Editing my book ‘Recce’, disciplining children and other matters.

Editing is hard, man. I don’t mean that I hate editing myself, on the contrary I might like it a bit too much. Well, maybe not like, but I keep wanting to change things until the entire thing is completely unrecognisable. I am just going to have to remember that people seemed to love the book when I blogged it last November/December and not change it too much.

On the plus side, I am more than halfway done and I find myself actively enjoying the dialogue of Paul-O and Lucy the most. That boy was supposed to be a very minor character. I’m still surprised at how he keeps showing up.

Remember, even if you read parts of the book when I blogged it, THERE IS A SURPRISE TWIST! Muhahahaha! I love twists. (Hopefully) you didn’t see this one coming. Till July peeps! I can’t wait!

***

I watched City of God for the second time yesterday and I cannot tell you how sad that film makes me. I just hope and pray that the only way for any of my descendants is up. I cannot bear the thought that someone descended from me will have the kind of life that the Runts had in that film. Nobody should have to live like that but that is the reality of the world I suppose. Things are hard in a lot of places. Even here in London, there are tower blocks and estates where the situation is no better; children living on their own because parents are druggies or work more than two jobs, hiding out form social services…stealing to get by, learning to kill to ‘get respect’ , a substitute for the love and care they are not getting at home.

This reminds me of rapper DMX’s ‘Intervention’ where he recalled that when he ran the streets and it was getting dark, the mothers of his friends would ‘whup their behindd’art, pull their ears for being out that late. There was no one who did the same for him, he says. Of course I am reluctant to put all the blame on his parents being a parent myself – I mean the guy is almost 50, take some responsibility for your life – but it’s easy to see how they can mess up a person’s life.

I will spank my children out of love.

It’s easy to get it so wrong though. Parents are human with their own worries, personalities and baggage. It’s easy to tip the scale from correcting a child to venting your frustrations. Before I had my son, I didn’t think twice about flogging or spanking a child. In fact, I will tell him something a few times and if he doesn’t listen, I’ll smack him. But then I read something a few months ago which made me feel like a monster. I believe the quote was something like ‘Children cannot fight back’. I wondered then, was I an abuser? I was flogged with a cane, slapped or spanked all my life as a means of discipline and correction but it wasn’t the nicest thing. Do I really want to do the same to my child? It especially hurt when I called my parents out on something they were doing which they’d told us not to. In those scenarios, spanking was supposed to discourage questioning or challenge to authority. I don’t think it was fair  but….that was society. You didn’t question elders. However, do I want to raise a child who is afraid to question, who – given his parents – is likely to grow up questioning EVERYTHING?

***

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Thank you to everyone who helped me when I asked for comments on adoption in Igboland. The latest issue of BBC Focus on Africa Magazine is out now and you can find my article on page 24. For details of how to subscribe to this magazine (including back issues) click here. I cannot tell you how much I miss working with these dedicated people, bring us entertainment, information and good news from the African continent. Please subscribe. And you can follow the editor Nick Ericsson on twitter (@nickericsson).

That’s all for now. It’s back to work for me.

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5 thoughts on “Editing my book ‘Recce’, disciplining children and other matters.

  1. Ah, the good days.

    Two beatings I got when I was little were for doing opposite things. One for interrupting my uncle during a card game to tell him about something important, the other for not interrupting him when something just as important came up.

  2. Monster ke? Biko kwa. I will only say dont beat a child in anger. You might go overboard and actually hurt.
    On the other hand, some people go overboard with this ‘dont beat a child policy’ – defenceless child – my ass. You haven’t seen a three year old try to poke out your eye with a pencil while you are saying ‘no sweetie, dont hurt mommy’ when a well delivered smack on her bum will tell her mommy isn’t finding that play funny.
    Nevertheless, parents do play a very crucial role in a child’s development – physically, mentally, emotionally. The recognition/validation the kids dont get at home, they get it outside from their peers and God help you if they are bad. Boys -gangs, girls – men (not necessarily prostitution just looks for men who prey on her while telling her she is beautiful).
    Its a hard cycle to break or even recognise even in an adult.
    God help us shaa.

    Whoop Whoop! Gotta find a way to get that Mag :)

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