Thursday, 5 December 2013

Trusting His Providence

Once my hopes and
My dreams lay shattered
About my feet while I
Sat wondering how I would
Find the strength to rise again
This seemed as difficult as
Trying to dent a wall of steel
With a blow so I felt hopelessly
Lost believing that life has
Dealt me a heavy blow as a result
The eagerness, thrill and enthusiasm
Have bled out of me leaving despair.
But I wanted to enjoy life at its best
Not go for the crumbs that fell from
Life’s table so I worked harder
And  having done my best
 I left the rest to God
Trusting in His providence.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Child and Wife Abuse

After eating his dinner, Amadi Jones invited his wife Chioma to his hut for a discussion.
“Chioma, please come and sit down; I want to discuss something very important with you.”
“What is that?” Chioma asked as she sat on a wooden stool.
“The Igwe of our village, His Royal Highness, Chief Ike Ochendo wants to marry Barbara.”
“Marry? But Barbara has not finished high school.”
“Girl child education is useless. My priority is the boys. Barbara will be better off marrying His Royal Highness, Chief Ike Ochendo than going to school. He has more money than he knows what to do with.”
“But you know that Barbara wants to be educated. She will be highly disappointed.”
“Yes. Disappointed.”
“She should be very happy for the great opportunity to marry Igwe. He will give her a life of luxury especially if she is able to give him an heir to the throne.”
“I believe you know the secret of His Royal Highness, Chief Ike Ochendo’s wealth?”
“I don’t know. What is the secret of his wealth?” Amadi Jones asked angrily.
“It is rumoured that he used the womb of his first wife to make money that is why she couldn’t bear children. And when he wanted to renew the medicine which he does every three years he used that of his second wife and that is why she cannot born another child after her daughter. I don’t want him as a son-in-law.”
He waved his hand dismissively. “I am not asking for your approval. I am only informing you. She must marry Igwe. He has not only promised to write off my debt but has also agreed to give me more money which will enable me, send Elliot to the university.”
“You can’t be serious.”
“I’ve never been more serious all my life. What Barbara needs is a rich and powerful husband like Igwe to take good care of her.”
“A husband? Igwe?”
“Yes. A rich man who has the wherewithal to take good care of her. And there is no better person than Igwe.”
“After what he has done to his wives only a lunatic would want his daughter or any member of his family to be his wife.”
Amadi slapped her. “Shut up. That’s an order. Can you prove your allegations? Or you want to talk yourself into real trouble?”
She was almost dislodged from the wooden stool. Stunned, totally bewildered, she stared wide-eyed at her husband, and lifted a hand to her cheek.
“But I really believe His Royal Highness, Chief Ike Ochendo is not a good man. I don’t trust him.”
“I do.”
“He cannot marry my daughter, I don’t trust him.”
“What the hell are you talking about? I don’t want His Royal Highness, Chief Ike Ochendo to feel you don’t trust him, so be very careful.”
“Remember the Igwe is thirty years older than Barbara.”
“Don’t just bring that up. A man is supposed to be older than his wife. Prior to Western culture, our culture gave opportunities to marriage proposals to minors in many circumstances. Specific marriage choices and arrangements were generally organized by the couple’s parents and betrothal was traditionally arranged when each intended partner was still a child or even at birth. Relationships, exchanges, and alliances formed between the prospective families formed the main points of the marriage decision. And where a family was weighed down by financial burden, like is my case, they might be forced into giving out their girl-child in early marriage to a family with a better prospective future, like Igwe’s.  So I am not doing anything strange.”
“But not with that margin. Igwe is a shameless old man who wants to marry a helpless little Barbara, without regard to her well-being, safety, success, emotional make-up, education and survival. In time past, minors could be betrothed to an adult man but she would not live with him until she came of age. Both families and the entire community would know that she was legally tied to the family of her would-be husband. In that case, no other suitor was welcomed; neither would there be any kind of trespasses upon the betrothed girl. But the most important and honorable aspect of this special arrangement was that sexual indulgence was not permitted.”
Barbara started to open the door and then inexplicably stopped, just there holding it ajar, peering into the sitting room.
Amadi knocked Chioma to the ground and was sitting on her. “You have no right to insult the Igwe or question my decision. In our culture, another child marriage is often recorded when a polygamous man passes on. According to law and custom of our people, his young son inherits his stepmother. She becomes his wife. Unfortunately, both may never have sexual intercourse but the widowed stepmother regards and takes the little boy as her lawful husband. Oftentimes, the boy grows up and marries a woman of his choice and age. In case, his stepmother gets pregnant through an affair, the child so delivered is for her stepson not her late husband. So who are you to challenge our culture?”
