From the last decade of the previous century and into this 21st century the world along with being globalised is doing so in a modernistic way. Globalisation implies that the world is “flat” by this, nations and their economy and social structures have little or no boundaries between them. This is aimed at changing the power dynamics between First and Third world countries, the educated and uneducated, male and female gender etc. The idea is that there is a sense of “level or common ground” and that everyone is of equal importance and relevance to the progress of the present world order.
Consequently, things have become quite fluid as the less dominant groups now have a say. As a result we try to raise children to think and act differently and not just in one fixed way in order to enable them adapt to this fluidity. I have however noticed that it seems that raising the male child in Nigeria overlooks the need to be raised in this new way.
Let us consider the way women are now being raised. Today women are nothing like our grand-mothers and great- grand mothers who most often had to stay home to raise the kids and tend to domestic issues. This is not to discount the domestic values they contribute but rather acknowledge the additional roles. Along with taking care of the home front that the modern woman is encouraged to go to work or at least be economically engaged in some manner. Mothers tell their young girls and newly married daughters, “You can’t just sit at home doing nothing you have to help your husband and find something to do”. This has equipped women to take on more than the original single role of preparing the bush meat her husband brings home from his hunting.
She now hunts, drags the animal home, skins it, cooks and serves everyone if need be. The woman is now being cultured to be a provider and a receiver. In the typical Nigerian society this is evident in the way you can easily find a woman who is content at being what the Igbos call “oliaku”. She is happy to be provided for and taken care of by her husband. Similarly at the other end of the spectrum, in today’s Nigeria you will find a woman who simply cannot imagine herself not working. These different females in their different roles are no less or more a woman than the other.
However on the other hand it seems as though we are yet to equip men with the ability to take on any role other than the original job description of the provider and head. I understand that ideally men get their validation from work and as a result his frustration is a lot when not engaged in productive work. As a society there is a need to also redefine the role of men in the society, bring to light the different nuances of productivity and break them lose from the box society has confined them to.
Just as the woman has learnt that a queen must sometimes be a hustler, the man has to learn how the Lord of the mansion must sometimes have a flexible throne. A throne that is sometimes not necessarily in the centre of the home, a throne that can be in the kitchen as an “akpoti”, a mobile throne that he can ride on school runs duty, as a matter of fact a throne that is collapsible like a beach chair to be put away and used as of when needed.
There is also a need to understand that the title of his Lordship is not a function of the flexibility of this throne. It doesn’t matter where the throne is established at a particular time. He is Lord because he masters every aspect of his territory, which is his home. He needs to learn that it is not enough to have authority but must aim to be an authority in other areas, starting with having authority over himself, be an authority at what it takes to raise good children, an authority on what the kids are doing in school, an authority in ways to add mental and spiritual value to all his family members, and an authority on ways to improve sexual intimacy. You can’t just be lord! Lord over what exactly? We cannot just raise boys thinking they are the “boss” or the “lord” we have to be specific on what exactly they are lording, how to lord and the limitations and challenges of this lordship.
When boys are raised into men that can equally and confidently take on different roles in the society, they are less likely to be frustrated when they fail to fit into the one role or meet the one expectation set by society.