Tag Archives: parenting

Have a Kid in High School?

9 Mar

Having a kid can be so exciting. You have these high hopes and visions where you see them grow up to become successful independent adult impacting on the world positively. Your dreams and visions remain the same while they pass through kindergarten and elementary school. You find you can still control at least some aspects of their lives. Then comes middle school and you begin to lose that control and when they get into high school it’s an entirely different ball game!
When children get into high school a lot of changes take place: their dressing, outlook, relationship with their parents, speech…ah yes! Their speech. These kids come home and use some words that totally fly over our heads. Sometimes we feel so timid to ask what the words mean, I mean like hey! Who’s the parent here? But a lot can be accomplished if we stopped pretending we understood everything they said and just plain ask them, “What does that mean?”
My daughter offhandedly referred to her brother as a jock. He took it in stride while the word continued to rotate in my head…jock? Jock? What’s a jock? I remember I’ve heard the word used in many high school movies but I’ve never taken time to find out what it really means. So I swallowed, cleared my throat and said to myself, “Here goes” and I asked her, “And what does that mean? The word jock, I mean. She stares at me for a bit and seeing I was not backing down she says “It’s a word that means he’s very into sports in school.” I can tell from her expression that she’s only given me half a definition, and she knows that I know that she knows she’s trying to fool me, so she gives me part of the other half of the definition, “It also means he’s popular with the girls because he’s in shape,” and then…”and he’s not very brilliant like the nerds….”
It’s now my turn to stare and believe me I did stare. I felt different degrees of horrified. That was supposed to describe my son? All that is spent on school fees is for him to go become a “jock” in school? Trying to hide how utterly disappointed I felt I asked her, “And you, what are you in school”? and I hold my breath. She pretends to consider the question and finally says, “They may say I’m a duff, some say a nerdy duff, but it doesn’t bother me”.
Duff? Now what’s that?
“And your sister?” “Oh she’s the bully.”
So I asked her to do me a list of all the names they use to categorise themselves in school and she does and I took out time to check what each of the term actually means and it’s quite an interesting find.
The Jock
Jock
In Canada and the United States, a jock is a stereotype of an athlete. It is generally attributed mostly to high school and college athletics participants who form a distinct youth subculture. As a blanket term, jock can be considered synonymous with athlete. Similar words that may mean the same as jock include meathead, musclebrain, and musclehead. These terms are based on the stereotype that a jock is muscular, but not very smart, and cannot carry a conversation on any topic other than one relating to sports, exercise, or sex.
Going by this definition, I am definitely not interested in my son being a jock…I mean, come on!
The Popular Kids
Usually characterized by overall wealth, fashionable style, confidence, the “popular kids” vary from school to school. Depending on what school you go to, they can be intelligent, intelligent but dumb themselves down, or just downright idiots. They come in all shapes and sizes, from petite brunettes to towering blondes. Most of them throw/attend the best parties in town, date the hottest girls/boys in town, and wear the most envy-worthy clothes in town.
The popular kid is not just determined by the size of the parents’ bank account, but by how much freedom the parents give them—freedom to throw and attend lavish parties, freedom to date the hottest boys/girls, freedom to get the most ‘envy-worthy’ clothes.
In the long run the popular kids marry in the circles and inherit daddy’s business—at least in most cases.
Remember the popular kid could dumb or intelligent.

To be continued…

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So True

15 Sep

I came across a quote yesterday, it was or is a wisdom quote. I so loved the quote I had to have it re-blogged (it was originally blogged by Otrazhenie). The quote simply goes ‘The worst part about being strong is that no one ever asks if you’re okay.’

How nice to have the strong ones amongst us weak mortals. I say ‘us weak mortals’ because I don’t see myself as being strong, most times I need someone to ‘unburden’ on, someone who would perform the simple act of listening, sometimes not listening to proffer solutions but just listening. I am sure many of us fall under that category.

