This isn’t exactly about someone I met today but about an unfamiliar part of someone familiar.

He’s old enough to be my dad so I’ll call him my uncle for tonight’s post.

He told me and some friends today about one time(way back, like the 80’s or 90’s) he attended a PTA meeting at his children’s school. A particular parent was ranting about how the school’s decision to give the kids grass-cutting duties was unnecessary. “I didn’t send my kids here to become labourers,” he said. A good number of the parents there supported his view/complaint, so when my uncle raised his hand to give his contribution, the complaining parent must’ve been sure he was about to get more support.

My uncle began by saying they should all feel privileged to be able to afford sending their children to such a school. He said they should feel privileged for being successful enough to afford the fees. One could’ve easily observed the sudden protruding of their heads and their shoulders being raised to power 10 as a result of these statements. But these heads and shoulders must’ve been quick to return to default settings as my uncle continued, “Therefore, we shouldn’t be selfish by not letting our children go through the paths that led to our success.” Silence swallowed the room immediately, but he eventually also got some support in the room after saying this. I stop here on this.

In concluding his tales for the day, he said back then when they flagged them, they never bled. So he wonders why the kids of nowadays bleed easily. Someone else in the room replied, “Maybe it’s because people of those days had thick skin. Children of nowadays have soft skin.” We all laughed, but I left there pondering two things which I’d like to get your view(s) on:

1. Is the idea of parents not wanting their children to go through what they went through really selfish or growth-hindering?

2. This thick skin hypothesis about people of those days, can it be the reason why most African parents downplay depression and other mental health issues in the air these days?

Your yarn spinna,

Ayo Wright

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2 Comments

  1. I’m going to answer your questions.
    1. I think every parent has a right to raising their children well. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t tell them to be tough all the time. The only way it would be selfish or growth-hindering is if you keep insisting that a child goes against their own natural nature because that’s how kids and teenagers get all of these self-esteem issues. I was a sensitive child growing up and while I admire toughness in its own form, it’s not necessary to force that on your children, which brings me to answer the second question.
    2. My biggest critique with African/African-American communities is how they have self-hatred and self-dislike to the point where they don’t reach out. They don’t want to face their demons and dark sides in the mirror because they’re afraid of what they’re going to encounter. I know it isn’t always easy to deal with your turmoils, yet, I don’t excuse that as the reason why someone shouldn’t go to therapy. I’ve done group therapy and one on one therapy. It wasn’t always perfect, but it helped me become a better person. Parents should ask theirselves if they would rather have a child that could come to them for anything and be alive or a kid that died because they couldn’t reach out to anyone. We also have to stop caring what others think about our issues. We all got them.

    1. Wow! This is beautiful. So beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. I TOTALLY agree with your answers, especially the second.
      African/African-American parents need to do better in being approachable and reachable for their kids.

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