It was a wet Saturday morning, the previous night I did not even say a prayer before retiring to bed; but He who searches and knows the heart of every man knew just what my need was.
I had to walk miles to get water so I could wash that morning, clean the house, cook for the family and serve my younger ones – Yes I am the eldest child; and God knew why I came first so I was always cheerful to serve.
For me, it was a normal routine, though my chest and back ached occasionally, I knew it was my duty as a child, and out of love I tell mummy – don’t worry I will do it, you should rest.
However, that Saturday, I didn’t have to fetch water, God opened the heavens so I cheerfully fetched the rainwater to fill the containers in our room, and then the unfortunate happened.
I slipped; but before I landed, I was sure to protect the bucket in my hand, and I hurt my ankle in the process. The pain was unbearable; but what hurts most was the pain of not being able to save the bucket. I limped and slowly reported myself, first the attention was on my wounded ankle; but quickly without any sign of concern, I was beaten and showered with all manner of insults for breaking the bucket.
Then I was reminded that I was a burden, and was told how they are struggling to provide for me, pay my school fees and all that.
In fact, all manner of soul poisoning insults were heaped on me.
My disappointment at that moment was the fact that the injury on my ankle received no attention; but I was even shocked nobody ever asked, let alone looked at the wound till it healed, but I understood. The long and short of it all; I was a burden.
One question kept ringing in my mind growing up, and that was ‘where did I go wrong’? Why am I treated like a nuisance, why am I called useless? In school, my colleagues are always eager to go home, but for me, every single closing bell was a nightmare, I could not just imagine going back home; back to the slaps, insults and all manner of assaults.
I became very timid and was even called a fool, I always saw colleagues better off than I was; and I could go the extra mile to love my neighbour more than myself.
There was no such thing like why did you do this or that, I was always a sheep led to the slaughter without questioning.
My grandmother always said the elderly is always right, and I will be referred to Proverbs 13:24 and Ephesians 6:1-2, but I always took the pain to read even further; then I discovered how impartial God is – because the same chapter says in verse 4, ‘Parents do not provoke your children to anger, but rather bring them up in the fear of the Lord’- So I wondered why my parents and many others always engage in selective reading of the Bible.
If only our Parents will take the pain to read their own verse in Ephesians 6, they will understand that to bring up children in the nurture and admonishing of the lord comes with unconditional love and constructive discipline.
The good book says in proverb 22:6, ‘Train up a child the way they should go that when they grow they will not depart from it’.
My parents always complained how those days of their lives as children were awful, they never liked it; but little did they know they have become just the replica of the parents they hated.
A little bit of psychology has thought me that, children learn mostly by modelling their parents consciously or unconsciously, and whatever a person becomes in future can be traced back to his or her upbringing.
Psychologists say scarcely do people grow up not having traces of how they were brought up, even that, there is still the sub-conscious man that depicts attributes of childhood upbringing once a while.
Dear Mum and Dad, under no circumstance should you make your child feel like a burden else they are tempted to question God about their very existence.
A home without unconditional love and proper upbringing is a breeding ground for destruction.
A lot of individuals today are suffering from all manner of traumas. What is even more suicidal is when parents vent their anger and frustration on innocent children.
I am sure if these children were asked if they wanted to be born, the answer would have been “NO”.
A lot of children today are on the road to destruction always seeking counsel from the wrong people because the homes they come from are not conducive for a proper parent-child relationship.
All manner of social vices are on the increase because we have little to no homes. Some have resorted to alcoholism, others commit suicide, and some have resorted to early marriages as an escape route – so they run in and run out. There is no such thing like time with family; children are dying slowly inside out of frustration.
According to Katherine Kipp and David R. Shaffer in the book Development psychology, almost all behaviours can be traced to an individual’s upbringing, except for some that the individual picks from the society as a result of socializing.
The possibility that a child will learn from peers and confide in them other than parents is very high when there is no home.
According to Katherine and David, the most appropriate way to bring up a child is the authoritative style having examined the authoritarian, permissive and neglectful, and realized they have loopholes.
The authoritative style is both high on demand and warmth.
Parents discipline and correct children when they are wrong, involve them in making decisions that concern their well-being, encourage them as well as reward them when they do what is right.
Let us not forget children are a blessing and not a burden; and for that matter upbringing should be seen more of a privilege by God to nurture his creation. Almost anyone is in the position to reproduce, but few people possess the gift to nurture.
I plead with all future mothers and fathers not to be under any compulsion to reproduce. Let us be sure we want to have children having understood what it means to be parents.
Let me quickly add that, parenting is not just about providing a child’s needs; but everything else that has to do with an individual’s development. I am really uncomfortable what parenting has been reduced to.
Almost all, if not all of the social vices today; can be traced to upbringing. There is no such thing as ‘each other’s keeper’- something definitely is wrong somewhere.
A number of children with traumatic upbringing like mine are out there. When a tree starts to wither suddenly, there is a need to check its roots.
I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the Ministry of Gender, Women and Social protection, to put measures in place to find out how children are being brought up.
This is because not all children who are hurting can tell their stories; since they will be tagged as reporting their parents.
Let us check our roots; I pray we soon have a generation of parents who will see upbringing as a call and do things right, until then; the stab in my heart remains fresh.
By: Princella Selasi Yawa Amevor/Office of the HOD, Public Affairs, University of Profesional Studies, Accra
Email: [email protected]