Respect vs Freedom

Respect vs Freedom

One of my guilty pleasures is to watch the series, “Madam Secretary” over and over again. It relaxes me. I learn a lot about diplomacy. But what gets me every time I watch it is the family life of the main character. I know it’s fiction and I understand that no family is exactly the same or could ever be. This time around what got me thinking is the relationship of the parent with the children.

Here’s why;

My husband and I decided before we even conceived that we were going to raise our kids to be very independent and confident. And of course, that’s the path that we have towed as our little one continues to grow. And yes, she is bold, very assertive, kind and all the good things. However, she is starting to call our bluff. All of the training we are giving her about confidence is starting to pay off. Her teachers testify to how outspoken she is. She knows what she wants and she will stop at nothing less.  But she is also being the same way with us. This brings out mixed reactions from me; I feel very proud that she wouldn’t allow anybody to cheat her. But the African mother in me feels somehow when she says, “Mummy, stop it” and some other things she says.

This is where I am going; Africa is a continent built on some very important values, one of which is Respect. Respect is an important concept and value that is sewn into the tapestry of our development as children in African households. It is evident in the way we talk, conduct ourselves and even show up to our elders. I love it so much and I believe it should not be lost.

I also believe children should be allowed freedom of expression, within limits of discipline. That allows them to be themselves and feel no need to hide any aspects of themselves at home. I see this in the three children of Madam Secretary. Their dad is an Ethics professor who would not compromise on principle. And their mum is the same way. But they are able to question some of their parents’ decisions, actions and even offer their opinion. They know that they will be listened to. Without bias.

A part of me really loves and craves that for my kids. Another side of me questions if I can truly be that “liberal” with my kids. Would I really be okay if my kids begin to use the principles and freedom that I have taught them from now, against me? Cos it’s all cute now that they are kids. Until it morphes into major philosophical or lifestyle differences. Would I be okay with that?

Would you?