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“Run” was my first instinct. “Uuuuwi sitarudia tena”, was what left my mouth. A promise my tiny mind would make when my body was itching and fleeing from mother dearest with a slipper in hand. My feet would only get me as far as the door as my then seemingly omnipresent mother would catch up to me and whip the daylight out of me for coming home late. I always thought she would kill me.
I’d go to my room feeling a stranger in my own home. The evening meal would be devoured somberly as my earlier promise to sleep hungry would be met by fierce criticism from my stomach. “Unakaa vibaya ukikasirika”, she would jokingly comment at the dinner table and like a little magic spell, I would find myself no longer angry at her a smile popping on the edge of my face. Her objective achieved, never would I be late again.
Failing to do an assignment would warrant a death sentence as the entire staffroom would perform a harambee on your behind as a token of appreciation for your zero effort.
Numerous similar encounters with the slipper wielding monster/magician would follow and with each a life lesson learnt. From learning to respect everyone, age irrespective to heading home straight from school. Mama with a slipper in hand remained the ultimate teacher at home.
At school, nothing was different. I used to think these adults we’re allergic to pampering the little ones. Failing to do an assignment would warrant a death sentence as the entire staffroom would perform a “harambee” on your behind as a token of appreciation for your zero effort. The teacher on duty would act as judge, jury, and executioner on all matters discipline with the title for harshest teacher up for grabs as they made it seem. Discipline was paramount.
Today I met Mama Jayden. She was crying. She began telling me how Jayden comes home at odd hours of the night. “Imagine Jayden juzi alikuja nyumbani saa Saba na ako form one”, she narrates mid sob. I could not help but realize that there are more Jaydens mushrooming from today’s community. A new species emerging in the ecosystem.
While evolution seems to be a good idea, this breed tends to be somewhat horrifying to the adults. They defy orders, do what they want in the name of being informed heck they even take their parents to court if they dare brush the dust off their naive cheeks in the name of discipline. Where did we go wrong?
Torn between both parents working a six to six job and said parents buying electronic gadgets for him to compensate for their absence, Jayden has little option but to be misinformed with the internet being the new parent and Jayden a package of mischief.
I see teachers losing their jobs for punishing students, parents tackling court cases for physically punishing their own children and wonder whether society has gone soft or they’re born of glass these days. Untouchables.
Back to Mama Jayden. I’m glad to report she has stopped sobbing now and is calm. I ask her when the last time she punished Jayden was and she has no idea. I cannot help but sympathize. Diggers of our own graves.
I stand to leave wishing her well in her endeavors. Thoughts racing in my mind on how my own Jayden though not yet born will have it rough with me.
I promise to do Mama proud and not spare the rod.