I will not contribute to the sultry atmosphere across the world occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are too many rumours in the land. The nerves are strained trying to accommodate all the depressing, avalanche of information flying around. Most of them are true, while most are utter fabrication from the pit of Hades. There is apprehension all over the human community. People are burdened with a contagious desire for survival without a second thought for all the frippery that tickles man’s sensibilities. Today, the pandemic has collapsed all human boundaries. ‘Safety first’ has become the watchword.
Unfortunately, there are people who desperately want to die and nothing can stop them from self-inflicted peril. They obey their pastors to the detriment of their lives and that of their fellow citizens, attending church services in disobedience to government orders. Such people are dangerous and are enemies to humanity. The muse reminds me of man’s primordial dislodgement from the Garden of Eden due to disobedience. Yet, we continue to disobey. Many pastors, in the guise of preaching, poison the spiritual plane and inflict guilt on themselves and their gullible worshippers with their chaotic, spiritual delirium. God have mercy.
I want to discuss an issue I consider very important in our national lives – the relationship between parents and their children. Do you remember the story of Eli? He is a biblical character who incurs God’s punishment for his failure to adequately admonish his children when they consistently indulged in immoral behaviour. Today, Eli is a major topic in parental irresponsibility. Although many people view the current global lockdown with regret and misgiving, there is a sense in which it can be viewed in positive terms. The forced holidays provide an opportunity for parents and their children to bond well and retool their relationship. This kind of relationship is lacking in many homes where parents and children continually pull in different directions. Many parents have never come so close to their children before the pandemic. Many parents do not know their children beyond the façade created by filial ordering. It is shocking that many parents can’t stand the presence of their children at home.
They want them to return to school immediately COVID-19 is over. They are busy looking for pastimes to engage their children through one form of online study scheme or another. It is not enough that these parents have outsourced their basic responsibilities of raising their children to boarding schools, when these children return home for long holidays, they are quickly whisked away to summer lessons. The result is that we have malfunctioned children, who through the error of wrong upbringing, develop false attitudes, self-delusion, and psychological imbalance. Education is not restricted to formal learning. The “stay at home” order should afford parents the opportunity to look at their children and lubricate the relationship between them.
This is the time for mothers to teach their daughters how to cook and do other house chores. It is absolutely irresponsible for mothers to allow house-helps to do house chores for their grown-up daughters. The result is a malformed woman pushed into the home of a man as a wife with all the attendant squabbles and behavioural dislocations. Mothers should engage their daughters in private discussions. Find out their worries, troubles, and fears. Teach them how not to grow up and how to grow up. Many of our daughters are looking for friends, a close confidant that they can talk to. This is the appropriate time for mothers to fill in the gap. Wake your daughter up early, the same time the maid wakes up. Encourage her and ensure her distancing attitude from the rest of the household is bridged. Are you forcing her to read a course at the university that she does not want to read? Are you always blaming her for the things she didn’t do right by your warped standards? I read the case of a young girl who committed suicide after she saw her jamb result and left a note that she had to do it because she couldn’t face her mother with a score of 254.
All mothers have a responsibility during these forced holidays to get closer to their daughters. Take them to market and let them know the price of garri, crayfish, and other food items. Mothers, what values have you inculcated in your daughters? What negative or wrong impressions have you helped her to change? Any mother who fails to do these things is a part of the problem why our society is saddled with depraved women without any sense of morality. If you allow her to dress half-naked in the name of fashion, you are breeding a sex object for lascivious men. If you allow her to only talk about money, cars, and the good life, you are breeding an object of caricature for men. All real mothers arise!
For men, the forced holidays should offer us the opportunity to get closer to our boys, to become their friends, and their confidant. Teach him to do the basics at home, let him wash the car, he will not die. Let him wash his clothes and that of his younger ones, the heavens will not fall. Violate his privacy as often as possible. He is still under your roof. Go through his private belongings, check if he smokes or hides a deadly weapon somewhere. Watch his dressing and the kind of haircut he carries. Control where he goes and who visits him. We must never breed criminals in the name of modernity or enlightenment. A friend told me recently that he was shocked to find Tramadol in his sixteen-year-old son’s bag. If he didn’t find it, he would have sworn with his life that the boy wouldn’t do such a thing. Teach your boy the names of villages in your town. Teach him the name of your local government, tell him stories of how you trekked long distances to school as a schoolboy. Tell him about your escapades, how you got punished for doing the wrong thing and how you got rewarded for doing the right thing. Watch your son laugh and be free with you, bring out the humanity in him. Real fathers arise!
These days, children indulge in attitudes that we regard as normal which, many years ago, would have attracted severe punishment from our parents. If we ignore our children when they err, we are only encouraging a noxious growth of irresponsibility which eventually suffocates the family and the society. By allowing our children to have their way and indulge in immorality, we contribute to unleashing pestilence on society and we will reap the reward one way or another. Fellow parents, the forced holidays present an opportunity for you to teach your children your local language. Teach the children Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani, Efik, Urhobo, and many of our local languages. This lockdown must count for something and when it is all over, we will look back and be proud of what we have achieved.
Dr. Adiele teaches in the Department of English, Mountain Top University via [email protected]