As we mark another International Girl child day, this drama in my home comes to mind. I’d like to share it with you again.
This years theme: Girls Progress= Goals Progress- What Counts for Girls
It was a week day and we just came home from work and school. I decided to take a few minutes to rest on the couch in the living room before heading for the kitchen. My kids dropped their school bags in the room and shortly they emerged having an argument as usual. I looked up and wondered what the sibling fight was about this time again. My son was pointing an accusing finger at his sister and she was challenging him as well. Out came these words repeatedly from my son’s lips:
“Girls should not command girls!”
I was caught off guard…while thinking to myself but many men answer to the command of my female bosses at work. In a split second it dawned on me that my son was getting older and he is beginning to flex his male ego muscles. Where did the words, Girls should not command girls, come from I asked myself. He had just started secondary school (High school) and he definitely is beginning to mingle and learn from the other boys at school I thought.
Well I had to intervene in the siblings quarrel by asking them both to keep quiet. Then i asked my son why he thought girls should not command boys. I decided not to be quick in judging the statement to be another stereotyped way of viewing girls or the female gender. It turned out that he felt his sister always commanded him to do things even though he was older than her. He felt she wasn’t respecting him enough. I laughed but took his concern seriously. Of course they are my children and I am aware that my girl was out spoken and finds it easy to express her opinion. Often times she tends to override him but we try to remind her to show some respect for her older brother. So again on this day I reminded her and she had this naughty smile on her face as usual.
I couldn’t pass the opportunity to teach my son the lesson of not thinking that girls or women should be subservient to boys or men.
However I couldn’t pass the opportunity to teach my son the lesson of not thinking that girls or women should be subservient to boys or men. Boys are not better than girls and vice-visa. I explained to him that boys and girls should treat each other with respect. In the end they both agreed with me to show some respect for each other but I knew that I would soon be settling another sibling quarrel over something else that is inconsequential. It never ends until they are fully grown and come to cherish each other more.
Boys and Girls should treat each other with respect.
I thought that was the end of the matter on boys and girls superiority but it wasn’t yet over. It so happened that their grandma was present while I was giving my kids this lesson. She tried to explain to me why she believed men are supposed to be “head over women”. I smiled understanding where she was coming from. Ok from the Biblical point of view a man is the head of his home meaning that he should take responsibility for what goes on in his family. This does not mean that a man is better than the woman; this does not mean that a woman cannot have a brilliant and better idea in decision making; this does not mean that it is a taboo for a woman to occupy a leadership role. Boy or girl, woman or man none is better than the other. We are all equals as humans.
It is not a taboo for a woman to occupy a leadership position
Every child matters: Invest in girls health, safety, education and rights – in times of peace and crisis (UN)
So my final take on this is, each boy or girl; man or woman has being endowed with different abilities and gifts; let’s create room for both sexes to flourish. Let us begin to teach this lesson of respecting the opposite sex and treating each other right from our homes then gender inequality will not be an issue in the next generation of adults.
Let’s create room for both sexes to flourish especially girls.
Adebisi Adetunji (C)