On the Other Hand Would You Let Your Village People Raise Your Child? - 9JASTANDARD.COM
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On the Other Hand Would You Let Your Village People Raise Your Child?

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One way or the other, humans are not created to exist in isolation, and parenting is not expected to be an isolated journey. Whether you take the advice of your grandmother or you take that of a stranger online, you have been able to obtain support from an external body.

“Help! I gave birth a few days ago and I am still not lactating.”

“My child is running a fever and biting into everything including me. Do you think he is teething?”

“When do you think my period will return after my delivery? It’s been three months!”

As I sat on my apoti given to me by my neighbor, I read through the over-350 messages I received on a motherhood WhatsApp group I recently joined. You see, I was supposed to be studying for my exams that would be coming up in a few months, but was indefinitely sacked from my study space by my cranky infant. As someone who has no help, I had to type with one hand and rock my baby with the other. Sometimes, when that didn’t work, I’d simply leave my workspace to continue the following day.

These people would not have needed to ask these basic questions if they had allowed their families to assist them in raising their children. Everyone is now forming individualism. After all, they said it takes a village to raise a child. Where did their village go?

This thought or judgment of mine was not borne out of concern for those people. No! I was judging them because I am equally alone, 4000 miles away from Nigeria and, unlike me, I felt they were closer to their own families and could employ the help of those people anytime.

Once upon a time, there were no WhatsApp groups for pregnant women and mothers. Wet diaper diaries or mealtimes were not things you log on your phone. Total strangers were not who you asked for advice on how to raise your child. Once upon a time, other women and children rallied around a woman in labour, made hot compresses, boiled water, massaged her, and showered her with love and care. The birth of one child was a remarkable celebration for the entire village. It used to take a village to raise a child, so what’s happening with women’s gradual shift away from it? If you had a child today, would you let the village raise them?

It takes a village to raise a child is an African proverb that means an entire community of people must interact with the children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. Raising children is not left in the hands of the parents alone; childcare is systemic, and the children are expected to adhere to communal principles and core values.

Village, here, means the entire community. It could be one’s neighbors, parents, friends, in-laws, or siblings, boss, subordinate, house help. It may even be a total stranger on the street who tells you to wipe the residual milk off your baby’s face. Naturally, they come with the purest intentions of contributing to your child’s wellbeing. However, if it is so pure-intentioned, why are mothers and parents shifting away from the village despite the overwhelming stress that comes with motherhood and parenting?

In the typical Nigerian atmosphere, ‘village’ is not only a noun or a place you go to visit your family, it is also what English people call a Janus word or a contronym: a word with two opposite meanings. The village is both a blessing and a curse. Positive and negative. A paradox. Something to long for and, at the same time, stay away from if you want to succeed in life. The term ‘village people’ could stand for kinsmen and could also mean enemies.

Perhaps those people who refuse to let the village raise their children are conflicted on what the ‘village people’ are actually raising their children to be or they yearn for individualism so much that they want to be certain that every character their children exude are qualities they have single handedly crafted into those children.

Those who strongly loathe the advice or lessons given to them by the traditional village are not aware that the village does not entirely leave you. The ‘village people’ – however way one chooses to conceive its meaning – have transcended the traditional borders of remaining in the actual village. Nowadays, there are virtual communities where parents could obtain support.

Whether you join WhatsApp groups on parenting or simply post a picture of you and your child on Instagram, you will find someone who tells you to wipe the residual milk off your child’s face. One way or the other, humans are not created to exist in isolation, and parenting is not expected to be an isolated journey. Whether you take the advice of your grandmother or you take that of a stranger online, you have been able to obtain support from an external body.

So, has the village left us? I say, no. The traditional village, as it used to be, has simply given way to a new-age one: a virtual one. Rather than a visit, we now have video calls to tutor you on lactation or even school you on your child’s weird poop.

The village is always there to raise your child and we are grateful for it.

***

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Wait!!! Women Need a Letter of Consent From their Husbands to Cut Their Hair?

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Many things have been happening on Twitter lately, from the #EndSARS movement to Lil Frosh allegedly beating up his babe to Room 306. If you don’t know the Room 306 gist, trust me, you don’t want to know.

