By Kingsley Obom-Egbulem
We all recall the pictures vividly. It was one no same mother would ever wished for; to appear on national TV (in fact global satellite TV) with your son for the wrong reason.
It was sometime in early September 2009. American R&B artiste, Chris Brown was on Larry King Live in company of his mother and attorney. It was Brown’s first TV interview after a court decided on charges placed against him by his ex-girl friend and fellow R&B star,Rihanna.
Those following the international music scene would recall that Chris Brown (then 19) had on February 8, 2009 assaulted Rihanna leaving her with visible facial injuries, including a bloody nose and bite marks on her arms. Both lovers were billed to appear together at the Grammy awards, but it was cancelled after Brown voluntarily turned himself in to the Los Angeles police.
He was charged with felony assault against Rihanna to which he pleaded guilty. In August, Brown was sentenced to five years (5) probation, six months of community labour in his home state of Virginia and a year of domestic violence counselling. While onLarry King Live, the world saw a guy wishing he could turn back the hand of the clock. But I saw a “man” who suddenly realized he was actually a kid and needed time to grow up. Most importantly, I saw the seed or better still the result of poor parenting and mentoring from father to son. I saw the price the whole world would soon be paying if we don’t make out time to raise boys who would not only respect women when they eventually become men (and husbands) but also take time to pass on good legacies and values to their own children.
It turned out that at the age of 10, Chris Brown-whose real name is-Robyn Fenty had watched his dad beat up his mother assaulting her even sexually.
His mom, Joyce Hawkins had thought that her boy would never grow up to hit a woman. Unknown to her, the seed of violence has been sown in the boy by no less a person than his dad-undoubtedly his first definition of who and what a man should be. The father by default had shown him what to do to a woman-at least to get her back to her senses whenever you feel she’s getting out of line.
That is the cross we all have to bear as we grapple with the effects of “Toxic Parenting” which reflects in the wrong socialization of our boys. Interestingly, Rihanna also was raised by an abused mother who lived most part of her married life under a violent and abusive husband.
Just recently, again on global cable satellite TV, the world watched as a distraught woman was hitting and slapping his son for participating in the Baltimore riots just as violence flared up in most parts of the City. The video showed the single mother of 6 chasing her 16-year-old son, who was spotting a hooded top, hitting him repeatedly and chasing him as he tried to walk away.
“That’s my only son, and at the end of the day, I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray. But to stand up there and vandalize police officers, that’s not justice”, Graham said. Toya Graham, now described as “Baltimore Mom” by international news media and tagged “Mom of the Year” has been praised for coming out to openly berate and reprimand her son for daring to throw rocks at the police during the riot.
“I wish I had more parents who took charge of their kids ”, Anthony Batts, Baltimore Police Commissioner in an interview with CBS News.
But we must ask some pertinent questions here: where was Toya Graham’s husband (the boy’s father) before the riots? Would a son brought up in a home with values and high moral standard descend to the point of joining other kids in a riot, looting shops and messing up the streets? No doubt Toya’s son is one of the many kids in the US with no idea of what it means to have father-and are denied of the love and mentoring that only a father can offer.
Of course, we have our own population of fatherless boys-kids who have become useful tools in the hands of robbers, politicians and gangsters. And soon these boys would start dating girls and having children and producing after their own kind.
I have never doubted the fact that whatever you give to a child he is going to give back to society. And whatever you do to a child he is going to do to society. Unfortunately, he is going to give to society far much more than he got…whether good or bad.
The armed robber and assassin of tomorrow is being “raised” right now somewhere in a “home”. Similarly, tomorrow’s University don and medical doctor is being raised right now in a home ,somewhere. That is why I cringe each time I see kids being raised in dysfunctional settings. I am bothered because, someone, somewhere, someday is going to reap or harvest whatever has been sown into that child’s life. And like I always say “give a child some blocks, by the time he’s an adult he would have built with it and he’s going to give back to society houses and estates,full measure pressed down,shaking together and running over”. Imagine if you gave him tine pictures of nude or naked men and women? He’s like give to society a porn industry or something worse.
Lets take it closer home now!
Some of us have been victims or armed robbery attacks in the past. And many of us are constantly living in the fear of being attacked some day. Our fear and sleeplessness are fallout of someone’s inability to train a child properly. The robber who dispossessed you of your valuables came to this world the same way you came-through the union of a man and woman. But while your parents went through the drill of ensuring that you turn out right, these guys where thrown to the dogs left to fend for themselves, growing up with little or no guidance.
Some fell, rose and managed to find their feet. Others started life right in the abyss of crime and all the vices you can think of. Today, these same guys have become our nemesis holding to ransom an entire neighbourhood just because their parents refused to do the work of raising them.
Today present another chance to start afresh by making up our mind to raise that son of ours on strong values and norms he would forever be grateful for.
This article is part of contents from his forthcoming book “The Making of Abusive Men…and the women they abuse”By Kingsley Obom-Egbulem