As parents, we have all had that moment when our child repeats something we said in the privacy of our homes in front of the person we said it about. Hopefully, when this happened, it didn’t create too awkward a situation.

The simple reality is that our children learn about the world and life through our deeds and our words, though rarely the words we speak to them directly. Our values become their values. Our principles become their principles.

This means that racism and sexism and all the other negative -isms are learned from us. No child is born automatically racist. And, when you see a child being racist, it is close to guaranteed that it was learned in the home.

Now, here we are. Dealing with a global crisis of the scale that hasn’t been seen in perhaps 100 years. And this one is truly global in a way that is unprecedented. We also feel it so much more because of the proverbial ‘global village’ that we have created. From Wuhan to New York to Kigali to London to Accra to Nairobi to Milan to London to Stockholm, we get to see how devastating things are.

Go online and it is a never-ending stream of the challenges facing our fellow human beings in all corners of the planet.  

Many of us are on lockdown with our children. How they navigate lockdown and how they view this period in their lives is determined by us. While it isn’t easy to stay positive when dealing with loss of income, managing a different way of working, not working, etc, our children are watching us and absorbing that energy.

Adulting is no child’s play. As parents, while dealing with the uncertainty, we also have to be conscious of how our reactions to it affect our children and be deliberate about what we expose. them to. This is a defining moment for many of us. For our children, it is even more of a paradigm shift as they are still coming into themselves.

It is important to be open with them, in a manner that is age appropriate, but it is also necessary to soften it. We have been honest about the impact on our work and, therefore, the potential impact on our lifestyle but we have tried to do it in a way that doesn’t create anxiety. They need to understand that life doesn’t always go your way. But, it isn’t about what happens in your life and rather how you react to it. What you do after it has happened.

As their parents, in this time of uncertainty, it is our burden, not theirs. All we can do is the best that we can and part of that is protecting our children as much as we can. Even amidst the uncertainty.

Easier said than done but that is our responsibility,

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About Kojo Baffoe

Of Ghanaian/German heritage, raised in Lesotho and currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kojo is the proverbial slashie, the professional ‘jack of all trades.’ He is an entrepreneur, writer, facilitator, content architect, former men’s magazine editor and speaker. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (1994) with majors in Economics, Marketing and Business Administration from the former the University of Natal (Durban), now University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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