I was quietly strolling down the Twitter street when I saw a tweet that made me pause.

Wait, women actually need a letter of consent from their partners before they can have their hair cut? Their own hair? The one on their own head? I’m shook.

While this sounds really ridiculous, many women confirmed that this practice actually exists and they have experienced this a lot of times.

Come to think of it, why, how and when did this practice start?

Public outcry ke?

You know, in the last few days, we have been talking about SARS brutality in Nigeria, but it is obvious that we also need to talk about the brutality and the blatant disregard of the law and human rights of the people by our law enforcement agents. From soldiers to policemen, MOPOLs, FRSC, and LASTMA officers, it seems everyone is looking for an avenue to oppress the bloody civilians.

When I read Eketi‘s tweet, my first reaction was to blame the barber? I mean, what’s that? But come to think of it, if you, as a barber, gets arrested and locked up by a woman’s husband for cutting his wife’s hair, would you try it again? To be honest, me, I won’t. I will not because of 1,000 Naira haircut chop beating, sleep in a cell, and perhaps have to bail myself out (with some cash, of course). The best option is to avoid wahala and tell women to have the consent of their husband or boyfriend first before I sink my clippers into their hair.

There’s nowhere in the constitution that says a woman must get consent from her husband or boyfriend before cutting her hair. Why are we even having this kind of conversation in 2020? It is clearly wrong, unconstitutional, and illegal to arrest a barber for cutting a woman’s hair. But just like a lot of wrong things in Nigeria, this is happening. It’s like anyone who has the smallest bit of power is a law unto himself and can beat up or arrest any other person at will. We know it is wrong that a barber could be arrested for cutting a woman’s hair, but how can they fight back? Can they even sue the officer that arrested them? Who do they report to? Remember, this is Nigeria where SARS officers are brutalising and killing people in broad daylight and they’re going scotfree.

We’re operating in a really shitty system that gives excess power to security agents and does not persecute them when they misuse this power. Even a man who is not in any force can invite policemen to arrest a barber for cutting his wife’s hair.

Let’s paint this scenario: A man walks into the police station (or maybe reports to his police friend) and says “my wife don go cut her hair and the barber cut am without asking me first, make una come help me arrest am”. Then they too will tuck in their trousers, cock their guns, follow the man to the barber’s shop, arrest the barber (with a lot of slaps and shirt-grabbing, as usual), bundle him into the police van and take him to the station. When you take this barber to the police station, what will you write in his statement? That he cut a grown woman’s hair? Is that an offense? Think am na.

This whole issue also shows that a lot of men still infantilise women (read their wives/girlfriends) and do not see them as a complete entity, a full human capable of making decisions herself. It is not your head so why are you vexing that she cut her hair? If you are angry about her decision, why don’t you face her instead of fighting the barber? Is this your way of saying “I know you don’t know any better so I will go fight the person who should know better?”

I’m still trying to wrap my head around all this and picture many scenarios. As a man, will you be comfortable writing a consent letter so your wife or girlfriend (a grown, able-bodied woman who has a brain, can clearly think and make decisions) can cut her hair? If you come home to find out that your wife has cut her hair, would you fight the barber or get him arrested? Remember it is also her head and not yours. As a barber, have you ever been arrested for cutting a woman’s hair? As a woman, have you ever needed permission from your partner before you can cut your hair?

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Abraham Dominic : Forgiveness is Futile, Pay Attention to Healing

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People advise us to forgive a person who has wronged us. The person could even beg for forgiveness. It is almost as though we are doing the offender a favour. However, the selfish human mind is uncomfortable with this.

Understanding that selfishness is a primal instinct helps put many notions into perspective. In the throes of hurt and pain, granting pardon to someone who has caused us to bleed is too much of an act of charity to perform. The selfish human psyche does not desire to give forgiveness; au contraire, it desires to feel better by any means. This makes the idea of forgiveness sketchy, and after critical analysis, it is pointless, albeit to an extent. This is the way I see it: not the absolute truth.

We desire healing, not necessarily to forgive the person (or event) that hurt us.

