When I found out I was going to have a baby boy, I got really scared. I was not sure I knew how to be a mother to a boy, boys seemed more complicated than girls. Boys play rough, are loud and like getting dirty! Now that I have Leo, these are now the least of concerns. I am now more aware of societal pressures and stigmas that boys have to deal with on daily basis.
The best I can do is teach him lessons now that he can take as he grows.
I will not be present daily to guide him but I hope these lessons will help him
1. Love God with your all your heart.
2. Where you come from, your birthplace or skin colour does not make you any better than any person any where.
You were born here in Bermuda and for as long as your father works here that is where we will live as a family. Bermuda is a beautiful place to live in and is also a “first world country” and there are many things that make it better than Zimbabwe. However that will never make you any better than his cousins in Zimbabwe. Material things do not make a person but what is in your heart. Zimbabweans and Africans of other ethnicities deserve the same respect from you the same as the people that look like you. Do not be racist, our history as black people does not justify it.
3. Respect other people’s beliefs and customs.
I am raising you Christian, Adventist to be particular. There are many things that we do not do or eat compared with other people even Christians and our relatives. Do not make excuses for your beliefs but you do not have to be bigoted. It is OK to disagree with someone but its not OK to make fun of them or embarrass them. Stand up for what you believe.
4. Respect all women.
Respect all women and treat them like ladies even if the women are misbehaving. Pull up chairs and open doors for ALL women. It is never OK to rip off someone’s clothes because they are too tight or too short. It is not your job to teach women how to dress or how to behave. If someone’s clothes are distracting you, look elsewhere! No means no! No hitting, that goes for boys too.
5. Do what you love.
Find out what your passion is and work hard to achieve your dreams. There are no girl jobs, if you like to cook go for it! If your dreams sound weird to others its OK, some of the greatest people were weird. Practice makes perfect.
6. Clean up after yourself.
No one, girl or boy was born with the ability to clean a house, it is something that you learn. Clean up after yourself and take care of everything that surrounds you including the environment. Place litter in refuse bins. Plant trees and grow your own food if you can.
Just because you are a boy does not mean that you can pee everywhere, it is disgusting! Find a bathroom. Soap, toothpaste and deodorant are your friends, no-one likes a smelly boy.
7. Whatever you put on the internet stays on the internet.
Be careful of what you put on the internet, it does not go away. It may be fun and games now but it may haunt for a lifetime.
8. Do not bully others.
The high school I went to allowed for bullying among boys because it made them into “men”. It is fun until someone is hurt or dies and you have to carry it with you all your life. If you get bullied SPEAK UP!
9. Pull up your pants!
I know its popular to hang your trousers or shorts and show your underwear. I certainly do not want to see your underwear, no-one does really. Dress properly
10. Choose to be happy.
We live in a world that has so many bad things happen all the time. Do not let it take away your joy. Your happiness is entirely up-to you. Do the things that make you happy and surround yourself with people that make you happy. Do not compromise your happiness for someone else’s.
11. Learn to speak Shona.
Growing in Bermuda, all your friends will be speaking English and so will you. English will come easier to you than Shona will. There are few jobs that will require for you to know Shona but it is who you are. I want you to be able to converse with all our relatives in Shona and be able to laugh at the jokes in Shona. It is not the same as when they are translated. I am not asking you to ace it but to know how to converse in it.