I Am Just A Boy, I Am Not A Burden

August 29, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER

Lance Cheung photo



John Chizoba Vincent



This statement fell from his mouth as his mother lynched him with a whip on the ground. He shouted at the top of his voice defending his manity, voice shaken and hands akimbo. There on the street I stood watching him enduring and fighting to be freed from the grip of his mother. I watched him trembling like a chick beaten by rain as I thought of a way to rescue him, but in my country you don’t buy wares you can’t sell at the end of the day.


How do we then hold our breath and pocket our tears seeing this? Is this not reason enough to feign death in the arms of the air when you are seen as a burden by the same woman that gives birth to you? Do tears and agony reflect the essence of living? Are we always meant to substitute laughter for tears and joy for sadness as boys? A giving day, a week of deadly pain, a giving sun, the harshness of the rocky pain. How do we define torture in the hands of those who are meant to safeguard us?


When a five year old boy is told that he is old enough to take care of himself, when a ten year old boy is told how to build his own family, when a seven year old boy is told how to take care of his sister, how to defend her, how to make her not to think more of their parents‘ absence; then desperation will set in and confusion will table notes of submission in his eyes.


I have heard a woman say to her neighbour “Wow, boys! You must be really busy! I bet that is a lot of work – having all boys!” Are boys really a burden to raise? Life itself is a lot of work. Parenting itself is a lot of work. Raising girls is also a lot of work. What in this world really does not have a lot of work in it? We are just boys; we are not a burden to whosoever is raising us. We might seem stubborn in nature, we might seem to be strong agitating or protesting in what we think and believe is right to do but are definitely not a burden to the world. Mind you, some people are just talking and not thinking.


Why would you call God’s gift a burden? It gets a little tiring hearing our mothers say this on a regular basis. In reality, we are a blessing to our immediate environment, to our family and society at large. It is not because we never get dirty, it is not because we are better than our counterparts, it is not because we don’t create problems or headaches for our parents but it’s normal to children in nature.


Although some parents see boys as a burden when they yell and get worked up when boys act like boys, this challenge can help you also as parents as an opportunity to practice how to respond in a godly way. How to overlook some things and be normal for once. Some parents get frightened at the thought of having boys, they are afraid as to how they will raise them, some also on how they will raise them to become godly. But in all, is there really such a difference between raising boys and raising girls? And why do parents or society at large act as if girls come from Venus and boys come from Mars? Why do we have such a mindset in our society?


It is relatively undesirable for a parent to keep complaining that a certain gender of child gives him or her problems more than the other. Why is no one writing an article or book bemoaning how ugly it is to be a mother or father of three girls? Why is the accusatory finger pointing in the direction of boys?


Just like that boy I saw on the ground beaten black and red while his sister sat smiling as he was beaten, they committed the same offense. Yes, they crossed the main road together. He was being beaten because he was a boy and was supposed to guide his sister or rather hold his sister’s hand sheepishly before they cross. Obviously, that was the reason he was beaten and his sister pardoned because she hadn’t gotten to the age of crossing the road herself or probably in the same way society claims that boys are stronger than girls.


Is there really a big gender gap between these children? Steve Biddulph, an Australia child psychologist made a lot of money convincing us that the two sexes are divergent and that we need to buy entirely different books to help raise them properly.


Ultimately, stereotypes exist in raising children because they reflect the realities we see in daily life. Indeed there really is a stigma in our society, the stigma of girls over boys.






John Chizoba Vincent

John Chizoba Vincent is a cinematographer, filmmaker, music video director, poet and a writer. A graduate of mass communication, he believes in life and the substances that life is made of. He has three books published to his credit which includes Hard Times, Good Mama, Letter from Home. For boys of tomorrow is his first offering to poetry. He lives in Lagos.

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