It was a cool, breezy Friday afternoon at Victoria Secondary School. Students were meant to be in their various clubs while those without a club had the whole period to themselves. Ella, Jumoke and Tolu belong to the ‘clubless’ group as they call themselves. They always looked forward to Friday Club time so they could have enough time to gist. Their usual meeting point was just beside the school counselor’s office, where they could talk uninterrupted in an atmosphere devoid of eavesdroppers. They knew too well that the School Counselor, unlike other teachers would be at the Girls guide club meeting.

“My Mum almost yanked my head off my shoulders when she saw the love note written by that stupid neighbour of mine,” Ella started. “I told her that I had nothing to do with it but she just wouldn’t listen. She called me a blatant liar, good for nothing girl, and she wouldn’t open her eyes to watch me get pregnant under her roof. Girls, I got the beating of my life!” She exclaimed.

Eeeyah! Jumoke replied. “Why would a mother want to kill her only daughter because of ordinary love note”? She asked. “Anyway Ella, you were a bit careless; how could you have allowed her see it?”
“Jumoke, I have no skeleton in my cupboard so why should I hide the note? Besides, I am not cut out for dating boys while still in secondary school”. Ella replied.
Pele o! Now that you were punished for being innocent, is it not better to date cool guys? Jumoke answered sarcastically. “After all, Kunle has been asking you out for months now but you refused. Wouldn’t you have been happier if you were punished because of love”?
“Honestly Jumoke, that’s the most painful part of the story. I got punished for nothing! My Mum is just too strict and can beat you up at the slightest opportunity”. Ella concluded.

Tolu, who had been listening to the conversation without uttering a word, finally spoke.
“Different stokes for different folks”! She said. “How I wish my Mum could just pay a little attention to me! I wouldn’t have found myself in this present predicament”.
“Predicament?!” Her friends exclaimed.
“Yes o! You know my mum now, she spends her time in her shop and her leisure, partying. She is never around to find out what’s up with me or my siblings. Three weeks ago, she had to attend a party with Goke’s Mum in Ijebu-Ode, so she told me to stay at Goke’s place for the weekend with my siblings. My entire plea to persuade her to change her mind fell on deaf ears as she screamed that she couldn’t leave us alone in the house without adult supervision. Besides, dad was out of the country.”
“Didn’t you tell her about Goke’s sexual advances”? Ella cuts in.
“I told you that she is never there to listen”, replied Tolu. “The big for nothing idiot forced himself on me and threatened to kill me if I dare mentioned it to my Mum.”

Oh my God! Jumoke exclaimed. “This is so sad! So you won’t tell your Mum?”
“I wasn’t moved by his threat o! I had been trying to get my Mum’s attention since then to tell her, but she just kept ranting about her uncleared goods.” Well, I have decided to carry my cross alone since my parents are busy making money”; she replied sadly.

“This is so disheartening”, said Jumoke. “This is a serious dilema o! You get punished for the wrong reasons, ignored when you have issues to address and hailed when you pretend to be a good girl.”

Pretend? asked Ella.

Of course! replied Jumoke, “my folks think I am a saint, they would never know otherwise. I am being forced to pray and read the bible daily. Anyway, I enjoy attending choir rehearsals so I could spend some time with my latest guy, Joe. You know he is the Choir director as well as the Pastor’s son.”
Bad girl! ‘Ella screamed’. I hope you won’t get caught?
“That won’t happen because; I know how to play my cards well. I will behave like an angel at home, as such; they can’t suspect any foul play. You know how it is with gullible church folks now; busy attending programs with the assumption that their children are well protected”. She remarked smiling. “It’s all about the don’ts, without a tangible reason; never up to date on issues in the society…. as if they live in another world”. She concluded.

Unknown to the girls, the school counsellor had some work to do, hence; she had stayed back in her office. She overheard their conversation and couldn’t help the tear that slid through her right eye down to her face. She remembered her own experience in secondary school, living with strict parents and how she couldn’t just wait to get her freedom.

Her long sought for freedom came when she was given admission to one of the prestigious Universities in the country. She remembered how she joined the other ‘Jambitos’ to paint the campus red, clubbing without any regard for her books. She had an abortion as a fresher which almost claimed her life but was jolted back to her senses when her second semester results came out and she was placed on probation. That was when she remembered the God her parents served and asked for His help. “I could have been thrown out of campus if not for God”, she muttered quietly .

She opened the window of her office and called the girls. The three friends were taken aback and with weak knees, they reported to her office.
“Young Ladies, please have your seat; we really need to talk!” she announced as they entered her office. The three friends sat down sheepishly as the conversation began….

Gleanings from this story:
Motherhood should never be delegated. When you consciously or unconsciously delegate your responsibilities to another; you have become a surrogate mother.
Your primary responsibility as a mother is to nourish, nurture and protect your children. After all, that was what your womb did to them while they were still in the foetal stage.
I believe God gave the woman a womb to differentiate her from a man; so that she would know that the primary responsibility of nourishing, nurturing and protecting a child, is hers. The Man is however, expected to team up with the woman in ensuring the proper discharge of these duties.
Create time for your children, no matter how tight your schedule is – make it a physical appointment, not virtual. Don’t be an e-mother!
Pay special attention to your teenage girls. The period is a very crucial time in their lives because they are transiting from Childhood to Adulthood. Remember not to treat them as children and at the same time, don’t give them total freedom like an adult.
Mothers, befriend your teenage girls! Make them your best friend by creating a friendly atmosphere for them. Be approachable, give them prompt attention and always assure them that you love them and will always be there for them.
Always investigate matters thoroughly. When a child/teen is punished for no just cause; it could stir up rebellion in them.
Ensure adequate protection for them. Don’t send them to places that will pose a threat to them. For instance, sending a teenage girl on an errand, unaccompanied, in the evening, is not ideal.
Don’t be busy making money at the expense of training your children. Your money won’t bury the shame if it eventually comes.
When it comes to spiritual matters, tell them about the Love of God and pray for them to embrace it. However; let your lifestyle show what you preach so that they can be convinced that serving God is real.
Serving God is not about fulfilling Laws, rather; it’s about having a relationship based on genuine Love for God. Love for God will make them do the will and commands of God.
Serving God doesn’t mean you should not be up to date with issues. Though, you are not of the world, you still live in the world. Never become obsolete to your children; it won’t pay you!


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