In recent times, I have been aware of the silent tussle of attention between parents. There has been this subtle way of marking territorial control when it comes to commanding attention from your kids.
Some fathers believe it is the manly figure and baritone voice that starts the trips, then they bark out a series of orders and the kid nods comprehension – that cycle doesn’t ALWAYS work. Most mothers play the belly game and cunningly enjoy the moment she holds them at ransom for a heavy price – Attention and Loyalty. Trust me, its crucial in a budding family.
Attention – the state of commissioning your mental, physical, emotional and what other -al factors necessary to get a particular information per time. Loyalty – the state of devotion to a person or cause with intense passion. These 2 values are very important in every growing institution. I was with a friend who just came from Benin City where he was posted 5 years ago to head a unit and He is doing quite fine.
When we got to his house, his kids came rushing out gleefully to jump into his hands and ransack the trunk to see the goodies Dad bought for them, then came his beautiful wife with a smile that shows the fondness. He has a boy, 5 years and a girl, 7 years old. We went in to further the pleasantries and feed the belly.
The next morning, he called me for an evening hangout. While we were at the pub, with loud music blaring, I could tell that he was burdened with something. I asked him, ‘Guy wetin happen?’ and I was met with an automatic ‘Nottin’. But he couldn’t hide the annoyance. I just smiled and had to only wait for a few minutes before he blurted, ‘That woman don colonize those kids shaaa!’.’How naa?!’, I replied with so much sarcasm in my voice to realise that was his brooding pot.
Then he started: ‘After you left last-night, everything was normal until when I noticed the kids were still up till 11pm watching television, the father in me said this is not right, this is not the foundation I want these kids to have. Then I told them to switch it off and go to bed, the older one turned to look at me with a pout and went to back to the TV like I just said “how are you”, the younger one didn’t even hear me!’. He paused for breath intake, then continued, ‘I repeated myself with my voice sterner than the first time, then they reluctantly started dragging their bodies from the floor and as they were about to leave the living room, the older one half-turned and said “Thats how you will come and be disturbing someone, when you are in Benin we always enjoy with mummy oo, we sleep and play when we want oo, you will now be telling someone to go and sleep when i have not watched my princess Sophia finish. And if it is mummy, mummy will give us chips to eat while we are watching our cartoon oo’. She was close to tears when she finished her lecture, then turned to go to their room with her bodyguard brother of 5 years old behind her. I was stunned on the spot and didn’t even know they had slammed the door and my wife was beside me looking at me. I had a hot row with her last night about the values she has been teaching these kids and guess what she said, ‘Am I a superwoman?, Your kids need you by their side! I am only their mother, not their father! Come and start doing your responsibilities, I was trained by my own father and mother!. Infact I am tired!.’
I didn’t reply her, I just kept quiet and went to bed because I wanted peace to reign. I stared at the ceiling for a long time before sleep moved me.To make matters worse, in the morning they came to my room to apologize. The older one said, ‘Good-morning daddy, how was your night?, we came to tell you we are sorry for being rude to you last night. Please forgive us.’ I just looked at them, then smiled and replied, ‘Its ok, just go to your room, I’ll come talk to you soon’. As they got to my doorpost, the younger one turned and said, ‘Daddy, when are you going back to Benin, today?’, with the stress on TODAY. I just replied calmly that I was going to be around for the next 2 days and I carefully took in the look of disappointment on their faces as their backs retreated.’
I asked him how much time he spends with them, then found out he only comes home 3 days in 3 months!. Like 3 days in 84 days!! Ridiculous!! Its unfair to the wife and kids! Really unfair. You cant just appear and start giving orders to the kids who haven’t registered your authority fully and just know you as a figurehead and Daddy-Title-Holder. No matter how far the money trail takes you, don’t let it take you far from your home. Keep in touch with your home so you don’t start accusing your wife of bewitching your kids against you.
I was able to advice him on this matter considering my experience with Kids Foundation Values (watch out for this space for more on KFV). He recently called me to tell me that he has made plans to move the whole family to Benin City, which I told Him was a great idea.
If you cant organise your own KINGDOM, how can you function in others? Please don’t let “PAPERCHASE” strain your family. try to be there during the formative years of your child so you breed a FRIEND not an ENEMY..
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