“Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil.” ― Walt Disney
What do you want as a parent? As for me, This is What I Really Want – That My Children Grow Up Feeling Safe in This Scary World.
However, it is not about me really, but it is rather about these little lives that I have been given to nurture, protect and raise in a very scary world.
In recent times, the media keeps bombarding us with a lot of scary news. Some good, some bad and some have left me wondering at how deep the roots of hatred and inhumanity have buried themselves in the hearts of men.
I remember watching the news with my mouth wide open, as a white man displayed the height of his hidden disdain for a black man.
His hatred went public as the world watched him pin down his knee on a black man’s neck for almost 9 minutes.
This dark-skinned man called out for help and left us with these unforgettable words, ‘I can’t breathe’. Help never came his way.
His body went cold some minutes later – leaving behind painful images and memories for his children, family and loved ones. I was stunned at how the other police officers on the scene looked on with no trickle of a good conscience left in them.
My young child said to me, after seeing that heart-breaking moment in the news, ‘Mummy, why does this man have to be this wicked. He does not even fear God.’
I was lost for words as to how to go about explaining all these without sounding biased to a young child.
My home country is often not left out of the wave of bad news traveling across the world.
Here in Nigeria, there has been a steady rise in rape cases and kidnapping across the country, especially against minors.
A certain story threw our social media agog sometime ago. It was the story of a 22-year old girl, who was raped and killed in a church close to her home. She had gone there to have some quiet time to study. But unfortunately for her, the church had demons present there that day.
That young girl was called Uwa. A young undergraduate with great dreams and a beautiful life ahead. She was murdered in cold blood in the church after being raped by unknown men. Her killers have still not been found or traced till this day.
And her death like many other deaths around the world have left many wondering – Is the world really a safe place to live in right now?
Unfortunately, laws and punishments for such crimes has not achieved much in terms of justice in my country. Many of these child molesters and rapists still move around freely waiting to pounce on the next victim.
I remember growing up seeing the church as a very sacred place. I sort of felt like God lived inside the church and that reverent fear made me talk and act right whenever I was in God’s house.
Surprisingly, in recent times, we have seen and heard about some of the most heinous things and acts perpetuated inside the church. This has left me worried and scared.
My little ones are growing up in the midst of all the racial discrimination, hatred, mental instabilities, violence and wicked/barbaric acts. And they will hear the words racism, hate, rape, murder and injustice much more than I heard those words as a young growing child.
They are growing older and getting wiser and will start to ask questions soon. I am that mother and I know that sooner than I think, I will hear questions like these – Why do whites hate blacks?
Why is there so much violence in the world? Why do the white cops have to be so mean to blacks? Why didn’t others help save George Floyd’s life? Why do they have to kill someone inside the church? Why do boys and men rape girls and kill them? Do people really love each other like they say? Why have people become so heartless?
It is true that I may not have all the answers they need right now. But one thing is certain, and that is, as parents, I and my husband must start to have these life conversations earlier than usual.
We must listen and have wisdom-filled answers to the deep questions in their hearts. Of course, we must always be there for them and protect them as much as we can especially in their formative years. Our hearts must be open to God’s leading as he helps us guide them in their life’s journey.
Also, we must trust God and let him lead us and teach us how best to raise God-fearing children, who will have God’s love and empathy written in their hearts. We must make a commitment to always pray for them through different seasons of their lives, as we teach and show them what is right and what is wrong.
Teach them that ‘all’ lives matter. Teach and show them how to respect and treat women/men right. Teach and show them how to love and care for others irrespective of race and religion. Teach and show them how to stand up for truth and injustice.
And above all, strive as a parent to always be a true role model, because your children will learn deeply about life from your own life as they watch your own daily actions and reactions.
But until then, I hope our differences never matter. I hope we love each other better. I hope our souls are richer. I hope our words are kinder. And I really do hope that the world gets safer, because all I want is this – that my children grow up feeling safe in this scary world.
What do you want as a parent?