Some people love their children to death, literally

IT IS the measure of a big man to concede when he is wrong - and today I feel big.

IT IS the measure of a big man to concede when he is wrong - and today I feel big.

Readers of this column know how in the past I have consistently expressed displeasure with young yobs who think the world owes them a living.

I take back my words - just some of them, though - because I realise now that adults themselves often contribute hugely to turning their little ones into monsters.

And this is not a new phenomenon ... it is as old as the legendary mountains.

I remember, for example, a parent who was called to a school to help restrain her son, who was besotted with a teacher and kept on writing her love letters, professing his undying love.

The mother, instead of remonstrating with her young one, saw nothing wrong in his behaviour.

To her, her son was an ordinary "man" attracted to a woman and with the guts to tell her so. It did not matter to her that the woman was old enough to be the boy's mother.

Right there, in front of the boy and senior staff, she took sides with her son.

"There is no law that says you can't be proposed to. If you do not want to be proposed to, you must not walk in the streets," she said.

The meeting went nowhere, until the lovelorn boy gave up on his own.

At the risk of masquerading as a sociologist, I believe some parents fast-forward their children's growth. We have all seen toddlers barely able to walk resplendent in three-piece suits, Dobbs hats and sticker-soled shoes.

Or girls who get out of their nappies straight into two-piece costumes and wigs.

A street away from where I grew up there was a popular shebeen queen who was feared by clients and neighbours alike.

Word was that she made people defecate.

She had a son who was known to take pleasure in plunging a knife into anyone who crossed his path or those he wanted to rob.

When people complained, she would brazenly declare: "My child is not working. What must he live on? He is trying life."

But the classic was the case of a boy (call him Jabulani) whom I suspect I had written about some years back. My apologies if I had.

Jabulani often came to school drunk, and several attempts to reprimand him failed to help. The teachers gave up: they could not thrash or expel him (our government's doing). One Monday morning he came plastered and could hardly walk. Out of frustration the principal called his father to the school to see for himself.

Jabulani was called to the principal's office where his father was waiting.

It took two big boys to help him stay on his feet, hoisting him by his arms. When he entered the office, slurring and drooling, the father blurted out:

"Eish mfana! I have always told you never to drink hot stuff on Sunday. Just drink beers. Now look at you ..."

Turning to the bemused principal: "Meneer, another thing is this boy drinks on an empty stomach. Die laaitie wil nie eet nie ..."

Some love their children to death.