Beauty of parenting

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 10:48:31 +0000

PARENTING, like marriage, is one of the most absorbing yet controversial subjects over which thousands of books have been written and yet no-one has yet found a perfect marriage or parental formula.

This is because in human relations and relationships, the character of the two people interacting, either as parent and child or wife and husband, matter a lot. This is what defines their relationship.

Recent events in our country point to the fact that many of these relationships have failed miserably and the consequences have been disastrous. Take parenting as an example.

In just two days we have had very disturbing reports about failed parenting and the tragic results of that failure. In the first incident, a 39-year-old woman of Lusaka’s Chazanga compound was jailed for four years for blowing the hand of her nephew with fireworks as a form of punishment.

Eight-year-old Ethen Muleyi had gone playing with her friends in the happy mood of the New Year on January 2 this year and returned to their home at 18 hours after missing most of the day. The aunty was furious. To teach Ethen manners, she tied sticks of fireworks in the boy’s palm and set them alight.

The explosion ripped off the boy’s fingers, leaving him a bloody mess, with his life changed forever. His tormentor this week pleaded with the court for mercy, saying she regrets what she did. The magistrate was horrified and meted out the maximum penalty for a first offender – four years in prison.

In Matero compound on Tuesday night, a mother who apparently contemplated committing suicide decided to kill her children first with a pesticide concoction. The two children, aged five and one year nine months, died on the way to hospital. The mother who consumed the same substance survived and is recuperating in hospital.

These shocking events tell a graphic tale of failed parenting. In the Chazanga case, the enraged parent forgot or did not know that children, too, have human as well as child rights. A parent cannot do whatever she wants just to punish a child in his or her care. The law forbids it. Worse, it was the worst form of cruelty exhibited by anyone against a small child.

Children’s rights, which have been the subject of many world conventions and conferences, are regarded as the human rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care which must be afforded to minors.

A mother or father, frustrated or abused as she or he may be, cannot expressly decide to take the life of her or his own children for whatever reason. Those two children who died in Matero were in fact murdered by someone who ignorantly may have felt she loved them so much that she wanted them to die with her because they will suffer after she takes her own life. That was wrong.

Children have a right to life whatever the future may hold for them. They have a right to live and face the future on their own terms regardless of the uncertainty that may befall them. To kill them in the mistaken belief of ‘‘saving‘’ them from an uncertain future is intolerable cruelty.

The same goes for punishing a child excessively, as was the Kazanga case. If all our parents had adopted the same attitude and reckless disregard for life, many of us today would be dead or horribly deformed. We are what we are because our parents cared for us to the extent of risking their own lives to ensure we grow up to be adults and have our own children.

We all know that parenting is demanding, especially in today’s world where children have become so naïve, impossible and simply uncontrollable.

But this is the beauty of parenting – making the best out of an impossible situation.


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