Wah Sweet Nanny Goat

Wah Sweet Nanny Goat a go run him belly…. The popular Jamaican proverb is one that Jamaicans can recall being told,  as we’ve heard it said many times by our relatives whenever we do things that they don’t approve of.  The proverb when translated means  that the things that seem fine to you now can hurt you later. This plays provides a great example of why we should be careful of the choices we make in life.

Being a patron of the play was a memorable experience and as a cultural enthusiast this was another play that highlighted the societal problems Jamaicans are exposed to.  Teenage pregnancy, statuary rape and single parent households. A stereotypical factor that is attributed to persons from low socioeconomic households and children that are considered troubled.

However, many of us while living this life never take into consideration that some of these issues can ever happen to us. This perception was what we were first introduced to  when Janet, Angel’s mother was in dialogue with a church sister about a child in the church who got pregnant while still in high school. Like any parent who is lucky that their children is not associated with that “mix up”. She begins to talk negative things and swear that her Angel would never do something like that.

With the introduction of Dainty (Angel’s aunt), we begin to have a better understanding of how the household is run as there is no presence of a father; here one may begin to question his absence. As the play progresses, we see the life of Janet’s sweet Angel play out, after convincing her mother that she is the sweet daughter that she raised her to be (even though her aunt doesn’t buy it). At school, that persona is nonexistent and this is where she meets her friend Prada who like her is all for the hype. Unfortunately, she’s not too bright but compliments the personality of Angel; what Angel lacks in street smart, Prada has the answers.

The relationship between Tyrone and Angel to the audience leaves us in dismay and disgust as we know what the end result will be between the two. He fills her mind with all the things she wants hear to get what he wants in return. Many of us whether directly or indirectly have been exposed to that situation where someone enters our life giving us hope that there is  indeed love. At times we may notice things and speak up, but we are greeted with lies to cover the truth.  In the end we are left hurt; some of us are able to move on while others remain in the same spot for years. This latter reaction at times promotes a cycle where more men and women are victims to these perpetrators.

The irony of the relationship between Angel, Tyrone and Prada makes you attentive to see what the next action in the play would be. Though the two girls both aim to live the high life; Prada though not as smart as Angel was the only person who was able to question the actions of Tyrone.  Hoping that Angel would notice that maybe he was not the one for her. Unfortunately she was blinded by the need to secure her relationship with Tyrone, who was already in a relationship with his “wife”. She was unwilling to entertain the idea of the truth.

Tyrone’s reaction to her pregnancy was evidence of the lie that she was living . Many times we meet people in our life whose only intention is to abuse us and feel no remorse as they are only trying to fulfill their own needs. Totally oblivious to the mental, emotional and physical abuse that the victims may face in these experiences. The unfortunate result of this treatment is that they go around and do this to other persons increasing their body counts of the damaged people living in our society.

In the play,  Fabian Barracks captured the range of emotions that came when Angel had to reveal to her mother that she was pregnant. The dimly lit room with Janet dressed in black like the grim reaper, hearing the background music as the anticipation builds.  Your heart is torn in two when you watch as Janet’s façade as the uptight and prim church woman disappears and disowns her daughter. This reaction can be expected, as we can imagine she boasts about the progress her daughter has made as she unconsciously lives her life through her. Angel getting pregnant is Janet loosing her dreams.

Later on we learn that Angel is literally Janet in her younger days as she herself was a teenager who was tricked by a “jokester”. Janet tried to run from her past and created a new one to make things better. By extension she tried to create a new life through her child.

From this revelation we learned that to start the healing process, we must forgive those who have hurt us and make life better for ourselves.Though we are trying to better ourselves we should forgive but not forget.

We should use our experiences to ensure that we do not allow for others to be hurt the same way that we received that hurt. Forgetting or running from it is never the best option, as it tends to find us and the repercussions may be worse that the first time we were exposed to the problem.

All in all, the play was worth the money spent and I say congratulations to the playwright Fabian Barracks (Charter President for the Royal Optimist Club of Kingston) for the work he produced and I wait patiently for the other story that he will create soon.

 

 

The Beaten’s Perspective

Many of us have had the touch of the leather belt on our skins because of the trouble we gave when we were younger. Some with a different level of trouble got the shoes, broom, fan belt, metre stick and even the wire. At the end of the day, we all turned out pretty good, we can can laugh at the moments in which we got it, what we tried to do to avoid it and what our parents did to get us to stay put an ‘tek lick’.

One of the effects is when we see younger siblings or relatives acting up, we the third party are offended at the responses and actions they let out. As we have always been told don’t spare the rod and spoil the child (the phrase was actually coined by Samuel Butler in 1664 in one of his poems).

Unfortunately, there are those who with those beatings got bruised, and abused in the process. This should not be the case as the repercussions of such acts do not help with nurturing the child to be better individuals. Many persons would argue that corporal punishment is not the way to go and that it should be ruled out of the nurturing process. Yes, you can always talk to your child and tell them that what they are doing or did was wrong and expect that from the negotiations things will change. Granted this does not include children who may have a mental dysfunction and would not understand at the moment the change you are trying to instill. This is for the children who are quite normal but are just rude.

So…. what do you do is when you reprimand your child or relative, and he/she still doesn’t get it?

Believe me, that first slap you give the child will have them shocked as they never expected it. Let’s be real, we do test our parents to know their limit. However there is a certain way to achieve this; if successful, each parent knows their child and knows the effect of some acts. “Just save the yeye” as many Jamaican parents would say.

As an older sibling and former beaten child, I believe these steps below can help to better nurture your kids in the way you want. In the end creating positive results than negative ones.

Step 1- Educate them

It’s always good before they act up to let them know where you stand on certain things. For example, if you are going to be on the road and know your budget cannot include KFC or Burger King. Tell them. Let there be that initial understanding that you will not be able to fulfill their needs at all times.

Step 2- Warn them

When that child begins to act up, warn them. Remind them that you are not able to buy the food and that you can get something else. If they continue then you let them know what will happen if they don’t stop. If the complaints still have not ceased, then you warn again.

Step 3- Administer the Punishment 

If they still continue this is it… you go in and just do it, don’t say I’m going to slap you now. Just do it.

Step 4- Debrief

After the act, this is the time, you sit with your child and let them know that what happened was because the act they did was bad. We are all human and at times we mess up. However, create that distinction between good and bad behaviour and also when beatings can be expected. This can then lessen the likelihood of you having to raise your hand.

Each child is different and once you share the same space with them,  you will then know how to treat each child accordingly. The steps mentioned above may not work all the time. However it should not allow for your frustrations to come through and you beat the child to a pulp.