by Margaret Njoroge
In the last couple of weeks my children have forced me to think hard about every comment that I make while at the house. I have to come to the grim realization that whenever I give any instructions regarding certain behaviors within the home, they closely watch to ensure that the rules apply across the board. In the last couple of weeks, two events happened that left my mouth wide open with surprise or is it shock.
A couple of weeks ago, after my daughter was back from school, as is the habit I inquired on how the day was and generally whether she was an obedient girl in school. So after some chit-chat, she eventually opened up and confessed to me that she had been temporary taken to the ‘naughty corner’ in the school. Surprised by this admission, I asked her what she had done to deserve this punishment. Apparently she had clicked at the teacher after she was reprimanded for making noise in class.
As a good mother I reprimanded her and we discussed on various reasons why her behavior at school was not acceptable. After an extensive discussion she promised that she will not repeat that behavior again. The following day, I followed up and she confirmed that she had not clicked at the teacher again and now she was a great girl. Mother and daughter were happy, and mission was accomplished or so I thought.
A few days later after my husband had arrived home; I started offloading to him all my day-long frustrations. I was very agitated about a certain event that had occurred on that particular day and here my daughter was competing with me for his attention. In the midst of the discussion with my husband and quite unconsciously I clicked. My daughter did not even wait for a second and she interjected, ‘Mum, you clicked at baba! Do you know this is bad manners? You are not a good woman if you click at baba. Okay?’ I was dumbfounded. For a few minutes I was left speechless. I apologized to her for the mistake and promised not to repeat that behavior again. She made me apologize to the dad for clicking to prove that I have accepted my fault.The dad was there laughing and supporting her to ensure that I apologize to him and hug him as a sign of a truce.
In the second case, it was a really awkward and a little bit embarrassing. We were all in the living room.Josh was doing his homework after school,the househelp was mopping the floor,I was baking and Hope was idle so she came over to my work station.She started eating cakes and I told her to stop,after several attempts of telling her to stop and mum was angry,she shouted at me, “Stupid!”
I was very shocked. I could not believe that my own daughter, for whom I had done everything to bring her up in a Godly way in the best way I knew how, could actually call me stupid. There is no way I could accept that lying down. If you are a mother reading this, you would agree with me full heartedly. I asked her, ‘Who showed you how to call people stupid? Do you this is very bad? What did we agree last time? Is that what I taught you?’ The questions were just flowing, one after another like a hot or angry volcano.
In the midst of the flow of questions, my son swiftly interjected, ‘It is you mum. You are the one who showed her how to call stupid. You remember the day you were beating me up for taking my story book to school? Do you remember? You called me stupid. And you were very angry. Do you remember? It was you!’
That was one moment that I wished would move very fast. The house girl just hummed and I could just imagine what was going on in her mind. By the simple seemingly innocent statement from my son, I had lost any moral authority to actually discipline my daughter. How could I ask her to stop doing something that I myself was doing? Without knowing, my own son had actually reduced me to an accomplice to the said crime committed by my daughter and declared that there was no way I could be a judge. So I had to apologise to Josh, and then Hope apologised to mum and we all agreed it was wrong to call people names .Ooh dear it was not easy at all.
After these two occurrences, my whole perspective on parenting has been completely changed. I now seek to influence my children by following up actions with words. Teaching them to be generous and being generous in return, teaching them to love one another and demonstrating the same love to them and to my husband as well, teaching them to praise God by teaching them songs to praise God, teaching them to love the less fortunate people by involving them in choosing some of their clothes to give away to those less fortunate children who lack basic needs and ensuring that I accompany them to these children’s home. I have learnt that by loving and honoring my husband, I demonstrate my love to them as well. By constantly reminding them that Dad is the head of the family, they learn to respect the authority of their father and they love and respect him as well.
It’s indeed a journey, a motherhood journey this time round.
About the authors
The Author, Margaret, is the wife of Justus Njoroge who is a born again Christian, a husband and a father of two lovely kids. Justus is a man on a Journey learning to become a loving husband and father. He is not a counselor, he simple shares what has worked (or seems to be working) for him as a father and a husband. They are currently undergoing a 40-day love dare. Follow their journey on Justus’s blog