Rethink oversheilding children

Saturday October 5 2019

Min Atek

Min Atek  

By Min Atek

“How will the children go home?” She asked with obvious concern on her face, and very calmly, I replied, “by themselves.”
“Is that even possible?” she inquired, now almost alarmed. “Yes they will use public means,” I replied with amusement, although I was not surprised.
“What do you mean public means? Are you going to order for them a safe boda?” “No, I will not. They shall use a taxi or a bus,” I responded confidently.

Many parents are frightened to let their children out of their watchful eye and care. They cannot begin to fathom the thought that the child can or should be able to move from one place to another by themselves or even doing home chores alone.
Many children can ably operate a smart phone, but cannot cross a road by themselves. And we think this is okay?
According to their loving parents, they could be hit by a car or a boda boda. They could be hit by a stone or in extreme cases, kidnapped. The world is too crazy, they advise. And indeed the world is crazy and many times, it can be unsafe.
But it is absolute folly to imagine you are your child’s keeper and safety. My mother recently castigated me because she feels I am handling the parenting role a risky way.

Although I travelled miles away from home all by myself and using public means as a child, this old woman is not too comfortable with her grandchildren moving about town on their own.
True, the world is a lot more dramatic, a lot busier, a lot more scaring and many shocking events keep unfolding. But for how long can a parent claim to be a 24/7 hour keeper of their sons and daughters?
How can the child fully grow and have the ability to singlehandedly navigate the waters called life?

World’s challenges notwithstanding, work must be done, food must be prepared, we must move from one place to another. Amidst wars, famine, floods and misfortunes, life must go on.
We need to empower our children to embrace the world with its misfortunes and help them to adapt to the not- so- friendly environment. Being overly protective and shielding our children all the time is a total disservice to them.