Men's say with Bob Kisiki
There are harsh men and harsh women. Whether as bosses, friends, spouses or parents, harsh people exist on both sides of the gender divide.
However, simple observation will show you that in many cases, a harsh mother (and they are not few nowadays, I wonder why) produces more disoriented children than a harsh father.
Take it or leave it. Whether it is because people imagine that harshness is more of a masculine thing, or some other reason, but somehow, when a father is harsh and sometimes even violent, children will find refuge in the more gentle, sweet-natured mother.
After the father’s gruff voice’s echoes have died down, the child, like a timid mouse, will crawl through the door to the pantry where the mother herself is crouching and, hanging onto her skirt hem, lift big, fear-ridden eyes and just murmur: “Mummy!” This is comfort in itself.
Now imagine a situation where the mother is the one whose voice is like a peel of thunder, her eye like Snow White’s stepmother’s, and her hand like a table tennis bat! Isn’t it a bit like when the Red Cross’ local branch take up arms and go through the little town, wantonly spraying live bullets on anything that moves, screaming blue murder as they go along?
Where then will the residents run to — the Police Post? Unless it is in another country, where the police are still civil.
My friend, last week, drew my attention to the lady at the opposite table.
This lady diner was attracting a lot of attention because half her breasts were out. Both male and female diners’ eyes were riveted to her ample chest. I feared that her boobs would escape the tight confines of her low cut top any minute! She was not bothered and carried on with her friend, who, though similarly clad, looked more decent.
So, I wonder, why do more and more mothers now think the pores which take in discipline on children can only open with shouting, and when this fails, then a slap, a blow with a slipper or mingling stick will be the solution?
Why is it hard for a mother to seat her child on her lap and, in the typical motherly voice that is God-made, say: “Baby, mummy doesn’t like it when she says that you do something and you don’t, okay? Mummy loves you and wants you to be her friend. Now be a good girl, do what I said...” Why is that hard?
Know why people fall over themselves, repenting of gigantic sins and generally trying to be ‘good boys and good girls’ before God? It is not because God prowls about like a roaring lion, looking for who to growl at and devour.
No, God’s approach is love, whether it is God as preached from the Bible or Koran. Yes, God goes by masculine pronouns and all, but hey, He is unisex in attributes.
The danger with a harsh mother is that even the gentler father will cower when she goes on rampage, stomping through the house, noticing this overturned basin and yelling, seeing the last son’s unmade bed and screaming, and finding the half-eaten mango in the girls’ bedroom and, when she calls out and everyone denies responsibility for leaving the offending fruit in the room, her slipper will fly off the foot and into the hand, ready to strike.
So, by the time dinner is served, only the family glutton can devour his food with undeterred ease, and after that, the good nights and other pieces of verbal communication will be whispered, like passing on an unseemly remark about the deceased at a burial.
Haven’t you noticed that three unresearched quarters of the cases of child abuse in families are actually committed by mothers? “Mother cuts off stepdaughter’s fingers over sh500.” “Mother held over burning son...” “Woman connives with husband to deny children food...” “Woman ties dry banana leaves onto child’s back, burns her for stealing stale matooke...”
For goodness’ sake ladies, banana leaves are a political, not disciplinary tool! Just like mothers were initially meant to be the neutralising, not traumatising force in families.