Different cultures around the world have standards for bringing up children. When one travels, not necessarily out of their country if they come from a country with more than 30 groups of peoples, you will have enough strange tales about the way people discipline their children.
Paternalistic societies like many in Uganda believe in bringing up no-nonsense kids. They are swatted away like annoying flies when they try to be children around their fathers. They are told to grow up even at a time when they do not know their age.
Last week I was at my in-laws’ place being all proper and smiley when one of the people there let out a yelp. She was holding my daughter and the little girl, grappling with teething issues sank her four front teeth in the fat shoulder in front of her. She was in for a surprise.
Fat Lady got her little hand and bit her! Yeah, she bit the hand of a little girl who does not know the meaning of cause and effect. This little girl, curious and bright was being punished for something she did not know she had done.
I have tried to observe the truth in the assertion that babies at any age will get the point when they are exposed to pain. So I have watched now and again as she heads for the TV trolley on her fours yet we have told her many times in stern tones that that is a no-go area. Surely, I have seen the signs of genius in this little girl and I do not believe she breaks the rules about the TV because she is dumb. She is curious. That’s how her kind survives.
So I told Fat Lady, all pretense of civility forgotten, to bite me instead. Yeah, take it out on someone your size…or rather, someone at least half your size. Take it out on someone who knows what you are going on about, not some innocent little girl trying to discover the mechanics of the world around her.
People like Ugandan writer Timothy Kalyegira pour scorn on Africans for being so subservient and such push-overs. Methinks, this has come about because there are people who turn children into mal-adjusted robots while they believe they are training them. They never change. They are taught to respond and not to initiate.
Yeah, bite me.