May 18, 2024
Parenting

Give Love A Chance

By Bob G. Kisiki

We will call her Anita. She was the first child in her family to go to university, so her parents – especially her mother, who was the sterner of the two parents – looked at Anita as both an asset and a potential catastrophe waiting to happen.

You know, with all the horrors that bedevil university students, especially girls, you can’t quite blame a parent who worries about how her daughter will turn out. So what did the mother do? She warned the girl about two issues – money and sex.

She told her, “If by any hard luck you either lose or ‘eat’ the money we’re giving you for fees, don’t ever come back here. Also, should you conceive outside of wedlock, while at the university, don’t let me see you again.”

Well, you can blame it on fate or the devil, but that poor thing had the money she had been given for fees grabbed from her as she lined up at the bank, where she was going to pay! by the time they found her body, it was decomposing and the paper on which she had written the suicide note was barely in one piece…

We love our children; no one can claim otherwise. We love them, which is why we do most of the things we do for them.

Take them through school at all costs. Talk to them about what keeps them safe. Pray over them without ceasing. Whatever else. It’s also the reason we are strict in dealing with them.

All the dos and don’ts. Because we love them and dread the possibility of losing them to the many devils lurking about. However, in ensuring the best for them, we need to desist from things that could make us – their parents – the worst devil in their lives.

This may not be the most selling counsel, but it has worked for me both as a teacher and a parent: Love beats anything else you may try in a bid to train and/ or tame a child.

The thing about love is that it touches the most critical area of a child’s life – the affective domain. The heart. It makes them feel that someone cares about them; that they matter enough to this person, to make them care and love them.

There’s nary a sentence that is more powerful than “Someone cares” and its equivalents in other languages.

A child who is barked at could react with defiance; a child who’s often battered could respond with violence; a child who’s denied material things could destroy whatever lies in their path, while at the same time vowing to make their own money and buy their own property…

but a child who is shown love even when they have rendered themselves unlovable will respond with love. 

No, they may not respond immediately. No, they may not even tell/show it to you. One thing is certain; love will eventually soften their heart and ultimately change them.

I had just reported to this school when I was made class teacher of a Senior Three stream. Immediately after the announcement was made, someone crept to where I was seated and, in a voice laden with concerned pity, said, “There’s a girl in that stream. She’s called So-and-so. Know that she’s in that class!”

The import of the information was that the girl was impossible. Well, I began taking charge of that class and, indeed, there was this girl.

It’s a very long, harrowing tale, but suffice to say that for two terms, I had to deal with the most stubborn effrontery ever; from a teenager who sought hitherto elusive attention from all adults in her life.

See, her father was a pilot; her mother had passed on; the home was managed by her stepmother.

Ultimately, though, showing her that I was in her corner, she came around and, although she’d been on the school’s To-Send-Away list, she completed well and performed with excellence. Love wins. Always.

The writer is a parenting counsellor and teacher

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