Point is even the weak at times have to exhibit some strength when they meet with those they are stronger than. Virtually everyone has someone or those who look up to them. A parent undergoing depression has to cast aside their depression to be strong for their children, the children is their department,they just have to man it depressed or no. Even amongst the children, the younger ones tend to look up to the older ones and the older ones simply assume the role of the strong one when the parents just aren’t there. You find older siblings forgoing their meals for the younger ones, or rustling up some food for them to eat even if they have zero cooking skills. I remember when we were little, sometimes we would get back from school and there’s nothing to eat (no prepared meal) and mum and dad are still at work. Our eldest brother would go to the backyard, there was a kind of flower garden there with some other plants that looked like vegetables, I don’t know how he did it, but he would get some of those ‘vegetables’ some snails and he always came up with tasty ‘nameless’ dishes! For us then he was the strong one and he always made sure we, his younger siblings were okay before he had his meal.

So what I am saying in effect is that there is a hierarchy when it comes to being strong. In the family arrangement, the ultimate source of strength is the husband/father. Everyone in the home looks up to him. Sometimes in trying to keep up the appearance of being strong, some of them actually do without complaining about any form of discomfort or ailment. How many sudden deaths are recorded for women, how about men in general? Do the math.

Another set of ‘strong’ ones that should be taken care of are caregivers. It is so easy to overlook caregivers and assume they are okay…always okay. I have seen several occasions where the caregiver gave up before the person they were caring for.

So true indeed the saying ‘The worst part about being strong is that no one ever asks if you’re okay.’ 

Let’s make it a habit to ask if the strong are okay, take time out to check on them and find out how they are faring. You may just find out that the strong person you are looking at may not really be that strong after all. Everyone needs some tender loving care.

Where Are We Now?

10 Sep

The long vacation started end of July for some pupils/students, early August for others, and like every other holiday, the children could not wait to really get into it. Then, the menace called Ebola set in. The press had a field day, spreading terror how best they could. It was like “Catch Ebola in the bus-stop nearest to you”. What else could ruin a holiday than a life-threatening virus.

Granted, the sensationalism created a lot of awareness, (let’s not talk about the bathe and drink salt saga) and a whole lot of changes in many. Notable amongst others is how orderly Nigerians became…no more pushing and shoving at bus-stops, minimal body contact inside of buses, and then the hand sanitisers!

I think producers of hand sanitisers made their greatest sales this period. You can find hand sanitisers sticking out of purses, back pockets, breast pockets… Even those who know nothing about the sanitisers use them these days. For some hand sanitisers replaced the hand creams. It is not surprising to find some using hand sanitisers after washing their hands with soap under running water! Strikes me as quite funny, since the washing of hands with simple soap and running water is really all that is needed, maybe the sanitisers are for ‘double’ protection.

Next we have multiple resumption dates for schools. The Federal government’s directive to adjust the school resumption date was greeted with mixed reactions. Those whose entire livelihood depends on schools’ resuming would not hear of it. If you ask me, all the brouhaha over the resumption date is entirely selfish. Have we really sat back to think about what would happen if this virus enters the school environment? We shall be talking about the wiping out of whole families! The ‘it is not my portion’ ideology alone would cause the biggest problem.

Many, due to their religious affiliations do not believe that anything ‘bad’ can happen to them. This in itself is a high powered self deceit. Bad things happen everyday, even to the most righteous of men! Anyway, back to Ebola, how many parents would have a child running a fever, vomiting, etc and associate the illness to the dreaded virus? We would first try out our usual self medication, during which time the virus would simply pass on to others within the family. If that doesn’t work the next port of call is the church for ‘faith healing’. Even if there is a nagging suspicion of what the problem really is, who would be brave enough to give it its rightful name, after all ‘it is not our portion’. Of course, the hospital is the last resort.

So where exactly are we now? Are schools resuming on the 22nd of September? 13th of October? Indefinitely?

Putting aside our selfishness, what exactly is the right thing to do?

School Again

23 Sep

It is another September and the children are back to school, this time with a twinge of excitement. Did you ask why? Well it is a brand new term in a brand new session, which means brand new classes with brand new thingies. By that I mean new shoes, bags, etc. Everything is generally new.

Now while the kids are celebrating “all things new,” parents are examining the deep holes in their pockets. Parents generally have the deepest holes in their pockets during this period. Schools squeeze and parents have no other option than to respond.

It is a thing of pride and joy when the kids get promoted into a new grade. Right now my eldest daughter has roughly three years more to graduate from high school. She is so proud of her result from the last national exam (I am proud of her too if I say so myself). And she wore her new “seniors” uniform today with a bright smile. The last kid also reached a landmark-she got into high school today! She too wore a big smile to school. She can’t get over the notion that she is now a “big girl.” Then my boy began his second year in high school. He wore a smile too (but not as big as the others).

