October 22, 2018 by Kgalalelo
The year is flying so quickly and soon it will be Christmas, the best time of the year for me. I love Christmas and watching Christmas movies on television, they really do the trick for me by putting me in the spirit. I’m not sure how it feels like to celebrate Christmas in winter because December to February is summer in South Africa and it becomes really hot. The temperature in some parts of the country go to as high as 40°C. This is also the season for weddings and all kinds of events and activities. My wedding was on the 10th December and the weather was perfect. It’s a period of joy and excitement for most people; the energy just feels differently good.
Anyway, I was invited to the mother and daughter tea on the Saturday that has just passed. It was the 100-year celebration of the formation of the Brownies movement and so, took both my daughters to the event since my youngest, who is eight, is a Brownie at school. I never knew about Brownies until I had my kids in school. My eldest daughter who is now eleven, never showed any interest of becoming a Brownie when she was in Grade Two. That is the period they are allowed to join until they are in Grade Four. I never tried to learn anything about Brownies as a result, what they are all about and what they do. It was only at the beginning of this year when my youngest insisted that I sign the letter from school allowing her to participate that I began taking interest. Brownies are basically, the younger version of the Girl Guides.
I knew about the girl guides and boy scouts when I was young in school. Those who were in the clubs used to go camping and taught different skills like making fire and cooking in the bush. The weird part was that my cousin who lived in one of the villages in Mahikeng where I grew up was a girl guide and most of her friends whereas some of us who lived in the urban areas didn’t have clubs where we lived. I wasn’t sure why there were never clubs in the urban areas or perhaps, I didn’t know about them. I got all the information about the activities from my cousin, that’s how I got to learn something about what the girl guides did.
The Brownies on the other hand, are aged between 7-10, they are the younger ones. My daughter goes to Brownies usually on Tuesday after classes. I’m so glad it is an activity that is part of the school activities and takes place within the school premises. She prides herself with her navy shorts, white shirt and yellow scarf Brownie uniform that she packs herself every Monday afternoon when she returns home from school. She has a checklist in her room of all the things she needs to pack in the sports bag to prepare for Brownies which I like. It teaches her how to be organised and hopefully, that would spill in all activities both at school and at home.
We had to be at the function at 9:45 and so left home at 9:30 since the venue was at another school not far away from our home. There were other schools that were invited as well and it was wonderful to interact with other mothers and spend the morning with our kids. They were all excited to see each other in their Brownie uniform and had prepared singing items for the parents. We had two fathers in our midst too, who had come with their daughters and they were formally recognised by the master of ceremonies which I found virtuous. It could be that the mothers were engaged elsewhere or not present in their children’s lives and the dads played an amazing role.
We got a full power-point presentation of how the movement began and a showcase of the evolution of the Brownie uniform and the different tunics worn in different countries. It is a worldwide movement and we learnt a few things that our girls are taught at the club. They work towards badges by performing activities and assignments like scrapbooking. It’s a way of adding fun in the kids’ schooling and I must say I appreciate it. I never participated in a lot of things when I was in school because there were less activities to participate in. We had the usual things, athletics at the beginning of the year and netball and I was not good at either.
It was only in high school that I joined a dance group inspired by the dance moves from the movie and stage play, Sarafina. I loved high school as I partook in something that I loved and enjoyed and everyday after school we would go for rehearsal. We performed at the local dance competitions and entertained at the high school beauty contents. Those were some of the best days of my schooling years and I would love that my kids should also do things that they love. When you love something, you do it with your whole heart. It doesn’t feel like work but it becomes effortless. I never enjoyed dragging myself to do anything except well, my studies. That was a must, whether I liked it or not, I had to study and that’s how it should be with every learner.
I understand sometimes the question ‘if you had to live your life again and do things differently, what would you do?’. It is only when we look back that we often feel we could have done things differently in our lives by sometimes watching our children. Most of us wish we could give our children the things that we didn’t have and some of us even try harder to push our kids into things that they don’t even like. I think I would have participated in school plays as well. It was something I liked but fear kept me away as well as shyness. Just before the school closed for the third term at the end of September, we were invited to the school concert and it was intertwined with plays to break the monotony and watching those kids stage playing Snow White as well as the Three Little Pigs, I was proud as I saw something I wish I did but never gave myself the opportunity to, at school.
Every year shortly after Easter, we celebrated Ascension Day which commemorates the day Jesus Christ ascended to heaven. It would be the morning of activities at school, performances from different classes, singing choruses and roleplaying stories from the Bible. I would sit in the audience watching and loving it all, the courage others had was remarkable and that is exactly what I would do, if I had to turn back the clock. I would choose with courage the things that I loved, just like my daughter chose Brownies and swimming. Though both of them swim, the little one has the competitive spirit, she insists on participating in the school swimming gala every year and she enjoys every minute of it. I asked my husband what he would do if he had to turn back the time and I knew that he would say play soccer and look for opportunities to play for the national clubs. He prides himself about the skill he had when he was younger. I have seen him play and soccer has always been his love.
We all have missed opportunities, not because we didn’t want to but rather didn’t know how. There were many other challenges on the way, strict parents, finances, location and so forth. We therefore live some of the things through our children. What we didn’t have, we ensure that they have. It is good to live life with no regrets. I never asked my parents what they wish they could have done when they were younger. I’m certain they too had dreams and things they wish they did but didn’t or couldn’t. The problem is that we walk our paths with blindfolds sometimes just trying to get through the day. There are those who recognise at an early age what they love and follow it but not everyone is that fortunate. We reminisce of the time we had and wasted, we brood over lost opportunities, places we wish we could have seen but couldn’t for any other reason. The funny thing is that even the things that we are able to do we often don’t, we make excuses and later on blame someone or even God.
I love school activities and every opportunity I get to see my children participate in something good, I avail myself. Cease every opportunity in your life because time passed can never be recovered. Seek counsel from God to direct you since His ways are accurate and with Him, there’s no way you can miss anything. Pray for your children too that God may direct them and give them wisdom to make the right decisions in life. Pray that they may be inspired and that God may reveal His Will in their lives while they are still young and in everything, give thanks.
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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