As the world wakes up to celebrate and create awareness on another World Mental Health today, emphasis is on the youth. I wondered what I would have told my Son. His world would be so different from mine, the challenges as a boy and a man.
A letter to my Son
Nne, incline your ear to your mother. Ever since I knew you were coming, the earth shook and tilted on its axis. I never thought I could love another human being until I thought of you.
Nne, you are loved and so precious, and my heart beats faster than the Akan drums at the thought of letting you go into the world. I want to hold you so tightly and protect you from the big bad world. The reality is I must muster the courage to let you find your path.
Choose well and do not be afraid to change your mind. The diversions will still lead you back to where you belong
There will be moments you will be ask where is my father? You will feel lost when your age mates have fathers to go to. You will question my decision to raise you alone. Come to me and I’ll tell you the truth about your story. The decision I made was difficult, but I had to grow up quickly and ensure you would be raised in a supportive environment with good male examples. Caleb, as your mother I knew you would be in safe hands; your uncle Warobi and Granddad would be the men in your life. It is with this confidence of the two men I loved first, I knew you would have an example.
- Be careful of the friends you choose.
- Choose men who have the same values as you have.
- Manage your anger before it manages you. A man of a cool temperament is a conqueror. For it is a fool who argues or fights another.
- Do not carry weapons, your gang is your family that loves you unconditionally.
- You may be challenged to partake in drugs or alcohol. My son, you and I have discussed the dangers.
- If you must have a drink, pick your drink of choice stick to it, do not mix it Learn to master and express your emotions. Do not be afraid to speak to me, teachers or go to therapists.
- Nne, there are things I cannot teach you as a woman, find a mentor go to your uncle or choose one of your uncles to be a confidant. Choose wisely for he will see further than you do.
- Sadly and my greatest fear, my son as a young black man, you may be targeted by the police. If they ask you to stop, STOP. If they arrest you, call me or your uncle or aunties I want you alive.
- You may be discriminated against or targeted, my Son be slow to answer. Silence or a wise answer is prudence.
- Never question your identity. You are my Son, you have a grandmother and grandfather and a great grandmother and the 4 generations of men I have told you about. YOU BELONG!
- Laugh, my child like there is no tomorrow. Travel and see the world, there is much wisdom to gain as you step out of your home. Come to me I will give you the money as they say in kikuyu “kumagara nii kuhiga” (stepping out of your house is wisdom)
Never stop learning. Become the man you want to be. Nne stand tall, shoulders back and stride with purpose. And when it becomes too much, come home to mama. I will be on my knees for the world you live in is foreign to me.
Love you always
PS I have still to think of the girls/women 🙂