“I don’t support child marriage. It is sheer evil. The consequences are enormous. It comes with both health and psychological implications. It is a case of a child giving birth to a child. What do you think will happen to her psyche? She will be mentally battered. It is sheer immorality. Any man who derives pleasure in marrying an under aged girl is a paedophile. It is dishonorable and debasement of human dignity. In any case, why would any man give out his little girl in marriage before maturity? ”
“You’re still talking?” Pinning her shoulders with his knees. He tormented her, slapped her, punched her face and pulled her hair. Barbara watched mesmerized, unable to move or speak. She watched her father beat her mother as if she was an enemy. Her mother struggled to free herself, writhed and kicked, but he was far stronger than she and weighed nearly twice as much.
“I have said and I will continually say it that a man who has erection at the sight of a girl child needs castration, not marriage. And yet, a 14-year-old girl cannot vote, or drive, but can be married away. This is perversion. It is morally wrong to even consider giving out a child in marriage. It is criminal to even consider such.”
Amadi seeing that beating had not quietened Chioma, decided to leave her alone. He started to climb off her, hesitated, glancing furtively about to make sure they were alone, then gave her a hard punch again in the face. He bounded up and dashed out of the room to behind the house. A few moments passed. Silence prevailed. He slowed to a walk, smiled to himself, and then disappeared around the corner toward Igwe’s palace.
Chioma sat up, coughing and gagging, spitting out blood. Her nose was also bleeding where Amadi had struck her. She wiped it with the back of her hand, and looked at the blood. Tears flowed down her cheeks. Barbara eased the door shut and walked away, shocked with the treatment her mother received from her father.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Role of Mothers in Homes

The mother in the family has many roles. Her role rapidly shifts from that of mediator, counselor, role model, nurse, teacher, provider, protector, playmate et cetera. As I emphasize the role of the mother, this does not mean that the father is not important or he is less important. What the mother give to her child and the extent to which she can give, is dependent on that which she can receive from her relationship with her husband. If she receives joy, peace, support and love from the relationship this is exactly what she will pass on. A sad and depressed mother cannot exude love, peace and joy. If she only receives empty promises, frustrations, and false expectations, that is what she will pass on as well. So as I emphasize the role of the mother, this does not in any way play down on the father’s role, but rather it points to the unique role a mother plays in a family.
          Mothers differ in style and technique, but most mothers agree on the basis of what the role of a mother entails. However, approaching motherhood from the angle of the positive influence a mother can have on her child culminates in few precious nuggets of the essence of motherhood.
          Expression of jealousy and disagreements often crop between children in the same family. These expressions may be so, vociferous and unfounded as to alarm the mother. They are quite normal, however, and even within reasonable limits, provide a harmless outlet for the release of emotional tensions that have developed.
          Conflict is a part of life.
          The mother herself may sometimes be surprised to find that she is the focus of jealous outbursts. This, too, is normal at one stage of a child’s development. These jealousies of the other children may be even, take the form of expressions of contempt against them. The only remedy is to meet the outbursts with kindness and reassurances that things are not as bad as they look in the childhood’s perspective.
          Some children seem to be so willful that they cause their mothers considerable anxiety. In the years past, mothers set out to break the will of a child who is stubborn. But this method was not founded on sound principle and probably resulted in many ruined personalities. Why should a mother be so stern in her dealings with a child who seems to be too self-assertive? Adults sometimes are confused over when to assert themselves and when to submit. How can we blame children for being similarly confused? In these cases patient, tactful handling will do more good than stern punishment.
Mothers should help children settle disputes so as to avoid siblings’ rivalry. Your approach can make it seem that you love everyone equally or that you favor one over the other. Be careful that both your love and approval are equal for each child. Work to gain that deep understanding of every child’s underlying needs and modes of expressions.
          Do your children think you are fair or do they accuse you playing favorites? Do they respect your judgment, though strict, in your discipline or do they think you’re unreasonable? These are some of the questions you, as a mother will have to ask yourself. Gone are the days of mother knows it all. At home, school, children today are encouraged to think for themselves, to express opinions frankly. How your children feel about you as a person and as a mother is very important to them, to you, and to the happiness of the whole family.
          Most mothers aim to provide for the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of their children. On a physical level, this is likely to include a healthy, clean environment and nourishing food for optimal growth. Emotionally, the mother endeavor to provide a calm, safe haven, seeking opportunities to encourage the child and foster positive self-esteem. Mentally, mothers usually sing and read to their children and later help them with homework. Mothers, often than not, may be the parent, who introduces their children to religion or spiritual guidance. Motherhood creates a desire of wanting to ensure a child has every basic need met.