Humans are inherently vindictive. For instance, an infant could hit their head on a wall. This child begins to cry. You pet the child, but they do not stop. Next thing, you ask the child, “Should I beat the wall?” Petulantly, the child nods. You smack the wall a couple of times. Immediately, the child stops crying. The child wants revenge. We do not outgrow childish tendencies such as this. They repackage themselves as other behavioural traits in adulthood.

People ask us to release pain without showing or telling us how to go about it. They go ahead to put a deadline on forgiveness. We are compelled to be clement. And when we do not meet this deadline, they vilify us, “Haba! Your mind is too strong; you’re cold-hearted.” We are asked to show mercy lest we run on a revenge rampage. In giving forgiveness, it seems as if we put emphasis on the other person – we make it about them. Conversely, in the case of healing, we put the focus on us. I always recommend this: “Forget forgiveness. Make this about you: Heal.”

We take responsibility for ourselves when we make the effort to heal.

There is no set-in-stone pattern or timeframe to healing. Some of us bounce back faster than others do. Personality differences play a salient role, so we must look inwards to find ways on how to heal. For some of us, therapy works fine. For others, it does not work. You won’t say because K went to therapy, you’ll bundle yourself to therapy. If you consider talking about ‘things’ a chore, therapy might not be the best thing for you. According to Carl Jung, “The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” This applies to healing. Therapy creates space, the enabling mental and emotional environment, for you to heal yourself.

Then again, there are basic elements involved in the process.

First, we must be gentle with ourselves. Things happen. The past is past. We should grieve, but we must not wallow.

Furthermore, we must find meaning in that situation. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist, concluded loss and suffering could be purposeful after his release from Auschwitz. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he went on to explain how finding meaning in tragedy helps people overcome pain and remain who they are regardless of horrible hardships. If we believe everyone has a life purpose, it makes sense we must have life lessons. How else do you achieve your purpose without lessons? If we believe helpers come into our lives at different times, we should expect “hurters” come into our lives at certain points. What are the lessons we are taking from the event? In the bigger picture, we can use those lessons to enhance our lives. We become tougher. The phoenix rises from its ashes.

In addition, we have to love ourselves. This is crucial. In loving ourselves, we are kind to ourselves and we understand holding on to pain hurts us more. This would motivate us to create healthy ways – specific to us – to heal.

I think being vindictive is fine if it would facilitate healing. Sometimes, we have to get justice. Think of it as some sort of restitution. Karma is real. Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For every action in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What goes around comes around. It is okay if we allow Karma use us to do “The Job”. Nonetheless, we should try not to lose ourselves in seeking vengeance. Abu in Cyprian Ekwensi’s An African Night Entertainment lost so much in seeking revenge.

Our focus must remain inwards during the healing process. We should not occupy our minds with forgiving. It will come without being forced, as love, forgiveness, and healing go together. Loving ourselves motivates us to heal. In doing this, we release pain. We truly forgive after healing.

There will be triggers even after we think we have healed because healing is a lifelong process. However, with healing, we see the event through the lenses of survivors, not victims. This is our power: survivor, not victim.

That we forgive someone/something does not mean we allow that same thing to repeat itself. Classic example: not lending money to someone who refused to pay an old debt.

Here is something to ponder on when we can: Do we really want to heal if we keep defining ourselves by pain we felt when we were hurt?

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Content Strategy Involves Satisfying Business Requirements

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Content Strategy

Content strategy involves satisfying business requirements through content creation and distribution. Of course, while there are a lot of people out there who claim to write, design and create content, content strategy is, itself, an art. Content strategy involves having someone taking a step back and asking, “What am I creating for my business and why?”

The goals of content marketing are to:

  • Build a community of potential customers
  • Create trust
  • Boost engagement with current customers
  • Establish relationships with prospects
  • Generate leads
  • Increase sales

Whether you’re in the beginner, intermediate or advanced stage, a comprehensive written content strategy is the only way to truly succeed with content marketing. It’s similar to building a house – without the plans first, you’ll end up creating a caricature of a house. The same principle applies to your business. Having a well-written, detailed and solid content strategy allows you to create content and take actions that attract prospects, engage buyers and convert them into paying customers.

