We all know how unfair it is to be tasked with a burden beyond our capacity; a burden we never asked for. Is the boy child shoulder strong enough to bear them all?
The physical, psychological, sexual and emotional abuse of the boy child has gained little attention over the years, based on the societal assumptions that men are the stronger sex. These children are brought up in manly ways, such that they are robbed of their childhood. They are taught how to manage their emotions and be less expressive with their feelings.
In patriarchal societies, the boy child shoulders the family responsibilities at a tender age, while most parents also imbibe the culture of ‘hustling spirit’ in them. And we often wonder about the child labor pandemic.
In parts of the world where we have terrorism, boy child are recruited into terrorist groups while some untrained ones engaged in drugs, fraudulent activities, and turned street urchins (area boys).
Today being the International Day of the Boy Child with the theme; Boosting Optimism, restoring self-worth, it is imperative to remind us that the mental well-being of the boy child is paramount and should be prioritized above nuances of societal gender roles. That it is right for the boy child to express his emotions in whatever way(s); that it is also very alright to allow kids be kids without manly strings.
A very big thank you to individuals, corporate bodies and, civil organisations at the forefront of the boy child advocacy. Notably is Tunde Onakoya with his gift of chess and others using their various skills and platforms to advocate, mentor and educate the marginalized and the less privileged. We see you all.
Today, I urge individuals, parents, leaders and, civil society activists to help promote and advocate the boy child rights in order to protect them from further becoming endangered species. We need to encourage them always and be a support system. We need to help them make better decisions through our own actions. We need to let them know that their dreams are valid and dreams do come true. Just like Tunde Onakoya said, ” it is possible to do great things from a small place.”
By Temitope Akinleye
E-mail: [email protected]