Sunday 13 June 2021

On parental interference and sundry matters - II

Incubating a man

As a 55-year-old child and I use child expressly because I still have my parents alive and well, it is a blessing beyond measure, yet, our relationship has a fragility stuck in transition, for as a 55-year-old, if fortitude had allowed, I would be a grandparent besides the other achievements and tribulations that define my life story. I have no regrets.

There are long periods in time that my parents have not been part of any of my decision-making processes, I have made choices and lived by them even with life-threatening consequences that I have survived leaving me in gratitude to the divine and medicine. That is part of the construct of influences that informs my worldview.

Apron strings shredded

As parents, I would think there are times where they do presume, they control and direct what I do, it might come as a surprise to them that they lost that kind of influence when they were unwilling to negotiate way back in my teenage years.

On the part of my father, it was when we were on a break at our village of Ijesha-Ijebu, I wanted to spend a night away with friends in Sagamu, he flatly refused, not only was I embarrassed by it, at that point I swore never to return to our village again, I have not for 36 years, and whilst many may dismiss my fit of imperious petulance, that decision is made.

Umbilical cords destroyed

My mother however who I love so dearly has sometimes conflated her profession with her parenting, she is a retired schoolteacher and principal of many secondary schools. I do remember once when she asked me to do up a shirt button and I snapped back that I am her son not her student. My religious diversions brought much conflict at home in what they thought was taking me away from my studies, considering we came from mixed religious backgrounds and the deepest religious affliations have always differed between my father and my mother.

On returning from my chosen church one Sunday, my mother in a fit of rage deployed the sternest ovarian disapprobation that stuck like the branding of a hot-iron poker, searing me to the core. As I walked out of that encounter, I was probably saved from the more damaging effects of it by inspired words of Scripture that escaped my lips at that point. “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” [Bible Hub: 1 Peter 2:25]

He’s gone, really

Indeed, I have forgiven my parents, but no, I have not forgotten, the encounters they have long dismissed as trivial are for the recipient literally life-defining. I am their child and their son; however, I will define the parameters within which that operates. The episodes above happened when I was already nominally an adult, and an adult is fundamental not a child regardless of what parental control they seek to exert even at this time.

It might seem that I am protesting much on this matter of apparently unresolved conflicts, I believe there are many for the truth is my parents do not know much about me or even a lot about me from when I left for boarding school at the age of 10. They might have seen some foundational personality traits, and some character-forming predilections, but that is where their understanding ends.

Participate well, police not

Much as I seek not to be confrontational, the fragility I referred to earlier is easily exposed to fractiousness by misplaced commentary or even obduracy on their part. In my usually mild-mannered demeanour, my individuality, and my independence are totally sacrosanct, how I choose to live my life will not be dictated to me by anyone.

The blessing of the ease of communication and social media interaction allows for participation, but I will brook no policing. I blocked my father on Facebook, I did rescind the block but declined a new friend request.

Blog: On parental interference and sundry matters (February 2019)

I will listen to a lot of insight, wisdom, and advice, but I will respectfully make my own decisions. I suppose the other views I have might end up in a series of blogs.


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