Here are 10 reasons why your business needs a content strategy:

It amplifies your brand’s promotion

Deciding which to pick between brand awareness and lead generation can be difficult. ‘Awareness’ aims to increase the size of your audience, while ‘lead generation’ restricts your audience to a group of people who are willing to exchange their contact information for your content.

However, with content strategy, both activities do not have to engage in a survival of the fittest game. An awesome content strategy will work to ensure that both brand awareness and lead generation work in sync.

It offers value to potential customers – education, entertainment or inspiration

Whether you promote your business on social media/online or off, every action you take should provide value to your customers. Thankfully, social media allows you to deliver this value depending n your schedule or content structure.

Please note that not all of your followers who follow you intend to buy what you’re selling. For this category of people, providing helpful, useful and entertaining content will be helpful. For those who are in-market and researching, educational content like blog posts attracts them. And for those who want to buy, here’s where you need to bring your A-game to the fore. Plus, this also includes using social advertising strategy such as running ads.

It improves your SEO rankings

Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are like peas in a pod. This means that when you blend them together properly, you get a badass combo better than chocolate whipped cream. Wee-optimized content drives organic search results.

It builds an ever-growing community of people who feel like they know you

A business owner or not, we all are customers at certain places. And without the need for conviction, we’d rather buy from brands that make us feel special and feel like they know us and care. Everyone prefers to buy from people they know, like and trust.

So, how can you create an atmosphere that makes your followers feel like they know you? Storytelling! Storytelling cuts across all ages, religions and social status. Everyone loves stories. Incorporating storytelling into your captions establishes a connection with your followers/buyers and creates a ‘one big family’ atmosphere. This, in turn, builds and retains customer loyalty.

You become the go-to ‘Likeable Expert’

Are you the likeable expert that owns your market? An excellent content strategy for your business can establish authority with your most valued prospects and customers and make you become the figure/person they listen to.

It compels your fans, followers and readers to share your content with their network

We all know this: when we see a content that’s jaw-droppingly full of value and of utmost quality, we do not hesitate to bookmark/save it and share it with our friends, families and people in our network. That’s because we realize that others would benefit from seeing it. Customers behave in the same manner so give them something worth sharing.

It turns fans into customers

Within the parameters of your written content strategy, there should be content created specifically for generating leads and sales. And elements of a well-written content include:

  • Carefully-crafted ideas
  • Ad text/copy
  • Images
  • Video
  • Landing Pages
  • Calls-to-Action
  • Lead forms

Improves employee engagement

When your content is top-notch, engagement from them will come in loads. This, in turn, increases employee engagement. An increase in employee engagement establishes the following:

  • Higher service, quality, and productivity.
  • Higher customer satisfaction.
  • Increased sales (repeat business and referrals).
  • Higher profits.

It turns fans/customers to your brand’s ambassadors

A fundamental part of your written content strategy is to leverage the equity you’ve built up from consistently delivering excellent customer service. Please note that if you’ve got an excellent content strategy but a shitty customer service, that’s like seeing all your efforts go down the drain. However, put an excellent content strategy with excellent products/services, pair it with top-notch customer experience and you’ve got stark, loyal fans for life. They will rave about you/your business. Also, don’t forget to incorporate customer stories and video testimonials in your social media and content marketing.

It builds and solidifies your online reputation

Most brands do not see online ratings/reviews and reputation as part of their content strategy. And that’s a key aspect that shouldn’t be taken for granted. The fact that these ratings show up in search results when customers search for you is evidence enough to start developing an internal process to capture your happy, loyal customers’ feedback.

Content strategy is about getting the right message to the right customer at the right time. It should be one of the foundations upon which your business should be built. Don’t let your business collapse as a result of lack of proper planning.

ABRAHAM DOMINIC NEWTON is a copywriter, content creator and content strategist who help professionals, consultants and business owners align their stories with their ideal clients, refine their sales funnels and expand their online reputations. She is also a proofreader. You can connect with her via her IG page @abrahamdomenic

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