Children as the Salt of the World

Take a moment to imagine a world without children. Just how would the world be without the vibrancy they add to it; their innocence, their high-pitched laughter, their piercing questions which sometimes make adults squirm. I was standing outside my house the other day and my neighbour walked over to say hello, her cute daughter in tow. The girl was chewing on a mango and looked to be thoroughly enjoying herself. Her mother and I were exchanging small talks when she suddenly pointed the half eaten soggy mango at me:

‘What is this?’, she asked smugly

I did a double take. This was a 3-year old asking me if I know what a mango was!

‘Excuse me, were you talking to me?’, I asked in mock indignation

‘Yes.’ She replied impatiently. ‘Do you know what this is?’

‘No. I don’t. What is it please?’, I answered calmly having lost every will to 'fight'. Really, what chances do I stand against such a formidable questioner?

‘Mango!’, she declared triumphantly and walked back to their house majestically. I looked at the mom and we both burst into hearty laughter. I have had all manner of experiences with children, but this one is a first and the quality laughter I enjoyed that day is the stuff many pay through their noses to enjoy at comedy shows; so I ask again, what is there not to love about children?

Would this world even be again if nature has not set up a way to perpetuate humankind? Of course they come with humongous responsibility. No one under God’s heaven should birth them thoughtlessly. They take their toll on every aspect of the parents’ life – emotionally, financially, physically and the rest of the relevant –callys. Once they are in your life, your life changes forever.

Now imagine how good and how pleasant the world would be if every adult on the face of the earth only gives birth to the number of children they can cater for knowing the phrase ‘cater for’ goes beyond money. One has to be emotionally and physically there for them too. There are lots of children the world over who are in good schools, eating nourishing food, wearing lovely clothes whose love tank is completely empty because their parents are mostly absent. The little time they are present too, they are still absent. The only times some talk to their children is when they want to bark orders.

The best way to enjoy your meal is when the salt is just enough. Therefore, as much as we agree they are indeed the salt of the earth - the world would have since lost its savour without them – we will also agree that too much of salt is as bad as its absence in food, if not worse.

There is a saying in Yoruba language that one cannot because one owns a truckload of salt, add more than it is meet to food lest one ruins the meal. In the same vein, we cannot because we can or because we love children procreate mindlessly. As a matter of fact, everyone who can should advocate against it because at the end of the day it comes back to haunt all of us without leaving anyone out. Children being a very important part of the family unit must not be treated like a burden we are forced to lug around. They are humans and they deserve to be treated as such. They deserve to be understood. The time they are irritatingly difficult, they deserve our patience.

How many times have you as adults been faced with another difficult adults who will not listen to reasoning? You encounter them at work, in the mall, in social gatherings etc. Don’t you always find a civilised and sensible way to get out of the conundrum? If the difficulty is with your child, find a way around it while being civil. A child throwing tantrums now will not throw tantrums forever. You most likely threw tantrums when you were a kid too, are you still like that? You grew out of it; they will grow out of theirs too.

Having said that, all these can only be possible when one has not bitten more than one can chew. Some people are emotionally wired and financially strong enough that they can cope with raising 5 or 6 children while some can only only cope with 1 or 2.

However, nothing is cast in stone yet because at the end of the day, the person who think himself emotionally strong enough for 5 might have a change of mind and opt to do just 2 and the fellow who says 2 might discover he has room for more and birth 4.

Children are precious treasures that should never be within the reach of swines - people who don’t value them. God bless all the children in the world!

Meanwhile, I am beginning to feel I’m being targeted by these fiery 3-year olds. Last week it was about a 3-year old too. I feel threatened already.