When principles are limited to the girl-child

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By Elizabeth O.

It is generally believed that female children are to be raised under strict parentage. This might be linked to the vulnerability of the girl-child to human predators.

Media reports of sub-human treatment such as rape, violence against women and the likes flood our societies daily. Thus, parents have made it an obligation to ensure the protection of their female children by laying rigid rules and principles backed by threat of sanction if flawed.

Asides the parental efforts towards protecting the female children, several organisations also organize educative programmes for girl-children year in, year out. However, as beautiful as this may sound, the nurturing of the female child in many homes and in the society at large are done at the detriment of the male-children who also are important personalities, whose education go a long way in reducing the rate of crimes in the society. Unfortunately, many parents, teachers and other educators are guilty of this negligence.

Mother of three, Mrs. Rita Ayomiwale, blessed with two girls and a boy recently had an experience which taught her a lesson on this important aspect of life.

According to her, as she was performing her motherly roles in the kitchen some days ago, she suddenly heard some screams from the sitting room where her children were seated but she dared not bother since they are of age.

The two girls Bola and Kemi aged 16 and 15 respectively rushed into the kitchen amidst the commotion panting heavily from what seems to be a series of laughter. Finally Kemi got the floor, “Did you hear what he called you?!” Bola and Kemi yelled in unison, each of them talking over the other, trying to get a word in edgewise.

The “he” they were referring to, according to Mrs. Rita, was their younger brother Ojo. Bola, the elder of the two daughters went on to explain that, after Ojo had eaten lunch, he got up from the table and left his plate behind. The two girls had subsequently thrown a fit, ordering him at once to clean off his plate and put it in the sink.

Feeling the heat from his sisters, Ojo, wisely, did what they told him but not before justifying his “malfeasance” by explaining that he “thought the cleaning fairy would do it.” After the explanation, Mrs. Rita stated that her daughters stood staring at her, waiting for her to understand what they meant by cleaning fairy.

Mrs. Rita related the scene that she had naively asked them who the cleaning fairy was only to be told that her youngest child had called her a cleaning fairy. She recounted that she turned to her son, who stood in the dining room within earshot, laughing at the commotion he was causing.

“Did you call me the cleaning fairy?” Mrs. Rita asked her son in disbelief. The 11 years old confessed that he did amidst hysterical giggles.

“Who’s the cleaning fairy?” Mrs. Rita asked again expressing her confusion.

Nearly five years ago, Mrs. Rita had dissolved her 16 years marriage which made her assume full physical custody of her children as her husband made the unilateral decision to stay away. Automatically, she became a single mother.

She revealed that since then, she had always tried to do it all. The burden of cleaning, tidying up, errands, cooking, laundry, and that of the paperwork rested on her. No sooner had she realized that she could not do it all, than she began to delegate to her female children.

“The first task I assigned the girls was to make their beds in the morning. This required me giving my daughters each a detailed tutorial on how I want their beds to look and, more than that, my commitment.” She confessed that passing off this daily chore was difficult at first, but ultimately changed her life as her life suddenly became less rushed and less stressful.

She further stated that she made them cook their meals, set the table, clear their plates, and manage their laundry.

“But somehow as my son came of age, I failed to give him his assignments as I did to my girls, sometimes they did complained but I paid no attention. I only corrected him severally without apportioning him his duty. However, since the time he called me a cleaning fairy, I realized my mistakes, I realized that I had not set for my son the same expectations I had set for my two daughters, I was not only telling him that he is superior to his sisters, I was also telling my daughters that they are inferior to him.”

However, after the “cleaning fairy” comment, Mrs. Rita said that she had taken a corrective measure to ensure her son does not view women as inferior by making him join his elder sisters in executing their chores.

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