AN ODE TO THE BOY CHILD, AND THE MAN
Last Friday was International Men’s Day. Actually, it happens every November 19th every year, so it was nothing impromptu. Interestingly, it coincides with the World Toilet Day. I do not want to speculate on that, much as it raises eyebrows.
Let me highlight these three posts by women on some social media platforms we share about this day (will tell you why shortly):
“Today is International Men’s Day. Ladies, ensure your men buy you wine, roses and chocolate to celebrate”.
“Happy International Men’s Day to all documented males. Halafu, si mtume fare tukuje”.
‘’It’s been 12 hours and my person is yet to send my International Men’s Day gift”.
Finally this one from a man: “Fellow men, am i the only one who did not receive celebratory messages on the International Men’s Day?” The numerous responses confirmed he was in the very safe numbers of the majority. And he wasn’t even asking for a gift, just a recognition message!
I should know too. I have numerous relations of the opposite gender, including being an only brother to four breathing sisters. They read this column, so i won’t go into details of what they did or did not do; i aspire to live long, and in peace. Ahem!
The day was low key, largely unnoticed. We all know what happens when it’s one of those numerous days celebrating women something or the other. And no, am not complaining or being comparative.
The above may have been jocular banter on social media, but my point is the serious underlying issues that they actually point to: the neglect of the boy child and the increasingly diminishing stature – and bashing – of the man.
Barring the proverbial mad man in the market, majority of men sacrifice their all, forgetting their comforts, their memorable days (ask men about their birthdays and few will remember), just to give the best to their families.
They will never shout about it, because society assumes it’s expected of them, hence there’s neither appreciation nor recognition.
They are not supposed to express emotions; they are men after all! Never winch in pain; that’s unmanly! Never talk about their broken hearts and depressing experiences; that’s for women!
Just be there for everyone else, never for yourself first. Provide for everyone else, that’s what God created you for, we are told.
And we are doing little to balance this out.
Almost every other socio-economic programme, both by government and the private sector, is targeting the woman and the youth (in this case more often than not the female youth).
More corporate slots go to women, and not by coincidence; they are the majority in those post graduate studies and self development courses.
While it’s a good thing, indeed commendable and which should be encouraged, we are leaving the boy child behind.
We are bringing up laid back men with neither the spine nor balls to handle matters of the family or society.
Increasingly, we have more and more families being headed by women, even when the man is present. And this is simply not natural.
Let me put this candidly. The scales against women have largely eased, if not ceased, and are now up against the man. And this is the imbalance that needs to be addressed.
There is a reason why there are more men than women in our jails, more men than women with mental health challenges, more men than women committing suicides, more men than women committing murders and crimes, more boys than girls in juvenile schools, more men than women in alcohol and substance abuse…just check it out.
And this, when women are the majority population.
I speak for many when i posit that men are human too, and with a soft side to them than they care to admit. They need to be encouraged to talk out, and be always okay with sometimes not being okay.
Society has conditioned many of them that the manly thing is to bottle up emotions, and be ‘man enough’.
Well, that’s not enough.
It’s time we had that serious discussion about the boy child. And the man.
Have an Adam reflective and considerate Sunday, and a great week ahead.
By George Kimando.