HUMAN BEINGS are distinguished by one appellation or the other. It becomes more interesting such that with maturity comes more appellations. For instance, one can be a child and at the same time a father and as well as a husband. The most important thing to note is that all these appellations come with their attendant responsibilities.
Perhaps the importance of ‘responsibility’ informed the perspective of my people – the Yorubas, from the western part of Nigeria, in customarily referring to an offspring who has continued to behave in a manner that is not in consonance with the norm as being an ‘omolasan’- literarily, a worthless child! Someone unworthy of the appellation, ‘offspring’. You are also likely to hear my kinsmen say about a person that is generally cantankerous, ‘Ko n se eniyan’, which literarily means he or she does not deserve to be referred to as a human being. And in the case of a person married to a woman that is ill-mannered, they will simply tell him ‘oo ti ni Iyawo’ literarily meaning ‘you do not have a wife yet’ because as far as they are concerned, a wife who acts in a manner unbecoming should not be considered as a wife. This will also apply to a husband whose ways are inconsistent with the responsibilities required of that role.
I attended a wedding ceremony recently and I was having so much fun until the young comedian who compered the ceremony, jokingly said that the part of the evergreen Nico Mbaga’s song, ‘sweet mother’, that says, the mother will not sleep or eat if the child does not eat, was no longer applicable to today’s mothers. Whilst his pun was accompanied by laughter from people around me, it caused me to reflect, albeit with trepidation and sadness on whether the mothers of today cared less than those of yore. Surely this was no joking matter!
As such, after the ceremony, I decided to take a closer look at today’s mothers and the fact that it appeared, to my dismay, that I could identify some who appeared more preoccupied with themselves and generally with other things than they are with their children. I even became more worried when my inquiries elicited a peculiar response from a lady who asked me why I thought the woman is/was better positioned to take care of the child than the man. Is this a general supposition or simply an isolated standpoint?
In any event, I am humbled by the extraordinary bond that exists between the mother and child, right from when Gestation occurs in the woman’s uterus from conception until the fetus (assuming it is carried to term) is sufficiently developed to be born. Usually, once the baby is born, the mother produces milk via the lactation process. The mother’s breast milk is the source of antibodies for the infant’s immune system and commonly the sole source of nutrition for the child for a while. With this nature of bonding, should there be any dispute about the important role that the womenfolk play in the development of the child and by implication, the human race?