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The forgotten boy child


Date Posted: 6/17/2019 2:19:31 PM

Posted By: Dana05  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 317

If you were to talk to a number of fresh college graduates or university students about their dreams or where they see themselves in a few years’ time then there are two key things that you would hear a lot. These are financial stability and marriage. These two go hand in hand and are almost the dreams of everybody. If you were to interview a number of individuals who are financially stable or are employed about their near future, then marriage would be a recurrent answer. However, if they are married, then children would be a recurrent answer. When we are young, we are advised to study hard, get good grades, go to university, get a stable job or start a business then get married and have kids. It is the dream of every parent to see their children married and happy. However, shortly after marriage parents want to start seeing results, which are children. To many people in the world, one of the most important reasons for marriage is procreation and only comes second to companionship. Children are very important and are highly valued in all parts of world but especially in Africa. It is therefore not surprising that some of our admirable African parents will do almost everything just to see their grandchildren before their demise. Some go as far as bringing their sons potential girls for marriage if they don’t seem in a hurry to marry while others threaten to curse their children or disown them if they fail to get married. All this drama is just for the greatest blessing of all children, which is our point of focus.

From the times of fore fathers, children were always valued. However, in traditional African societies, the gender of the child was especially important. During the delivery of a

child, the fathers were always restless, something that has not changed even today. However, back then the most awaited information by most men, was the gender and health of the child, after which they inquired about the well being of the mother. A life birth was received with much celebration but more so that of a male child. This is because a male child was seen as continuity of the clan and a source of security. On the other hand, a female child was considered a guest since she would depart one day to settle in her matrimonial home. Some considered girls a good investment since they would be paid dowry when they daughters attained the marriage age and attracted suitors. In some communities, a poor man with nothing to his name but a number of daughters was considered wealthy. Polygamy was practiced in most communities to increase the number of one’s children especially the male children. With the eventual colonization of Africa and introduction of western education, male children were still given a priority in education. Educating a female child was seen as a waste of resources. Educated girls were thought to make poor wives.

In a continent where the sole purpose of women was homemaking, some enlightened Africans still send their female children to school. As time passed, more and more people send their girls to school. These educated women gave birth to a continent wide movement against the discrimination of women and girls. They strived to create awareness that the sole purpose of women was not childbearing and taking care of families. They argued that women had a place in the world outside the kitchen. This was made clear by women who ventured successfully into previously male dominated fields such as engineering and medicine. Organizations were formed to campaign and fight for an equal chance for women and girls in education and all fields that were male dominated. They also campaigned against discrimination against women and girls through ways such as early marriages and female circumcision. Efforts to empower the African woman and girl was supported by the international community and even more organizations emerged all over the world to empower the girl child and cater to her welfare. This efforts continue till date. All these efforts have borne fruit as the influence of the African woman continues to be felt all over the world.

By diverting all attention and efforts towards empowering the girl child, the boy child has been neglected. The assumption that boys are strong and independent by nature and can thus cater for themselves has led to complete neglect of the boy child. Boys hardly get any guidance from their parents on what to do and if they do this is usually in the form of punishment instead of advice. Without any guidance from guardians and mentors to look up to, most young end up caught in vices such as drug abuse, violence and crime among other vices. Some end up joining criminal gangs. Most guardians ignore their responsibility to their male children until their children have already completely wasted away their lives or end up dead. Most of them take the rebellion from their male children as part of a stage that will pass and do not pay much attention to it. However, this is the first indication that the lives of their children are going down the drain.

The results of this unequal treatment of the female and boy children are an over empowered girl child and a neglected boy child. It is therefore time we started asking ourselves important questions like what happens to the family unit now that the men we are raising are not capable of taking care of themselves let alone a family. Who will marry our empowered girl child? This should be an awakening call for all. It is time that all children started being treated and trained equally for life. Guardians should give the same attention, time and guidance they give to their female children to their male ones in equal measure. Just the same way a female child is nurtured to be a homemaker, so should a male child be nurtured to be the head of a family and a provider. A child is an arrow that a parent has and will have to shoot it one day to the outside world. Make sure your arrow will hit the mark successfully when you shoot it out.

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