There is a group of people I admire so much. This particular set of people are good psychological case studies. They are the children from broken homes and the children whose parents are divorced. I am referring to children who tasted the complete family life before it shattered.
You may think divorce is a new thing in Nigeria, but it is not. Divorce has been around since the time of our ancestors. It just was not called “divorce”, since no legal procedures were involved. They were in the form of separation and “chasing” of spouses. Unlike our generation that loves to advertise their divorce details, those ones were private and known only to close family/friends. If you dig deep, you will find out that a large percentage of the old women dancing in your church have been separated from their husbands for years.
Both the old form and new form of broken homes, have one thing in common… the children. These children are hardly ever considered. A broken family always affects the life of a child; and sometimes, the child is unaware of the effects. The female child whose father was the bad one and the one who left, would either find it hard to trust a man or she would spend her whole life searching for a father figure. Her male counterpart would work hard all his life to prove he is not like the father.
The female whose mother was the bad one would spend her life proving she is not like the mother while her male counterpart would find it hard to trust a female. Then there are the insecure feelings that comes with the territory of having a single parent.
I do not know about other tribes but in Igbo land this particular set of people are looked at with one eye (if you know what I mean). Once you introduce your intended spouse to your people, they turn into the FBI and conduct investigations to certify the person worthy enough. Woe betide you as a female if you are from a broken home. Your fiance’s people will tell him that it is likely your mother caused the problem and that the idiom “like mother like daughter”, is not a joke.
Woe betide you if you are male and your father was the one who walked out. Your fiancee’s people will also drum it into her ears that “like father like son” is not a joke. Even when the child is not about to marry, people would still find ways to hurt him/her. Any misstep, and statements like “Are you surprised? She is from a broken home”, are easily made.
The rate at which separations are being legalised as divorce and made open is getting high now. Each time I read about one, I think of the children involved. They may have evolved into a stronger breed who are not affected by the fall out of their parents’ marriages. I doubt that though. How does one love and know how to keep a marriage when that of your teachers in the form of your parents, fell apart? A mother can only try to be but she can never be a father and vice versa.
A new step-parent can only try to but can never replace your biological parent. I admire this set of offsprings because over the years; they have tried to survive and some of them have gone on to live lifes that their counterparts with normal families live. It is the duty of everyone to think before getting married and to always try more than extra hard to work things out when they go wrong.
For the children whose parents have failed in this duty,I am just trying to tell you that somewhere in Nigeria, someone is rooting for you.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Anke Van Wyk