If you Spare the rod, you spoil the Child -Viola Okolie

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How do you “train” a one year old?

How do you even train any child regardless of age, especially when training is viewed from the Nigerian perspective of “half kill the child, and they’ll know better than to go down that route again”.

This is one question that has been nagging me  since the recent fictitious issue of the young girl who slapped a year old baby for being too “hyperactive” in her space and pulling off her wig (revealing the alopecia beneath); and smacking her phone out of her hands thereby causing the screen to crack.

A lot of young adults on social media who had in times past, taken umbrage at domestic violence when the recipient of the violent act was a female; saw nothing wrong in this girl slapping a one year old suckling baby, and found many ways to justify the slap. Coincidentally at the same time, short videos were going around on social media of a nanny who was abusing children in her care. Strangling them, throwing them down on a marble floor, bitch slapping them, etc. The videos were horrific to watch but interestingly, those who saw nothing wrong with an adult slapping a baby because of an iPhone screen; were displaying outrage.

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Ironic.

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Once while we were still teenagers, I recall a fight that broke out between two highly rambunctious adults on our street.

One of those useless things (in retrospect), that seem extremely unbearable when it happens and when eye dey extremely “durty”, had happened and as usual, the person who was on the receiving end of the chain of events could not bear such an affront to his personality, and challenged the affronter to a fist fight.

As is usual in such situations, people began to gather as the voices began to rise, and also began to take sides. In those days, we didn’t have cameras and social media, but we had our version of click-and-share-in-lieu-of-deescalating-a-potentially-tragic-situation measures – word of mouth.

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Rather than separate the brewing fight, people were running to go and call those who were not aware that a fight was about to happen, to come and join them in watching action feem. Those who had no where to run to and no one to call, were busy adding petrol to the dirty fire. Amplifying insulting comments, throwing taunting jabs at each of the potential pugilists in the middle of the ring, pointing out to them that any refusal to actually fight as promised, was tantamount to cowardice – their real fathers there!

Long story short, as the crowd continued to gather and tempers continued to rise and people continued to escalate the tension; one of the men threw a blow and the other one took it on his temple, went down like a felled tree… and that was it.

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He wasn’t unconscious, no. He was dead.

Cold.

At THAT moment, the mood changed and nobody either wanted to fight, or to watch the fight again.

In the twinkle of an eye, the arena was cleared and right there in the middle, lay a dead man who five minutes ago was bragging about he could not bear any real or perceived insults to his person; and his murderer who five minutes earlier, had casually flung out words he was wishing he could wind back the hands of the clock and recall – what an exercise in futility.

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