Don’t make life simple for them

Saturday August 01 2020

He was in the shower room singing away and enjoying himself. And I thought to myself, “Where did the idea of singing loudly in the shower come from?”
I went and switched off the heater. He was mad and complained, “That is very unfair, mommy.”

“I’m not raising a sissy!” I replied. “I’m not a sissy,” he asserted angrily. “Yes you are,” I emphasised. “You cannot even shower with cold water on a hot evening after playing and sweating the entire afternoon.”
The dictionary defines the word sissy as one who is effeminate or cowardly. Words synonymous with sissy include weak, spineless and feeble.
For anyone who has been to a boarding school, it was normal to bathe cold water whether it was blazing hot or it was raining hailstones.

Boarding school taught us how to weather many storms and those experiences form our perceptions of many things. It also taught us to be independent and responsible.
There are lessons one cannot learn unless they experience some of these realities. Unfortunately, some children are growing up without such interesting experiences.
They are fluent in playing video games but have never played football in a muddy field or played in the rain. “It’s too scary, you know,” the parents say. “My children shouldn’t get out there, there’s too many germs and viruses!”

There are children who have never held a knife to peel matooke or sweet potatoes because there is domestic assistance at home that takes care of all these. Also, it’s not the most enjoyable task to do.
The domestic assistant wakes the child up, lays their bed, prepares breakfast and cleans up after the child. But the world requires a multiple of skills to navigate the unfriendly waters.

It would be rather sad if the child in your care is completely ignorant of what it means to fend for themselves even with the least possible resources.
The question I ask myself and ask other parents is, are we raising and nurturing children to realise their full potential or are we crippling their creativity, ingenuity and acumen?
Have we made life too simple by doing everything and anything for the children and in the process stifled their ability to think creatively?
Are we raising sissies and softies for a world that is deeply capitalistic, where the smarter one gets ahead while the weaker one works for them?

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