I am happy and proud of them all, in spite of the deep hole their progress has created in our pockets and I am sure that all the parents out there share my joy because it is a reflection of theirs.

A big shout out to all parents!

In-laws or Out-laws

16 Sep

They would always be there either invited or uninvited (mostly uninvited) peeking into your affairs and offering u7nsolicited advice. If they had their way they would tell you how to sleep with your spouse, how to cook for the family (if you a wife), how to raise your children, how to budget your income (and that of your spouse of course). They are the in-laws, or would you rather they were called out-laws?

The existence of in-laws happen to be a thorn in the flesh of many wives, and even husbands sometimes. For what it’s worth, you wish to high heavens that they only exist in the backgrounds, faaaar backgrounds. But alas, they would rather  have centre stage!

In Africa, a young woman is married into the FAMILY of so and so. Therefore she is married to the entire family. She needs to do everything to satisfy the entire clan because she is married to THEM, not just to their son. If any of the husbands siblings stay with them in the house, the wife does the laundry, the dishes, the cooking, the raising of the children, the shopping…. She must do all of this because there is a ready made reporter in the house. If the husband helps out, the story is, “She has turned our brother into a houseboy.” If he scolds his siblings, “Our brother has changed, she has turned him against us”. If she complains that she does not fancy a particular behavior from her husbands siblings, the story is “She has no respect”. She works and they say she is wild and too exposed (akada). She stays at home and they say she is too lazy to do anything.

Just as the woman faces the in-law problem so does the man. But that of the man may not be as direct as the woman. The problem the man often has is in-laws accusing him of being stingy and not wanting to take care of the woman’s family. When the man spends on the woman’s family, his family would complain that his wife in manipulative, and they start to draw comparisons as to how they are treated when they visit their brother home. (The accusations could be so petty as to include the quantity and or quality of food they were served when they last visited.)

The matter is made worse if the man is fickle-minded and therefore is unable to keep is parents or siblings out of HIS family life. When he is the mother’s boy or father’s pet and is the “I can’t offend my family” type; you are so in for it!

Question therefore is, Do we outlaw the in-laws?

What I Miss the Most

31 Jul

I really had to take a deep breath before putting this down. It has been hectic for two weeks running and would be for another two weeks. I feel so envious of the children, they are on vacation now, but poor old me must go to work every single day of the week…who says being a child isn’t more fun?

I envy the children their carefree childhood, and they envy me my supposedly carefree adulthood! Someone has really got to tell the children that if there is one thing they would miss so much when they grow up, it is their childhood because right now, I sure am missing mine!

A Woman’s Age

25 Jul

My mother once told me that the age of a woman depends on who is asking. That is to say that just as a chameleon changes its colour to suit the environment, a woman’s age also undergoes changes in order to blend with the ‘environment.’

Before the computer age when you could google any information you need, which would include such medical reports which are not ‘classified’…what could be classified about when you were born, I mean, we all know Prince George of Cambridge weighed 8lb 6oz! Well before now, we all rely on whatever the person in question told us to determine the age of others. The women especially had field day misleading whoever they wish, about their age. These used to be the determining factors

  • who is asking?
  • you really want to know?
  • you already know.

For their ‘peers’ women would generally slightly increase their age. They do not want their peers to look down on them because they are younger! The older you are to your peers the better…show some respect!

When they want to impress, they generally reduce their age. Women do not want their male counterparts to see them as old, so they celebrate 18 for about five years, from 18 they skip 19 and become 20 for about another five years. At this time they are approaching 30 but who knows about it? Their next birthday comes and they are 18 again! And then all of a sudden they are 28, and 28 they remain until they are wrinkled.

The only persons who know the woman’s accurate age are her immediate family members, especially their mother. Whoever would lie to their mother about their age?!? Well some dads could be deceived, you are the age you tell your father because to them you are always daddy’s little girl.

Anyway, like I said, that was then and this is now. Some of us are proud to say our age to whoever asks regardless of gender.

I have some very fond memories of my mom and her ‘all wise’ sayings, and anytime I remember her version of what determines a woman’s age, it always brings a smile.

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