Inconvenience builds tenacity among children

Min Atek

What you need to know:

Being dropped to school is oftentimes a luxury that gets abused so I was waiting for an opportunity to take that mindset away

On a trip to China years ago, with a friend’s wife, we went to buyitems to sell to make some money. We were young and inexperienced hustlers trying out our luck in the business.

On the second day of our trip, as  we prepared to scout and shop for goods, it rained. What I remember clearly is that no one stayed back saying it was raining. They didn’t have that luxury. Businesses went on normally like it wasn’t raining. Everyone had either a raincoat, an umbrella, gumboots or all combined!

It became clear to me that rain wasn’t and shouldn’t be a determinant of how or why we do things. We don’t melt in the rain nor does it wash us away. In this rainy season, the other day the older child needed to go to school. I had long planned that on one of these mornings, I wasn’t going to be available to take them to school.

Being dropped to school is oftentimes a luxury that gets abused so I was waiting for an opportunity to take that mindset away. In the early hours of the morning, I asked the child to pick my favourite raincoat in order to go to school by themselves - in the rain.

I am not sure what emotions she felt but there must have been a mixture of knowing her mother and what she is capable of doing alongside the disappointment and frustration of my somewhat tough and “unkind” decision.

She managed to gather herself to thank me for my raincoat and proceeded to plan her journey to school. I also gathered myself and looked away. I was not going to let emotions and sympathy ruin a very important lesson; that in real life, we must learn to move in the rain and understand that rain is not and cannot be an excuse to get things done.

I am quite sure I was not my child’s most favourite person in the moment but I pray by God that not too far from the moment, she’ll appreciate the awesome privilege of being raised by a parent who can let you figure your way out of circumstances because that’s how we grow our tenacity, maturity and the ability to think and create.

There is nothing as deadly as raising a child who cannot think, create or innovate. Whereas there is a planned child somewhere who has no clue what it is like to go to school by themselves, there’s also a young orphan who is not only going to school in the rain, but had to do house chores for an entire household before running to school.  In the inconvenience of learning to be responsible at an early age, one child’s tenacity and creativity is nurtured while another’s is hampered and hindered. It boils down to choice.