Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
One of the worst types of deprivation that can mar a child’s mental growth is a dearth of positive role models. Where role models are present, what impact do they have?
Unlike some women whose role models were males – fathers, usually – mine were mostly women, and no-nonsense women at that.
My mum remains the undisputed major influence in my life. Despite lifelong conflicts with her, I still owe her my allegiance. My core principles formulated at the age of four has a component “Never will I be a housewife!” in recognition of that allegiance. I knew that had my mum been a housewife, my siblings and I would have been in deeper soup than we were. Throughout my childhood whenever I was asked my hometown, not once did I mention only my dad’s hometown, which is the norm. My response was always, “My mum comes from A and my dad comes from B”.
My teachers – I had very close relationships with them – were fabulous and an assortment of personalities. One that stood out was my primary six teacher. Students were petrified of her. I loved her and still do. Hey! I was the teacher’s pet throughout my school years. (Smile) I did not see her engaged in idle gossip. Only once did a colleague enter the class during lesson hours; this was a time when the class teacher was the master and chief officer of the class and taught all the class subjects.
Common qualities of my female teachers were the dedication to their work and family, their principles, their gentleness towards us their students. They, sometimes, fondly mentioned their husbands and one sadly lost her husband and had to retire. Rarely did they penalise us and when we were penalised by other teachers, they readily pleaded on our behalf.
One of my most spectacular experiences was the day I stepped into a neighbour’s home and there were the parents chatting away. The dad, seated, had a bottle of beer in hand. The mum, standing, also had a bottle of beer in her hand. I gazed up at her in pleasant amazement and thought: “This woman is craaaaazy!” In retrospect, the lesson is that whatever is permissible for a man is equally permissible for a woman unless clearly stated otherwise. This is in stark contrast to some communities where males can do whatever they wish and females are sacrificial beings.
Some women strive to rise above cultural discrimination to stand equal to men (i.e positive role models), but others prefer being victims (negative role models) of society, as if women were not part of the society.