Parents and guardians, agoooo! Do you know where your children are right now? Yes I think so, well am not sure, yes I do Osu, The Mall or maybe Tema, Kokrobite?
So you are sleeping and your legs are hanging outside. This piece is inspired by what happened during the recent riots in the UK of all places? I think many of us heard the desperation of the police over there when they asked parents to call their children to order, they asked loudly “Do you know where your children are at this moment, please call them to order” I knew then how lucky were are in our homeland , our culture and natural way of life allow us much more hold on our children and should such a thing ever happen in Ghana most parents will be able to call their children to order. Okay, Okay so maybe I was born in the dark ages but I think I can still stick my neck out on this one.
Allow me to refer to them as kids from now on-for it is true that “children will always be children” but in our African or let me not wonder far in our Ghanaian family set up kids are kids for as long as they are kids and trust me you will reminded by all around you as you take one new step towards adulthood each second and minute of the day. Let me walk through memory lane a little bit and remind you of some of the ways that elders would use to get a child to fall in line, remember a simple wink or blink of an eye, or a painful pinch on your arm, stepping on your toes, mother’s face suddenly looking weird all meant many things
1.Shut up adults are talking
2.Do not take the money (that you so want) from uncle
3.Stop raising your voice at grandma
4.Stand up for the old man to sit down
5.Go and change that short skirt
And many, many more things you shouldn’t do especially when elders are around- it sure was a tough life for a kid then.
Call your children to order indeed, many years ago my three year old daughter took us off guard when she told a potential suitor to my young friend these words strung together in one breath “ Uncle Charles you look like a monster in one of my story books and also you are too short” so I pinch her here and get an “ouch mummy stop pinching me” Thankfully the potential suitor had some sense of humour or did he, well he never came back to continue the chasing so maybe he had laughed from pain? So I can come back to my question once again for that is what started all these rumblings!
Do you know where your children are? Yes or no period! So husband looks at wife and as always being the last to know everything asks if wife knows where Kofi is at this point in time, acting all grand and important as usual once again. A hard stare comes his way but he doesn’t even notice.
Hey! Hey! Call your children to order- is this possible even in our African setting now, when children will say ten when you say two, ah! ah! in our days “ who born dog”. Forgive the expression but that’s exactly how is was in the sixties and beyond, you did not dare utter a word when grown -ups were talking or talk back when you are reprimanded for an offence. You will get that Ghana knock eh! Those of you who know the song “Knock on wood” will bear with me that it’s a hard knock.
This reminds me about my brother who has lived and grown children in the US forever i.e. many years now, even though the children have an American mum he decided to do things the Ghanaian way having had four strong boys, he would very quickly apply the Ghanaian knock for any offence done, whilst on holiday at his home some time ago, I overheard to my horror that his sons’ friends (these were teenagers mind you) called him behind his back” the wicked African man with that killer knock” and the funny thing is that his children agreed with the description of their father. Well as you can imagine I never had the courage to tell big bro about his nickname but I guess by now he must have found out, not from me for sure!
So where does culture and discipline meet and agree? It’s a lot of work for both parents and children to find a final meeting point that both parties are comfortable with, that both parties can fit in their today and yesterday’s world respectively. So! What is the formula to make this work, more dialogue, more knocks on the head or as they do in the western world more – “you are grounded”? Which of these actions will solve the discourse and allow you to call your kids to order with full confidence? Whichever one you choose you must take a lot of things into consideration first- is the culture basis you are quoting still relevant today?
Do you think that your children understand why you are taking that particular action?
What is the reason behind the action you are taking and what do you intend to achieve?
Most importantly who cares?
What matters is if each person comes out a winner at the end of it all. It will certainly defeat the purpose if everything ends in a big fracas-
Whatever it is the clarion call still goes out, “Call your children to order you all”
Hmmmmmm, I have said my piece ooo!!!!