Family: The bedrock of the society; that unit we can do anything for; a group of people we can let our hair down with. They know all our quirks but love us anyway. Love them or hate them, we are stuck with them.

I have always wondered why some families seem like a jalopy car, trudging along, with its occupants too scared to get out of the vehicle and take a peek under the hood/bonnet. Perhaps, in fear that stopping to remedy it will cause the car not to start again. Instead, all the members in the family remain on board, burying their heads and ignoring the obvious tensions within.

ties that bind
We are scared to sever the ties that bind, and for good reason. We are frightened to resolve family conflict for fear that it will escalate and rip the family apart. We would rather keep honouring the ties of kinship for as long as possible.

Other times, we are just plain ol’ cowards; content to sit back and not upset the apple cart. Tensions are often more common in large families particularly where autocracy is practised, or a matriarch makes all the family decisions whether anyone likes it or not. This way, other members of the family feel relegated and oppressed their views unheard.

Truth be told, no matter how pragmatic a leader is, there will always be voices of dissent. However, effort should be made to ensure that people’s views are heard and respected even if not followed. Regular family meetings should be scheduled for this to occur and no one should have his/her wishes imposed on others, as much as is possible.

As family, we should also not take each other for granted, despite how easy it is to do so. Instead, we should respect each others’ views and be kind in our dealings. And this should not be restricted to the adults alone, even the children should have their say and their suggestions considered.

As the Yoruba adage goes: Ile-Ife (a great historical Yoruba town) was built by both the youths and the elderly.

May Allah grant us wisdom in all our affairs and strengthen our ties of kinship.

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