I look up at my clock and it was fifteen minutes to the top of the hour; shucks!!! I am running very late for my morning appointment…and I am yet to have my breakfast. I call out to my housekeeper to kindly bring me my tray of breakfast (fried eggs with sautéed tomatoes and onions and a cup of herbal tea). I put down my face brush and sit at the edge of my bed about to take a bite when…WHOOOM! My bedroom door swings wide open and like a head of school, she stands akimbo staring at me for what seemed like eternity; “Mama, I thought you said, ‘no eating in the bedroom?’, she asks very pointedly. “Errrmmm…yes I did,” I respond, guilt-ridden. And that, my Tweenagers, is a classic example of double standards.
Why do we say not to do one thing and then turn right around to do the exact same thing? Do you recall the last time you did that? Or you have experienced it?
I met Adjoa, Lali, and nine other tweens for a review session on our recently held reading session; I thought to seek their opinions.
“My mother says eating late at night is not healthy, so we don’t eat after 7pm; but she keeps a stash of Oreo cookies hidden under her bed…and indulges in midnight snacking, I know”, Lali says amidst a fit of giggles.
“My father insists we shouldn’t watch TV late night, yet he stays up past midnight watching TV,” Jayden interjects
“But all adults do that!”, exclaimed Adjoa, when I retold them what had happened this morning with my 8year old. “We do?”, I inquired in a mock-shocked voice. “Yes”, they all answered in unison. I feel like the weight of all adults’ sins on my shoulders.
My tweens were right; we (adults) tend to not do as we say. “Why don’t you draw your parents’ attention to what they’re doing?”, I inquired.
“My parents will beat me if I say something!”, Jayden sounded alarmed. “As for me, I don’t want to die, so I just don’t say anything ooo!”, Adjoa chuckled.
“Once I tried to remind my mother of her own rule and she said she brought me into the world, so she can take me out”, Lali added, laughing so infectiously we all joined in. Phew…thanks for diffusing the atmosphere Lali, I thought.
We then had a long conversation about the concept of double standards and agreed on the following:
- They mean well: Adults usually have our interest at heart when they make rules for us. Eating in your bedroom breeds insects and ends up leaving a small in your room; not good for your health. Eating late at night usually means you definitely will not brush your teeth before sleeping…bad for your teeth with all that food stuck on it!
- Bad experiences: We probably have had bad experiences by not following the same rules and are regretting this. I have had ants invade my room once (yes, as an adult!) because I kept snacking on sweet plantain chips in my bedroom, late night!
- Help: We do need help as adults, you know? We also would like to have someone remind us of the same rules we created. We don’t wish to stay up late watching TV and snacking; it surely is bad for our health. We need saving from ourselves, and you are our saviours!
How can we ensure that we are staying within the rules that will help us all, both tweens and parents?
Nathan, 12 years old, suggested both tweens and adults create the rules and paste them where they all can see them. Good idea, all of us agreed. We know that parents can penalize us for not respecting the rules, but what can we (tweens) do to serve as a deterrent to our parents too?
“I will yank the cable from the socket if I catch my mother watching TV late night!”, Zella said with a ‘wicked” grin. Kofi burst out laughing, “We should also yell at them like they do us”.
“This is Africa, and not America where you can shout at your parents”, Adjoa reminded us all sternly. You go, Adjoa!!
“How about we introduce a system where for every rule they disobey, they will pay for it? Maybe Ghc20 every time?” Nornyo cleverly suggested.
Do you have a better way of helping adults to conform to their own rules they make? Share them with me via [email protected] . The best 3 ideas will receive a voucher to dine at *Frankie’s Restaurant in Osu, Accra