By: Andy Akporugo
It used to make literal meaning to refer to marriage as the art of settling down, such that when one decided to get hitched, it wasn’t so that they could float in the air, alone or together, but essentially to settle down in a house, to a home. Today however it would seem that many married couples, although having shared apartments, actually belong in the street or some unkind offices where serious work is pretended for long hours, in far distances. Home is where they sleep and keep their wardrobes and bathrooms!
And sometimes in between seasons of work and other outdoor self-serving endeavours, sperms too tired to walk back home stumble onto errant eggs late to leave the stalls, and by God’s good graces, an addition is made to the travesty of a union, unto chants of halleluiahs! The child is called a gift from God unto our care, but soon enough we wake up to our reality. The reality of work and money over all; and so soon, very soon we begin to fit the requirements of care of this gift-child into the little spaces that we constrain ourselves to create, to the discomfort of our personal preferences. We seek to do an act only achieveable by love, inconveniently or even grudgingly.
We all suffer from working. Kitchens built to enjoy the heat and aroma of good cooking are made to adjust to a life of want, as families are majorly fed out of freezers and microwave ovens – devices which consume rather than vomit heat and aroma. Parents leave home before the children are awake and return when they are asleep and in between, for every requirement of good parenting, a hand is hired. Yet good parenting is always a straddle between administering care and giving as well as enforcing instruction to shape the child’s mind, the latter pair of which requires to be effective, a certain measure of authority and control, along with a regard of the instructor with some awe by the child – a very dangerous situation when we consider that the instructor of the child of these well trained parents is invariably some ill-bred, badly educated person who is mostly unhappy with their job!
Many times, we may try to supervise these child minders by periodic checks to ensure that our fundamental instructions are what they execute and not theirs, but how much do we expect to achieve really when we are likely to always receive positive report by the natural conspiracy of a minder unwilling to work hard and a child happy to be saved the rigours of good training? Marrying Irresponsibility!
Yet, work isn’t every day. Leisure has full custody of the weekends, except that once again, this has become mainly an outdoor event, spent in Churches, association meetings, scheduled events, salons and designer shops of noisy chatter, and seedy bars of sports witnessing; and at end we all have children of whom we know nothing and whose physical resemblance of us is actually a reproach to us for our failure to pass on the care we mostly received from our own parents, who dealing with the same issues of work we grapple with today, handled it differently for our sakes. This is how we have succeeded in churning out children who know no history and can’t speak their traditional languages, adolescents whose only vision of dance is sexual; children for whom love is an expression of weakness; ‘shortcut’ children for whom domestics isn’t ‘hip’ and who not used to a double-bath daily, look good in dresses of perfumes and body sprays; those whose knowledge of fashion is demonstrated by skimpiness and ghoulishness and whose bodies are a canvas for all kinds of art and embarrassing pinholes for all kinds of jewelry, those who have been taught to pursue individual freedom to such extents as to search for love within their own genders; they whose genius is in inventing illicit drugs, whose mouths are as foul as their breath and who having been raised in our absence on the infallible logic of strange civilizations elsewhere brought to our homes by cable TV, are very well armed to defeat our late efforts at restitution after we have done our share of work for this lifetime.
Well, at some point we must understand that our most important job, to ourselves and society, is to rear our children right, by personal supervision. It is not a job that we can afford to abdicate under the excuse of delegation, the pursuit of financial provisions and the contestation of locating between the sexes whose direct responsibility it is to perform.