          The moment a mother holds the fruit of her womb in her arms for the first time, maternal instinct takes hold as well as the need to nurture, protect and love her precious child. Mothers handle their children with gentle mannerisms and softness. In addition, mothers instinctively try to protect their children from pain as well as physical discomforts. Mothers provide improved nurturing environment where their children can feel safe and secure. Children will never survive without constant protection. But note that if your child grow up with too much giving in or giving up, too much help and rescuing, or too much criticism and blame, he may not feel good about himself. His self-respect and self-esteem may be poor.
Children who do not feel good about themselves are likely to do one of two things: they will give in and become doormats to others, or they will be arrogant and controlling out of an effort to compensate. Mothers who feel good about themselves are much more likely to raise children who have a healthy self-esteem by not being over protective. Emotionally healthy children are reasonably in touch with how they feel and what they need to cope with these feelings most of the time. Encourage your children to learn to swim, skate, ski, climb, and take part in sports. Every skill they ca master adds to their confidence, broaden their social options and keep them from the boredom. A mother should be involved and cheer them on their pursuits ensuring it is not life threatening.
          Willingness to do things with your child is important. Time together can mean going to special events, sharing an activity you both enjoy. It is important that when you spend time with your child, you are genuinely interested and involved in what the two of you are doing. Your child knows when you are just going through the motions or doing whatever you are doing half-heartedly. One problem faced by a busy mother is that it is often hard to coordinate schedules. Most of the mothers have to work to help overburdened husbands.
She may think that Sunday is a perfect time to spend time with her child, but her child may have reserved the time for socializing with his friends. Remember that if your child turns down your invitation to do something that he ordinarily enjoys, it is more likely due to bad timing than disinterest on his part. A good mother enjoys doing things with her child and takes pride in his accomplishments. She believes that a mother has an obligation to understand her child’s needs and feelings. She treats the child’s interest and problems as meaningful and shows genuine concern. At the same time, she sets well-defined limits. In order to stay involved in your child’s life, you will need to spend time together.
A good mother cultivates the culture of good health in your children. She will nurse them when they are sick. There is no alternative to a mother for a baby. Mothers play an extremely significant role in nurturing a newborn child. It is exceedingly vital for her to devote time in looking after her baby.
When a child is sick, a mother instinctively reacts to her child’s condition, providing proper nourishment and warmth. Mothers are the ones who raise alarm when a child’s temperature spikes or something is going out the norm, calling the doctor and staying with him in the hospital if need be. Mothers provide the child with physical comforts and a place to rest. Through their gentle touch, mothers can reassure a child that all will be well. Mothers find nursing a sick child back to health as one of their deeper commitments to their children.
Contemporary studies have established that it is very crucial for mothers to spend most of their time in guiding and sustaining their babies, both physically and psychologically, especially in the early years of their life. Nannies and relatives are quite helpful but they simply cannot substitute a mother’s compassion for her baby.
Mothers definitely have a major role to play in nurturing their newborn babies, but their responsibility is not restricted to newborn babies only. Mothers have to perform crucial roles in the lives of their babies, irrespective of their ages. It is vital for mother to understand, that until the child moves away from her home and establish a home of his or her own, she happens to be the person on whom the entire wellbeing of the child rests.         
          A mother is a housekeeper. Housekeeping is the process of making a home neat and clean. Housekeeping involves disposing of rubbish, storing of belongings in their proper places, cleaning dirty surfaces, dusting, laundry, dishes, and vacuuming. Some housekeeping is chores. Home chores can be defined as homework that needs to be done at regular intervals. Housekeeping equally involves outdoor cleaning chores such as removing leaves from rain gutters, washing the pool, putting away lawn equipment, washing windows, and cleaning doormats. In a more elaborate form it includes the budget and control of expenditures, preparing meals and grocery shopping, paying bills as well as cleaning.
          A housewife when the children are asleep or at school, focus on house chores, cleaning or running errands such as paying bills and buying food. Working mothers contribute financially to the household to pay bills. They juggle family and personal relationships with their careers. Housekeeping is a tedious task. When there is cleaning and baking to be done the child can be crying at the same time. Sometimes mothers have to be holding their babies while they tend the flying pans.
Care Giver
          A good mother is expected to contribute her whole life to her family. Mother is the glue that holds a family together because in most cases they provide the loving care and support needed by growing children. The nurturing of a mother provides an unparalleled and vital part of a child’s care. It takes learning and practice to handle with proficiency. It is not an easy job because mothers learn the caring as they go. It is helpful if your children are reared in a caring home so that they can pass it on to their own children. a good mother is devoted to care for her family and put them before all else. The ideal growing up environment a mother can provide for her children is a warm caring home.
