What would I tell my younger self?. Not sure because the time and space was very different to what it is now. The landscape has changed drastically.
This is me at 17yrs of age in high school.
The only challenge I had at that time, was that I madly in love with a boy who has since become the father of my two. Life was beautiful. I am grateful to my parents who sacrificed so much to send me to a good boarding school. Deeply indebted to my siblings who had to endure months of sadza and kale while my parents recovered financially. I am forever grateful to their sacrifice.
I remember the back to school days. Not so much in primary school years but certainly in secondary and high school. I remember the agony and pain of doing my shopping, packing my bags, stripping my parents of every last penny before I bid farewell. I remember my father’s long heartfull speeches. Yes, I was gone for 3months at a time.
The fours years at the all girls Catholic school were hard. The conditions were even harder. It was in those formative years that my character was built through dedication, hard work and team work. I learnt and grew alot in that place. How I missed home!! I missed my siblings, the comfort and food. In the midst of all that, I knew very well and appreciated what my parents were trying to achieve.
My own teenage experiences in Zimbabwe are a far cry from my teens’ world. Boarding school may sound like abandonment and believe you me, I thought so too and I didn’t mince any words when I penned my thoughts to my parents. I broke my father’s heart and mama came to visit the very next week.
While an average mom worries and gets excited about her children going back to school, us the #migrantmamas have a whole lot to deal with. To my fellow #diaspora parents like myself who still struggle with school culture, school mums and curriculum, I see and hear you. To those who have been forced/ blackmailed, nagged into overdrafts, by their teens, I feel you. Most of the phenomena that we now encounter is as foreign as quiche 🍘.
Issues around school can be complex. For instance, understanding and appreciating what mental health especially in children looks like is a cobweb. Our communities do not make it any easier as mental health remains a taboo. According to mental health UK, 1 in 10 average adolescent has a mental health condition. As mothers, we strive to be strong african women and expect the same for our children.
As intentional parents, our drive is to be deliberate on things that help and move us forward. One of the main things we strive for is coming together in an atmosphere of learning together and loving each other. Prayer is key to our parenting jounrneg so this September, we are running a 30day back to school prayerthlon:
-In supporting the back2school campaign run by antibullying, my advice to the young people is to talk to someone if you are unhappy or someone is not being kind. Does your child have someone they can confide in? Sometimes, children choose not to confide in their parents for a multitude of reasons. Identifying that ‘other’ confidant is good.
-If your child or someone you know is/has experienced bullying, you can talk confidentially to someone from Antibullying.
.Child-line is good for helping children to make sense of their world too.
– Mama do not suffer in silence. Connect with us via whatsapp, email or on facebook and instagram.