When The Rainbow Is No Longer Just A Promise
One morning, a few weeks ago, whilst sitting in traffic, hoping to make it in time work as well as drop the children off at school in good time, my daughter squealed in excitement because she had seen a rainbow. Her excitement was contagious and somehow, a conversation developed from seeing this rainbow. It went like this:
Fi: Mummy, its a rainbow
Me: Yes it is
Fi: Do you know how a rainbow is formed?
Me: (sensing a mad-science-club-show off about to start, I let her… ) No, how is one formed, dear?
Fi: Mummyyyyy (read: mummy don’t you know anything?) Rainbows are formed after the rain has come down and the sun shines. the sun and the rain then combine to form the beautiful colours. (she then burst into Barney’s Rainbow Song, to which I roll my eyes and join in).
Me: Gosh, I wish this traffic would just move joh
Fi: (Still on the matter) Mummy, so you don’t know anything about rainbows. Ha! Mummyyyy …(read: Mummy REALLY doesn’t know anything)
Me: Of course, I know about rainbows. Okay let me ask you one rainbow question. (payback time) What is the significance of a rainbow?
Me: Do you know why rainbows were made by God?
Me: Rainbows were sent by God as a promise that he would never ever wipe the world with a flood. Referring her back to the Bible Stories which I grew up on and which I still believe in so strongly.
Fi: Really? Why did he have to make this Promise?
So, we went into a mini Bible Session and I told her the Noah Story and all the lessons that went with it. She quite enjoyed the stories and from the interaction and I was happy when I realised she understood it.
Recently, I have begun to wonder if as a parent, I have done the right thing. Have I encouraged my child to live in a bubble, albeit a Bible induced one or have I dodged from preparing her for the realities of a life that she is sure to face? The reason for this thought process is that the rainbow which used to mean only one thing – a symbol of God’s promise to the world now has other meanings. The rainbow is also the symbol of the LGBT – the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community.
To be fair, this flag is nothing new, it predates myself and my daughter. Originally designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker, an artist in San Francisco, the flag comprises of various colours, each having its own symbolism. However, at no time did this flag have a greater importance than a few weeks ago when the White House was lit up in those colours to celebrate America’s Supreme Court’s Ruling in favour of Same Sex Marriages.
As we all know the world watches America and its ideologies, and as I often say if America sneezes, the rest of the world would catch a cold. So, do I think this would catch on and be copied by other nations? Yes. In fact, Mozambique has become the first African country to legalise same sex unions in Africa. This was done only after that of the United States. Copycat? I really do not know, you be the judge.
Do I think this would catch on in Nigeria, where I live at the moment? Truthfully, I’m not so sure. I’m not sure because I am aware that in 2013, 92% of Nigerians supported theAnti-Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, but as at last Tuesday, that figure had dropped to 87%. Some would imagine that it isn’t a huge population in favour of them or that the difference is marginal but just do the maths – that is 13% of 170 million people. It gets more interesting when you recall that Google once reported that Nigeria has the second highest number of users who search for gay porn worldwide. So, to be realistic, there is a disconnect between what fascinates us behind closed doors and what we fill in our opinion polls. A disconnect which we are not paying attention to.
Beyond the disconnect however, is the realisation that many people quite honestly do not care – with good reason too. Living here is hard enough without having to worry about another person’s sexual orientation, however, would children understand that a lesson in reality was omitted because mummy and daddy had a hard day at work? In addition to this, I do know that here, indifference often precedes acceptance. After all, I just saw a blackberry update that said “I fully support any kind of marriage, as long as it does not involve me”. As they say, na from clap dance dey take start.
Perhaps I would not be so worried about this growing phenomena if the movement for all things different (as I choose to call them) were as understanding of my views as they want me to be of theirs. For me, it is a foreign concept, one that I cannot understand and therefore find very hard to teach to my child. Please do not take away my right to say that I do not get it or that it does not feel right to me.
It seems that now, more than ever we are fighting a war against ‘normalcy’. Yes, in today’s world normal has to be in inverted commas. This is because its limits have been pushed so far that there almost isn’t a normal anymore. After all, these days the contest is more focused on who defines normal? This has overridden the importance of the concept of normalcy itself. The keen competition between people of all orientations to become legally accepted has put our world in a very fragile place. So, should we bother with our religious leanings or just teach our children at an early age to read, understand and accept the Constitutions without sparing a thought for a Superior Being?
Would we one day not also celebrate pedophilia? I hear they have also begun to advance their cause to be seen as a sexual orientation of choice in America too, and pregnant men – yes, a hashtag #Transpregnancy trended on Friday where trangenders are advocating that though they have decided on being men, it is okay for them to carry babies in their wombs. One day, at this rate, I would have to explain to my kids why their father should not carry a pregnancy too. Now, that thought is scary.
So, what story do we tell our children in these rapidly changing times? How do you as a parent distinguish between the rapidly blurring lines? Do you educate them earlier on and risk taking their innocence away or save it for a little later when it might be too late or perhaps we should all tow the line of indifference and see what side the coin falls onto. Are you going to be right to teach your children about morality in a world that frowns at it? After all at the end of the day, as a parent, you are preparing your child for a real world, these little butterflies should not be shielded in the cocoons forever, they should be allowed to fly.
So, how do you teach them to fly? I kid you not when I say I am confused because I cannot feign indifference, I want to be true to my story, my background and my understanding. However, it is a big, big world out there. Today, Madam TNV is officially confused.
Have you also had similar concerns, have you had to deal with the questions? How did this news of the legalisation of same sex unions affect you? Were you indifferent or worried? How do we cope in these times when gay does not only mean happy and the rainbow is not just a promise? What do you think our next move should be because believe it or not, the other child counts. I’ve had my say, yes, it is confused but I would love to hear your views so, over to you, the verdict is yours…