By Indigene Corefio
No child deserves to be met with half a presence
A mother exhausted
By a full day’s work
And a full body workout
To have bath time reduced to just being cleaned
Or meal times to just being fed
These moments should be opportunities to bond with their loved ones
Filled with colours, shapes, sounds and new experiences
Celebrating the life that unfolds before them in an array of existential textures every day.
At least while their innocence allows for such an appreciation.
But while my son has the innocent playful wonder of his bath time reduced to a chore
His father is out nursing juvenile instincts
Getting wet in foreign bathtubs
Dining with yet another novel trophy face
See, the power of the mighty twerking ass has superseded any allegiance we ever had to commitment. Or is this occurrence just testament to the shallow nature of the relationship between men and pleasure. Going no further than a pretty surface upon which to lay ones short-lived gaze. Lasting no longer than a voluptuous object against which to bring friction to an erupting end.
A father, whose erratic presence with his son (and complete lack of presence with his daughter) is limited to shrieks of laughter and the bubbling energy of fun
While mothers get shelved, associated with the too early to be understood role of responsibility
At best she is the one her son cries the name of when he is hurt, bruised or has a pressing need that requires addressing
The fixer of broken pieces
The mystical healer of scrapes by the dispensing of magical kisses
The one that will know what to do
But which son aspires to be his mother.
No. They aspire to be the power wielding girl stringing fast car speeding father. The one they hardly ever see but catch glimpses of stereotypical images of on TV.
Yes. This is how our men are raised
Not at all
But brought up by the rumour of whatever is left of what once served as a good enough definition of manhood
Even the present fathers are so emotionally inept that their presence can in all fairness be described as an absence anyway. Idol worshipping: Hung up on an ancient idea of masculinity. Misplaced in a theoretically post patriarchal world. Harboring obsolete traits of “manhood” like pride, respect, bread winning and being the head of the family. Not being questioned and having his offspring have the “benefit” of perpetuating his family name — expanding his dying (not fast enough dead) territory. Having no better example of being a man to follow as they are at best fourth generation products of absent father-ism. Whether absent from slavery, or war, or industry, or political struggle or death (or at times from plain old neglect of their duties). There’s always some reason. And there’s always some consequence.
Their peers merely perpetuate the confusion, each pointing in a different kind of wrong direction. Alcohol. Prostitutes. Drugs. Strippers. Workaholicking. Religion. And whatever other kind of escapism gift wraps immaturity and allows them to high five each other for engaging in excessively.
Everyone is screaming Feminism. What we really need is a revamped Masculinism. An undoing of the no longer has any productive role here. A setting aflame to the plague of “manhood” that holds no greater place in society than pure and absolute disease. We must destroy in order to create. And there is no room for learning in one who believes he already knows.
In pursuit of human evolution
In pursuit of any kind of truth
In pursuit of any kind of love
In praise of raising children
And not future burdens to society
I advocate for the committed presence of both parents
A tag team
So each player is able to put their best foot forward when the others exhaustion sets in
But primarily I advocate for the presence of two committed individuals
Committed to being the best human beings they can be
Being their own judges of what that might mean
And not as sponges of dysfunctional norms from society
Either that, or the availability of super amazing child care
Thus begins my hunt for Mary Poppins
Laying a wreath in memory of gentlemen
And by default, if nothing changes, sons
Indigene Corefio is a being of light traveling the journey of life with love as her guide. A writer by passion. A woman by choice. Seeking equality as a foundation for all through social entrepreneurship. A lover of art, people, and all things beautiful.
Image – AFP