          A mother must teach her child the value of proper education. A mother in most cases is the first teacher of a child. The first song a child hears is probably sung by his mother. It is from her the infant learns the rudiments of formal education such as 1,2,3, … and a,b,c, …Mothers read aloud to their child, fostering their early literary skills. Mothers also patiently points out common objects and name them, enabling speech and auditory development. It is established fact that mother is the nearest person to a child. He or she grows up watching the mother and her actions. The first syllables taught to the child are from the mother. Mothers instinctively begin teaching children about the world through their communication and interactions with their children.
A mother not only teaches the numbers, alphabets, shapes and colors to her child, but also manners, eating habits, and gestures. It is to be remembered that much of our communication is done through gestures which one again are first learnt from mother. A mother also teaches her daughter and son to play with a doll and a ball respectively. Safety precaution is another important lesson a child learns from his mother. Part of the job is to teach children about the world they live in. a mother also teaches her child appropriate social behavior (how to share and take turns) as well as responsibility (by dividing chores or requesting assistance with a task).
          As a child grows and becomes more matured the learning process never ends. Mother always has an answer for all curious questions of the little child. With more maturity the role of the mother becomes more of a friend and guide. From childhood to a teenager, the transformation is drastic. Questions of life, death, marriage, existence starts to engage the developing mind. Mother again is the solution provider to all these questions.
          Nancy Lu, author and parent of two gifted children, writes, “I think of a parent as a farmer preparing fertile and hospitable place for his seeds to thrive and flourish. He plows his field, sows the seeds, and then labors day after day, feeding and irrigating them, getting rid of bugs, and watching over his field with love.”
          As children grow, they will encounter many challenges, often of the emotional and mental types. Mothers can create a safe-sounding board for the child to discuss the indecision of what path to follow, mistakes, disappointments and failures. One of the most marvelous attributes of motherhood is the demonstration of unconditional love. In other words, no matter what the child did, the mother still loves the child and forgives him. Forgiving mistakes and wrongdoing is critical to the well-being of the human psyche. Because of their prior experiences, mothers can share their knowledge and relate to the child’s difficulties in a sympathetic way. Then the mothers will provide wise options and guidance to help the child move forward.
Role Model
          Mothers set the experience through their own actions as how to handle situations and cope with life. By demonstrating such things as determination in periods of trial and tribulations, grace under pressure and self-sufficiency, a parent can provide her child the skill needed to eventually become an independent, productive adult. Jonis R. Cohen, social worker and author, states, “Think about what you want your children to learn from you and what you want them to pass down to their children. Then make sure they see you live your life as you wish them to live theirs.” In a nutshell, motherhood involves allowing your child to mover forward through well guarded developmental stages and evolves into a capable adult.


Saturday, 12 January 2013

Why Some Married Women Work

Families are not what they used to be. Households in which the wife is full-time housekeeper, and the husband and father is the sole breadwinner are in the minority today. The set of variables that relate to mothers seeking employment are: 1. Economic need 2. Educational attainment 3. Child care availability 4. Occupational opportunity 5. Child care cost 6. Number of children in the home, especially the number under the age of five 7. Marital status 8. Male partner’s work schedule.  Each of these variables has been shown to either inhibit or promote mother’s participation in paid employment.
Economic need
          In cases where a simple budget indicates that the family’s expenditures exceed the income of the father, the solution that comes to mind is for the wife and mother to work. In some families the consideration given to the possibility of the wife seeking gainful employment is prompted by the fact that the husband’s earnings cannot cope with justifiable needs. The recommendation that mothers should not work will only be tenable where the father’s income can provide for basic needs which to some extent will make life worth living. Under the condition of financial strangulation the mother has to work to augment the family income.
          No general rule should be laid down to determine whether the wife and mother should work or whether she should devote herself entirely to homemaking. The decision in a given case, however, should be made only after due consideration is given to the many factors concerned. She surely should not work unless she and her husband have agreed that circumstances justify her employment.
Educational attainment
          The question is should the well educated woman remain jobless and waste her talents and acquired skill in the home simply because she is a wife and a mother? Many is answer no. is it not reasonable for her to help the husband in increasing the economic prospect of their home? The women have a saying, “What a man can do a woman can do and even better.” Women have acquired education in diverse fields of human endeavor. It is important that their talents should not be wasted but put to gainful use for themselves and their families.
