I was going to raise this topic some time ago, just wasn’t sure on how exactly to start..
The other day I went swimming and I watched a father’s interaction with his daughter. It was heart-breaking.. literally.
After having swum a few lapses with his mate, the man’s 13-year old daughter joined them in the pool; she looked happy, excited, ready to have fun. As she entered, she called upon her dad to have a look at an injured toe of hers; resting her leg on the pool-side, he inspected her foot and told her not to worry, she’ll be okay. Pleased, she laughed, hugged her dad and started playing around with him innocently. Following this, his reaction was to push her aside, tell her, “Gosh. Can’t you just grow up? Stop being so damn annoying!” and get out of the pool. The girl had tears in her eyes but laughed it off. Watching her dad exit the pool, she did a few tricks under water, calling on her dad to watch her. He waved her off, did a dismissive hand gestured, turned to continue talking to his friend who had left the pool as well, and walked away smoking a cigarette. I watched the girl sadly, and wondered how and where it had all gone wrong..
I felt it all the more, I guess, seeing as I myself am 25-years-old and still extremely playful around my dad. Of course, there is no point comparing relationships as dynamics and backgrounds are never similar, but that moment I could not but draw a parallel. And, again, I am drawing one now.
When things go wrong in society.. look at the family!
It is one of those proverbs I had to form myself; simply because I strongly believe in it. The most basic make-up of any society is the family unit. Mess with it, and you’ll have a messed-up society.. literally!
The past couple of nights were spent watching Gordon Ramsay Behind Bars; a documentary in which he -successfully, if I may add- attempted to get HMP Brixton inmates to work in the kitchen-behind bars. They eventually formed a Bad Boys Bakery and got the chain Cafe Nero to stock and sell their new tarts. It was touching and inspiring, but above all: their personal stories were eye-opening.
As a young lady with her share of experience, I’ve learnt never to judge a book by its cover and to, yes, always, dig a bit deeper. Their stories came to support just that: look deeper!
Although I am not going to retell all their stories, one that struck me was one so simple, it will serve its purpose beautifully. It is the story of Jerome Samuel’s, a 22-year old South Londoner:
Jerome grew up with both parents, but was especially fond of his father. This is rather typical for young boys looking up to a male role-mpdel, wishing to make him proud every step along the way, aiming to – one day – be just like him. Well, his father passed away when he was still young; and this male role-model was soon replaced by his grandfather. He loved his grandfather especially. Jerome’s granddad did not need to speak a word when scolding him, his eyes would speak, Jerome narrated sadly. His grandfather’s eyes would tell him what to do, when to do it, and most importantly: what not to do! But when he too passed away when Jerome was merely 12, he decided.. F*ck life! What’s the point? There was no one else to look up to, no one else to admire, no one else to impress, no one else he respected, no one else he wished to make proud, no one else to call a father.
And to those of you who think, “Well, he still had a mother; no?” I’ll simply say: it is still not the same! There is only so much a mother will and indeed can do.
I look around and see so many hurting people; especially teenagers. I was on the bus (in London) not too long ago and a 14-year old girl said to her friend, “Gosh, I can’t wait to get out of the house. I’m so excited. When are you gona get pregnant?” The system really has encouraged teenage-pregnancy. Thank goodness laws have changed and it is no more that easy to get pregnant and get housed but there is so much wrong in society.
I look around and see boys pretending to be men, boys who lack wisdom, knowledge, insight; a skill, true confidence; boys who are crying out to be taught something. I look around and see men acting like boys, simply because they never learnt what it meant to be a man. Many only grow up to “man up” without ever finding their true calling. I loved Gordon Ramsay’s dedication to Jerome. He understood Jerome was but a little boy, still young (and thank God, willing) enough to be taught. Mr. Ramsay understood the need to instil confidence in these young offenders and help them understand that they were somebodies, they could do something. They all unanimously stated that what they really needed was someone to believe in them. And this should always start within the home!
I look around and see how terribly horrible some parents treat their children and wonder why they gave birth to them in the first place? Parenting has never been easy, you should have known that. Why bring kids into a (difficult enough) world just to make them suffer even more? I am not a supporter of abortion, don’t get me wrong, but I strongly believe not everyone should have kids! Unless you are mature enough to train them up to be reasonable and responsible, self-confident adults (even if, at some point, they decide to go their own way), you should not have kids! It is neither fair on them nor society; as it does everyone involved more (direct and indirect) harm than good.
What the enemy always does, is attack the family unit. He comes between husbands and wives, parents and children, or brothers and sisters. He sows discord and strife, making sure there is not enough love to heal hurts. Once this family unit is broken, everything else is pretty much done (destroyed). If you want to improve society, start by healing families.
The family is the most basic unit of government. As the first community to which a person is attached and the first authority under which a person learns to live, the family establishes society’s most basic values. (Charles Caleb Colton)
Anyway, as said earlier, I didn’t really know where or how to start. My next couple of posts will focus on the family. What is the family? What is its importance? I will share true life stories from family and friends, and will hopefully succeed in portraying some very important insights that will aid you in making sure you build your own house on a solid foundation. Life outside always starts within your four walls..
The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home. (Confucius)