Mummy, I know what I am looking for,” was my teenage daughter’s response when I inquired why it was taking her time to make a choice out of the good quality shoes available in the market. She would not take advice from me at that time because her understanding was that my disposition to fashion was outdated. I reminded her gently but firmly that I was tired of being taken round and round the whole market searching for her choice of shoes.
She led me again to one of the shops our search had previously taken us to and chose a pair of silver coloured shoes from a heap of shoes that looked abandoned. I tried to communicate through gestures that I was uncomfortable with her choice but she was too desperate to understand what I was doing. I collected the shoes from her, turned the side that was already loosening towards her so that she would see it clearly and asked her with a calm but strange voice, “Do you like this shoe?” She said, “Yes.” I turned to another loosening part and asked her a similar question and she also affirmed her choice.The shoe was about three thousand naira (N3, 000.) I paid for it and we left. It was unfortunate that the straight face that I kept throughout our stay in that shop failed to alert her that something was wrong.
I avoided any discussion on that shoe until we arrived home. On sighting the shoe, her senior sister asked her a question with a searching glance. “Was mummy there when you chose this shoes?”
I just entered my own room and was relaxing on the bed when I saw the two of them entering my room, the senior leading, while her junior was trailing after her with a remorseful look. I understood that she had met face to face with the harsh reality of her actions.
When her senior sister asked why I allowed her buy that pair of shoes. I explained that at the point she was buying her shoes; my guidance was not needed so I allowed her to make her choice and be responsible for her actions. My next statement that the shoes will not be replaced brought tears to her misty eyes because she needed the shoes for an important event.
The shoe was never worn. Some months later, I saw her when she held the shoes and said: “You thought me a lesson I will never forget.” She said that the shoes taught her that she still needs parental guidance in order to make good choices.
1. This story provided evidence that the “rod” of correction was effectively used to achieve discipline in a child. Please note that discipline is a personality attribute.
2. The “rod” does not necessarily mean a cane or whip.
3. The “rod” of correction has been explained in our devotional post ‘Achieving Discipline in Children: The Right Approach’ on 12/12/2015. Please read it.
-Uchenna N. Nduka