Michael Abrahams | Nuh breed fi joncro
Recently I was asked to give a talk to some antenatal patients at a forum being held at a public hospital. My presentation was on childhood trauma and its long-term effects. As I wrapped up my talk, I had one last piece of advice for my audience: “Whatever oonu do, please, me beg oonu, nuh breed fi a dog or a joncro”. For those of you who are foreigners, or hail from upper St Andrew, and do not understand Jamaican patois, what I asked them to do is not conceive for men who are worthless.
The comment was well received, and most of the ladies laughed and applauded, although I suspected that some of them were carrying canine progeny in their uteri. My remark was delivered with humour, but the point is a serious one. When we examine our society today, we see a lot of people who are hurting. Much of the vexation and aggression around us is the result of pain. If we seriously wish to address the anger, expressed and repressed, that is prevalent in our society, we must address not only the harmful effects, but also the causes of the phenomenon, and much of it has its genesis in childhood.
But from even before childhood, we must look at those who are bringing children into the world. I understand the human sex drive. It is complicated. Sometimes we are drawn to get busy with persons we know are not good for us, but we submit our penises and vaginas to them anyway. I get it. But what is of concern to me is reproducing with persons who will be absent or poor parents. Some people are terrific lovers but would be toxic to children.However, you can have all the sex you want and take measures to prevent conception.
If you have sex and sperm and egg never meet, fine. But when a child is brought into the universe, by a person or persons who are ill-equipped to parent, we sow the seeds for dysfunction.The maternal drive can be very powerful, and I appreciate the burning desire of many women to conceive. Some will tell you they can raise the child by themselves and do not need a man, or care if he is present or absent. But they cannot predict what will happen when the child is born. Some children are a handful and raising a child can be a formidable task. It requires maturity, discipline, patience, the ability to love and nurture, and significant financial resources. This can overwhelm a couple, let alone a single parent. There are many children who have been hurt by the unfortunate combination of absent father and angry, frustrated and resentful single mother.
But fathers do not only need to be present, they need to be stable responsible too. Having a child for a man who will stay, but is very dysfunctional, can also do significant damage. An abusive and disrespectful father in the home sets poor examples for children and can traumatise them. And whether the man stays or not, some of his nasty traits can be genetically passed on to his offspring, bringing more dysfunction into the world.
The above advice is given to women, but the same applies to men too. We like to think of women as nurturers, but not all women are mother material. Men are visual creatures, and some women, especially with make-up and other accoutrements, can be very distracting, diverting the flow of blood from the head with the brain to the one at the end of a shaft. We pursue them, lie with them, impregnate them, then discover that they are more interested in Instagram selfies than in raising their offspring and are more “sketteloid” than we thought.
There is no perfect human in the world. We are all flawed, and even the best parents among us will admit to making mistakes. But parenting is a serious and challenging job. Children are not dolls or action figures. They are complex, fragile and beautiful little people who require love, nurturing, guidance, protection and discipline. There are occasions when we discover major flaws in our mates after we have reproduced with them, and the proverbial horse has already gone through the gate. But before you reproduce, please choose the father or mother of your child wisely. You, your child and the society may pay the price for an unwise decision.