          The educated, nonworking mother may over-invest her energies in her children. This can foster an excess of worry and discourage the child’s independence. In such situations, the mother may give more parenting than the child can profitably handle. Working mothers is a part of modern life. It is not aberrant aspect of it but a response to other social changes. It meets needs that cannot be met by the previous family ideal of a full-time mother and homemaker.
          Not only does it meet the couple’s needs, but in many ways it may be a pattern better suited to socializing children for the adult roles they will occupy later in life. This is not only especially true for daughters but it is also true for sons. Just as his father shares the breadwinning role and the childrearing role with his mother, so the son, too, may be more willing to share these roles. The rigid gender stereotyping perpetuated by the divisions of labor in the traditional family is not appropriate for the demands that will be made in children of either sex as adult in the new millennium.
          The needs of the growing child require the mother to loosen her hold on the child – grant him some independence. This task may be easier for the working mother, whose job is an additional source of identity and self-esteem.  However, a common experience of working mothers is feeling guilty about being away from their children. The guilt may triggered by parents who miss their children, worry that their children are missing them. They are worried if their children are receiving good child care and the long-term effect of not being around and whether it will have adverse effect on the children in future.
A woman who goes to work meets people, gains from the experiences of others and broadens her outlook while the home-ridden wife seldom get outside experience. And so, she can hardly be expected to enter into a lively chat with her husband let alone visitors. Work trusts a responsibility on the woman, helping her to learn to organize herself better and put herself together in all respect.
Child care availability
          Some people believe that a woman’s real place should be in the home. This argument rests on the premise that a mother should not only bear children but also bring them up. That is, she should give them the basic education in manners and help them develop attitudes and characters which are desirable. Therefore the possibility of her accepting employment must be conditional upon provision for the children proper upbringing. When the children are young, adequate provision for their care is difficult to arrange. This fact in itself should dissuade most mothers from working. In terms of the integrity of the family and the future well-being of the children, it is better that the family live on a more economical standard than allow the children suffer because of being deprived of the mother’s companionship and influence while she labor outside the home to provide the luxuries of life.
Occupational opportunity
          When I say work, it does not mean white collar job alone. It could be farming, petty trading, and restaurant business for the women who are good at cooking, so long as it keeps the mind busy, because an adage says that, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” A woman who engages herself in day to day honest and profitable business certainly will have no time to gossip or engage in activities that might lead to ruining her matrimonial home. Another consideration is how about if the man is retrenched?
Child care cost
          Before a couple decide that the mother should work they must first consider the cost of child care their children may require. If the income will not be able to pay for it there may not point in going ahead with the employment hence the mother working will not help solve the dire financial condition of the family.
Number of children in the home
          The number of in the home is another important variable to consider when taking decision for the mother to work or not to work. If the children are many and most of them below five years it will be advisable for the mother to stay back and take care of her children until they grow older.
Marital status
          Marital status is a great determinant whether a woman should work or not. In a situation of a single mother she has no choice but to work in order to provide for herself and her child or children. This is what joy a single mother had to say, “I don’t think living alone is something to aspire to. But it’s something I’d made peace with by the time my boyfriend walked away after I became pregnant. If opportunity presents itself again, I’ll prefer to find my other half, make life with him, and have children together and care for them.” For Joy, she has no choice but to work
          How about widows who their husbands died leaving nothing reasonably to take care of the children left behind? The widows might have no alternative but to seek paid employment to enable her take care of her children’s education and upkeep. The same applies to a woman whose husband is incapacitated. She may have to work to take care of the family including her invalid husband.
Male partner’s work schedule
          Some husbands work schedule is flexible. Under this condition it may be possible for the mother to work. Whenever she is busy her husband will attain to the needs of the children. if the man is a very busy businessman who is rarely at home it will be difficult for the children if their mother is equally very busy and have no time for them. This may in the long run prove to be “penny wise and pound foolish”, because such children could grow without proper basic family upbringing and eventually become serious liabilities to the family and the society at large.
          Husbands and wives must give broadminded consideration to their standard of values. Too many things in life are measured in terms of monetary value. The most valuable homes are not necessarily those in which the most money is spent. The best homes are those in which peace, love, and mutual respect exist among the members of the families.
On the whole, having a mother who works is beneficial to the child. This is especially true for girls whose mothers have successful careers in business or professions. The daughters of career women tend to be higher in self-esteem, better adjusted socially, and more achievement-oriented than other girls. The sons of career women tend to be more independent and to have more positive attitudes toward women and work than those whose mothers stay at home. But this can only be true when the women are able to balance their career and motherhood.