By Iretiola Doyle
I find contradictions not only in the ‘big things’ but in the small things of life as well. The other day she (my last daughter) was whistling. Some new skill she has acquired. When it registered, the first thing that came out of my mouth was “stop whistling!”
Then I asked myself why … why she should stop whistling, after all I whistle… a lot of the time, especially while I’m playing my music in the car.
You see, what had happened was that somewhere deep in my subconscious I vaguely recall that according to some custom or tradition (don’t ask me which) it wasn’t proper for a’ lady’ to whistle. Like I said don’t ask me where I got it from or who told me; it’s just something vague at the back of my mind.
I had to subject that thought to analysis. What was the taboo about a seven -year old girl whistling a pleasant tune? Frankly, I’d rather have her whistle than sing along to the lyrics to some of the ‘reigning ’songs.
Which brings me to another dilemma—how much of our ‘culture and tradition’ is relevant in today’s world and how much of it is redundant? Don’t get me wrong; there are bits that I am totally enamoured with and are non-negotiable in my home, like respect and obedience and a certain reverence for elders.
But what about those ones that seek to set boundaries on what one can be or do? For instance, do I bring up my daughters in the ‘traditional’ way to be seen and not heard or do I encourage them to continuously reach for the stars allowing for no limitations and no barriers?
It’s not just with the girls either. Do I raise my men ‘traditionally’? Bring them up to believe (erroneously) that they are the ruler of all they survey? (The bane of the society we live in today). Or do I attempt to raise them as sensitive and considerate individuals and if I toe this path, will they be able to function effectively in this dog -eat-dog society?
It’s not easy o, striking that perfect balance. The fact that most parents don’t get to spend quality time with their kids because of the hustle and bustle isn’t helping either.
To each his own. Personally, I look to the Lord and His word for guidance. But one thing I know for sure is that I will not sacrifice equipping my kids for today’s world (which includes standing up for themselves or showing their claws when necessary) at the altar of tradition or because I want to pay lip service to culture.
May the good Lord continue to keep our children and grant us all wisdom.