Anita, 16, a super HOT teenager, is a light-skinned girl; figure-eight, brown-eyed and had this dimpled smile that would make you desire to know her name.
Everybody knew her for her A’s in class. The first-born, she was born in a family of three children. She is followed by a boy and girl of ages eight and six respectively. Like other children, Anita was taught to respect her elders, do her chores, say prayers before eating and sleeping and obviously, take care of her siblings.
Anita had no father; he had died in a car accident four years ago. Her father had gone to visit his agricultural farm in the Eastern Province, which contributed 60 percent of the family’s income.
This had traumatized Anita’s mother for quite some years, since one survivor of the accident told her that before her husband breathed his last, he said “...Ta…Take care of my ki…Kids, I…lo…Love...” this had cut through her soul, so much so that her one desire was to lovingly raise her children to become well-mannered.
Unlike her mother, Anita had got over their loss. She was now living a teenage life (I bet you know what being 16 means to a girl); she went to parties and returned home late (many times without permission), dressed like Beyoncé and Rihanna, her top role models. She was in a group of five girls who called themselves “You may look, but don’t touch!!” they were all ‘players’ and would go out with men twice their age.
They used to do all kinds of crazy things like watching dirty movies, sending sarcastic text messages to their boyfriends, and boozing in cocktail unions. She always went home chewing PK gum to take the pungent smell away.
She disobeyed her teachers in class and her performance drastically declined. She no longer had time for her siblings, not even to help them with homework. Anita had totally changed in behaviour, and this worried her soft-hearted mother, who already had health issues since she suffered from atherosclerosis.
One Friday evening, she talked to Anita in a loving manner and shared real-life stories with her. Alas, there was no change in Anita’s behaviour. Her mother took her time and for two days, compiled a weekly schedule for Anita.
She then pleaded with Anita to use it as a manual the following week onwards. Anita grudgingly accepted and took the paper.
The schedule read:
Day 1: Prayer, polishing the sibling’s shoes, preparing their school uniforms, making their breakfast. Then, checking on Dad’s photo in the sitting room and lastly, kissing mum on the forehead.
All this was to give an example of love and care to the young ones, which she had never done before. Day one for her was a pain in the neck; she nagged, but completed the daily task.
Day 2: Same routine, but this time as she helped her siblings, she felt something she had never felt before; a sense of responsibility. And when he looked at her father’s photo, tears dropped but she hid them and pretended that an insect had entered her eye. Her mother saw this and said in her heart, “the journey continues”.
Day 3: Same routine, this time she did everything happily without nagging. When she kissed her mother; she developed love and respect for her, and even returned to her room to dress in formal clothing since what she was wearing was so revealing.
Day 4: Same routine; for the first time, she felt part of the family. Her sibs were grateful for what she was doing and this time, it was her mother who kissed her on the forehead when she was leaving. This change was noticed by her friends at school. She later helped her sibs with homework in the evening.
Day 5: On the last day, things went well as usual. It started raining and her mother stayed home. When they returned home from school, they were amazed by the number of people at home, and the ambulance parked outside. Her uncle came towards them; he seemed to be holding back tears. Anita suspected something and started crying out loud, saying “WHY! WHY! WHY DID YOU GO MUM?” she was told her mum had had a heart attack because of thunder. Anita suddenly realized the full meaning of what her mum had been teaching her, as overnight she became a mother to her siblings at a very young age.
Value your parents while you have them, be wise and obedient in order to avoid “If only I had known!” Parents represent GOD here on earth.
The author is a student at Lycee De Kigali Secondary School