Influence or Control: The modern dilemma

A number of my friends are married and having children and they often say, “I am scared to have a child in this world, a daughter is even worse. How can you protect them from this?”

A number of my friends are married and having children and they often say, “I am scared to have a child in this world, a daughter is even worse. How can you protect them from this?”

THIS – being the apparently immoral world we live in. Young fathers swear that they’ll lock up their daughters, make them wear a veil though they aren’t Muslims, ban them from ever watching MTV and make sure they do 13 hours of homework a day to keep them busy.

Of course this doesn’t happen, fathers end up like putty in the hands of their children, especially daughters who are protected but forgiven for all. We look for ways to control our children, just to protect them from this horrible world.

For every parent, today looks worse than before, that is not to say there wasn’t promiscuity in previous generations. It is just that it is now so open that it scares most young parents today; what will be the future limits?

A friend of mine who has a lot of time on his hands, he is nice and not twisted, told me that if you tie a duck to a stick for two weeks you can take off the rope and the duck won’t move.

I haven’t had time to test this hypothesis as I love ducks and lack the adequate time, but it raises a point. You can control someone but unless they are ethical or moral for their own reasons, you won’t have benefited.

This makes the immoral or unethical merely a matter of opportunity, not a moral choice. Hence you can lock up your daughters but the second they get the chance to sneak out they will, eventually.

A human can never truly control another; the best you can hope for is influence. Positive behaviour brings about more positive behaviour and vice versa.

The role of influence is always bigger than control; when we look at the misguided youth today we must ask. What example did they grow up seeing?

Daddy at the bar, Mummy at her friends, house girl becomes the mother, uncles are sugar-daddies, aunties praying in despair in church, video and DVD is the main education tool. Then one day you bump into your daughter at the same bar you frequent and wonder how you got there.

The soft power of influence is always preferable to control, the example you set is very important in preserving moral authority.

That is something I am only learning now, we will all have that moment where we will bump into our child doing wrong.

What is important is that you influence that child so even if it does wrong it knows it is wrong, and you have the moral authority to back it up. If they have a vision of who they want to become, they will always strive harder in life to be better human beings.

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