.

Credit: Eze Drizzy Jude


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