Sow the Seed!
Raising the Boychild; Moulding Him into a Functional and Wholesome Man
By: Ayodele Priscilla
Once, my sister and I went to the market with our little brother, to buy him some things. After selecting some pairs of boxers and pants at a particular shop, I was about to pay when the shop owner faced my brother and asked why he’s allowing women to buy him things when he’s supposed to know the reverse should be the case as he’s “the man”. This is a boy who’s only a teenager. “Huh?” the boy replied him, almost embarrassed.
There was a reoccurrence of this funny affair at another time when my mum and I wanted to buy him body and hair cream. Another shopper, a woman, had asked if boy children use body and hair cream. The shop owner gave a succinct response — there’s nothing weird about boys sopping for hair and body cream, as both the boychild and the girlchild have a body to cream and hair to nurture.
From time to time, we’ve heard people criticize men, their attitude and actions. Many women complain about how cold, indifferent or uncaring men can be. The question is, does any right thinking individual expect cherries where they’ve sown pepper seeds? No! Why then should the society frown at giving the boychild a hug when he cries, buying him ice cream when he asks or doesn’t even ask for it and telling him a story or singing him a lullaby at night, and then expect this same boychild to grow into a man that will give treats and gifts to friends and loved ones or engage in open display of affection?
It’s high time we changed that narrative. The boychild is first a child before he is a boy. He needs maximum care and affection, and should be raised with so much love. There is nothing wrong with giving that boy child around you a hug when he feels sad or disappointed about something. Buying teddy bears for a boychild does not make him a princess.
Also, the boychild is the responsibility of his parent or guardian as well as the society, just like his female counterpart. He should not be forced to shoulder responsibilities like catering for himself and the family at a young age just because he is a boy. This can force him to start making money through illegal means. The boychild needs adequate parental care and support till he grows up into a man. That way, he will learn by example and experience to be a man who takes responsibility for himself as well as the people around him.
There is the misconception that the boychild doesn’t really need much guidance as he should be able to think like a man, plus it’s not like he will get pregnant and bring shame to the family, anyway. That is very dangerous both to the boychild and the society at large. It is therefore very important to be deliberate about giving the boychild as much guidance as possible because he is susceptible to numerous vices if he is left with little or no counsel. He will know not to steal, join bad companies or impregnate a girl when he is equipped with sufficient counseling at every stage of his growth into a man.
Another mistake often made is assuming that the boychild should talk less as that portrays him wise, yet we expect him to grow into a man who will give listening ears and be a shoulder to cry on. How do we expect him to know when and how to give that which he never received? The boychild is human. He has emotions and feelings and he should be encouraged to express them the right way. Discouraging the boychild from being expressive by tagging him weak or feline each time he tries to express himself will not help him to become a functional man. It will only force him to bottle up his emotions until he is overwhelmed by them, and that can only lead to frustration, depression, apathesia, to mention a few.
Finally, we all need to understand and accept the fact that the boychild is a child, not a man. Do not deprive him of the dues of his childhood by telling and forcing him to “man up”. Rather provide him with the necessary nutrients of time, care, attention, love, treats, guidance, and many more, to ensure his growth into a man. Dear reader, the boychild is around you. You see him every day. He doesn’t have to be your child before you help him to grow. He may be your brother, neighbor, cousin, nephew, or even that boy sitting beside you on the bus. Sow into him the exact seeds of the man you want him to become and watch him yield fruits of the same for his own enjoyment and that of all around him. Sow the seed; sow it now!