The plight of the boy child in the modern society
Recently, the name boy child has become a popular hashtag following a low turn out in the KCPE and KCSE exam results in 2017 in Kenya. There have been emerging perceptions and debates that the boy child has been neglected, not only in Kenya but in the world at large.
At a young age, girls are often given lessons that are meant to give them a push towards the right direction. These come in form of camping trips for girls, primary school talks for girls, high school counselling for girls and pep talks from moms. You guessed right. All this is ‘For Girls’. So, by now you probably know where we are going wrong.
There is a popular Kimeru saying stating that a tree is made straight when it is still young. It is impossible to straighten an old tree. Old habits never die, that’s another saying. To make any changes we need to begin when our children as young as being able to discern the right from the wrong. And this also means changing how we address gender equality.By knowing that gender equality is utopian. By utopian I don’t mean to say it is completely unachievable. it can be achieved but there can never be a 100% gender equality.
There has been this common misconception that the girl child needs someone to walk with during the adolescent ages. And that the boy child is able to walk through it alone, if not being an enemy of the girl’s success. We have also heard the phrase that what a boy can do a woman can do better. This is where we go wrong. We cannot achieve gender equality by putting one party down.
Where I come from, I notice that many boys either dropped out of school before high school. Or some are college drop outs or gave up at some point and are addicted to some type of drug. They hustle to gamble, to get drugs or just drugs. In reality, these men are like this because at some point they lacked someone to correct them. Or to point them to the right direction and tell them that we as humans mess up. Then we learn and make better decisions. Generally, they lacked a shoulder and a guiding hand.
Where We Go Wrong
Too much emphasis has also been put on developing the girl child that the boy child has been neglected. Boys also need pep talks. The initiation to adulthood is not enough. They need mentors, fathers who are dads and friends. They need mothers who protect and advice and a society that cares. Acountry that invests in their empowerment and a world that supports them.
Again, we are often so engrossed in thinking that men are stoic, strong and aggressive. In the process, we forget that like women, they too are not and can neither be perfect or be angels. That’s another reason why you find that a man can ail for long and not consult a doctor. This is because they do not want to be seen as weak. They become afraid of complaining when they feel oppressed, saying no or asking for help. Their female counterparts get away with almost anything yet we talk about gender equality.
So, next time you see a man drunk in the drains, a boy who’s dropped out of school or no men in leadership, remember it started from the roots.
It is time we recognize that we are doing something wrong and do what it takes to rectify the rot. We must acknowledge that we as a society, a country and the global community have neglected the boy child. And if it means going back to the roots to make things right, then we should embrace that.
All in all, we cannot and should not empower one group while we completely neglect the other. It starts today.
Read more by Cyprian Nyakundi