As the breast of a mother calms a crying baby, so does a precocious child stirs the wrath of a frustrated parent. Moments like this, a little bit of stridency wouldn’t break the ancient cultural code, yet, a child has no business to present his displeased concerns as long as he grows in height and solid in bones. Unfortunately, that is the tip of a Ghanaian child’s predicaments.
A man, as I have grown into, which you surreptitiously pride yourself with warrants me, but not fully, to pull the discussion table between us and engage in a dialogue- anyway it could qualify as a monologue, because we all would have our say at the absence of each other; as I write and as you read.
To preclude the tempting description of me as being an “ungrateful being”, let me hasten to profess that, through it all, you have been a great guardian to me, the inexorable toil that fed me and pumped my flesh and muscles into a giant block, the unending sacrifices and diligence that paid my participation to gain knowledge to evince adorable class of intelligence. All of these I appreciate, however, I think it will be fair to bring to your attention events I wasn’t pleased with but had no locus by then to make them known.
Adorable but fragile I came, the concert of lullabies I savoured in tandem with the avalanche of nuisance that were well tolerated and slipped under the carpet, made me feel lucky. Not long after I could relocate by effort of my four limbs, our peaceful and tranquil relationship was interrupted with spanks and scolds intermittently. In the sense of magnanimity, I lay all on the plate of misunderstanding.
If you could recall, still in my feeble nature and presumably tabula rasa, I developed a sense of autonomy. I wanted to do things by myself and my way. Most of the time when you are feeding me, if you could remember, I would protest to be given the spoon, sometimes also I would wrestle to be given the entire food. I felt I was capable of feeding myself. When my revolt was being heeded, I couldn’t do much to impress, I would generously feed the ants and fowls, although that was not my original intention.
Events like this mostly elicited spanks and scolds automatically. Mother, your exasperation was justified, yet, I wish you had dealt with it in a different way. I wanted you to nurture my sense of freedom, independence, self-reliance, decisiveness by patiently guiding me to using the spoon since obviously I was a novice in its usage but a master in breast sucking. The results of your impatient scolding has been chronic self-doubt, shyness, and esteem problems to mention a few. But I have resolved to work on them.
Moreover, my unpleasant experiences did not end at “shame”. As the sense of urgency to explore emerged with age, I thought to myself, practicing proactivity and pragmatism wouldn’t cost much, I therefore adopted the character to initiate. When I was about three years old, if your memory could aid you in recalling mommy, one afternoon when you had poured a bucket of water to bathe me but you suddenly remembered that you had to send your products to the Fante woman who lived three houses away before she would leave for the market. That day, I wanted to impress you.
I wanted you to feel happy that your boy has grown to handle his own bathing affairs, so I initiated my bath. In my limited wisdom, I thought bathing my stomach would have meant something since it is the largest region of the body. Unfortunately, my well thought out intention was received with scolds and reminding me of how stubborn I am. I cried not because of the criticism per se, but the guilt I felt when my genuine intentions were criticized.
Ahaa daddy, do you also remember, one day, when I was about six years old, you and mummy went for a funeral and left little Akosua in my custody. Do you recall how you shouted at me and reminded me of how I have not been using my brains because I had used a whole tin of milk to prepare “gari soakings” for Akosua. I must put it to you that all the responses of this nature killed my sense of initiating. Don’t worry about these revelations now. I have grown to understand things much better now.
My dear Parents, I can imagine what is running through your minds now. I did not choose this day to point at your failures to embarrass you. As human as we are, we are fallible. At the mention of fallibility, let me draw your attention to my own incompetence(s) as well. Maybe you will find comfort in it that none is impeccable.
Daddy, you know me much as I know myself. And, you are not oblivious of the fact that areas like social interactions, creativity, craftiness and other interpersonal skills, I’m not much of them. Apparently, I did not inherit this incompetence(s). However their origin is from when I wasn’t allowed to join the other children to church for song and drama rehearsals, when I wasn’t allowed to play with the children in the vicinity for fear of me being corrupted. You had good intentions, nonetheless, some aspects of my life have suffered.
At this juncture, I think I have inundated you with enough complains. Our piece of dialogue is almost turning out to be a blame game. I therefore pause for you to have your say. Perhaps you may have some explanations to do.
I hope you have meticulously considered the image I have painted about my developmental stages, and that my little siblings would have a different and a better approach.
Thank you for your understanding on this matter.