These words echo in my thoughts recently after I concluded an internal dialogue with myself. While waiting to board an aeroplane a while back, I watched two women embrace and move their conversation from face-to-face towards their cell phones. “You know Sally, crazy as it may sound, I would not let my kids stay with you if there was a man and/or teenage son in your house,” said the lady in front of me in the queue to her friend who was holding her cell phone up to her ear with one hand so that she could talk and waving with the other. There were two little girls with her, the one was hanging precariously in her arm and the other one waved from the pram.
That conversation between the women had me thinking for weeks on end. I am drawn to the difference between being a ‘parent’ and being a mother and father. What is the true essence of parenting? Is it being the sperm donor or the carrier for the child, or is it the act of being there for your child? I also can’t help but wonder – as a mother of an only child who so happens to be my little princess – if we are doing enough to protect them during sleepovers. When your little girl or boy goes to sleep over at a friend’s house or even at a family member, can we do more to look out for them when we are away from us to that they are safe and protected?
My mother did not allow us to sleep over at somebody’s house unless she was there with us. The conversation between these women that I eavesdropped on by default, due to my close proximity to them in the queue, made me realise that there are still mothers in South Africa who are going out of their way to protect their children, particularly as our country has been termed “the rape capital of the world”. Whether or not such extreme measures are warranted remains questionable, but I do commend the realisation that parents are willing to take extra precautionary measures for their greatest assets – their children.
Let our children live without fear. Let our children grow. Let our children play. Without being too dramatic, my heart cries for our children to sing and that we should hear their voices. Parents should do all that they can to protect their children. As adults, we should reach out to protect all the children, even those who are not of our loins. Let’s get our children addicted to life. There’s no other way to put it: let’s get our children back!
I love children!