COLUMN: Sibling rivalry is not on; love all children equally

2016-10-20 06:00
on the run lunga adam

on the run lunga adam

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My maternal grandfather used to have a special fondness for my elder brother, such that whenever the latter came back from playing in the streets, the former would produce a piece of pork out of his pocket, unwrap it, and give it to my sibling.

For the rest of us kids, the old man would dangle some morsel high above, before blurting: “Nguban’ orhalayo?”.

Thus we would each compete with the other for the highest ‘jump for joy’ stunt, at most times without success, much to his amusement.

Perhaps that explains my love for meat. I felt deprived growing up.

The old man performed this ritual without a miss for what seemed like ages.

I always figured it a nice but cruel gesture. I have come to realise that parents and grandparents have their own favourite kids or abazukulwana.

The adored can do no wrong in their eyes, to the extent that even scolding them for a wrongdoing becomes a mission.

Is that a good or bad thing?

These days, people tend to value friendship more than family and I do not know why.

Could it be because of the emergence of these social networks, which trump up the importance of ‘friendship’, ‘hooking up’, ‘networking’ and whatnot?

But think about this for a second. You have countless friends on Facebook, most of whom you have no chance of running up against even in the waiting room of the local mashonisa.

You have even more on WhatsApp. Some are following you on Twitter. You share pictures and videos with a few hundred on Instagram.

But how many of those are truly concerned about your well-being.

How many would take time out of their schedule to visit you if you were to lie in the ICU section of the Groote Schuur Hospital?

How many would go out of their way to bail you out of a sticky situation? Hmmm. See?

I also know that at times the family space can seem toxic.

Sibling rivalry permeates the air; serious disagreements rule the roost and backstabbing is the order of the day.

I have seen on these very same social networks a family member washing their hands off the other.

It is so hectic among some families out there that the only time they see each other is when there is a funeral or at a wedding.

Even then, they give each other the thousand-yard stare or simply ignore each other.

But family’s family, man. For them to do something for you, they do not need to know how much is in your bank account.

When you run into some trouble in the ungodly hours of the morning, it is your father who will get out of bed, try to locate his socks and come to your rescue.

When you pass on and there is some bureaucratic issue that prevents your corpse from being collected from the morgue, your family are the ones who have to do the run around.

Re: the issue of parents having their favourites among the kids...

Could this be one of the reasons that other siblings go out to squat with friends, or even worse, end up on the streets.

Parents should desist from this bias as it is often the basis for the divisions among the offspring.

After all, every house has its toilet. You can be a high flyer, eating out at the trendiest restaurants in the ‘burbs, rubbing shoulders with the who’s who and sleeping in five-star hotels, but there comes a time when you need family. Nothing ever compares...your flesh and blood.

Let us take walks in the park on Sunday mornings. Let us hug each other. Let us keep each other in prayer. Friends are for the moment, family is a lifetime.

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