USING AWARENESS TO DISRUPT UNFAVOURABLE CULTURAL NORMS

USING AWARENESS TO DISRUPT UNFAVOURABLE CULTURAL NORMS
May 29, 2018 Joy Iseki

We live in a part of the world here in Nigeria where we deny that many things exists, or can be practiced, just because a lot of these acts are being done privately. We deny that our people can be depressed. Or even experience passion for same gender. We refuse to accept that our children are being molested, or that they could even be drug addicts. And in this similar attitude, so many people deny that they may need to learn how to accept themselves, or embrace the practice of self-awareness. To them, these are alien to our culture.

“Our forefathers survived not knowing these things!” They claimed. They think that those things are western headaches.

Oh, so much of the intentional ignorance!!

You see, for every denial of an obvious cause, there is always the consequential price to pay for the effect. People are ranting about the upscale in the records of divorces in our society these days, and the many other vices increasing in our environment daily, which were once perceived as alien to our society. But they leave it there in the books of Lamentations! Tell them the root cause, and they’d say “no, it’s not so here, we are not like the westerners!”

With all these denials comes the consequences of the many causes we now have to live with as an epidemic, whose leaven is gradually moving into almost all facets of our very own being, exposing the underlying truth we’d rather not admit. Sad.

It is for these reasons I am a crusader for us embracing the practice of self-awareness, especially in addressing those issues around our cultural beliefs which are not beneficial to us in the long term. Sometimes I wonder why we think a cultural practice cannot be changed? We forget that someone once started some of these things we now call “our culture.” It might have benefited the starters in their time. This is a different time, some practices may no longer be useful in the same way it used to be then.

Since we are becoming more aware of some of the cultural norms that aren’t working, what stops us from refraining from them, at least in our own family life, first? Aren’t you aware that with every new marriage is the opportunity to break from the norm and start afresh some now culture? Or you haven’t thought of your own family culture? You should.

Every new home is a new clime for some new breed of beings who have never walked this face of the earth, prior. You can mold your kids in the ways of life you now consider better than how you were raised. This is the power of being aware.

Take for instance the subtle practice of the male child being superior to the female child, and how this affected many families in the way responsibilities were shared at the home front as children growing up. For most of us born in the 80s and early 90s, it was almost vain for boys to do anything in the home, except to go out playing with other boys in the neighborhood, while the girls worked their hands off till fall.

I remember one time I had shared some chores for my nephew and he told me that washing the dishes was a girl’s duty. Imagine! That made me more conscious to add his name in equal measures to almost all chores in the house. Because I knew right there that if nothing was done to address that mindset he already shared, it may be very difficult getting him to do many other things much later in life. This could deny him the lessons taking responsibility to do the cleanup can teach him, practically.

Where am I going with this?

The results of giving more works to the girls have caused a disproportionate show of responsibilities later in their adult lives, with some of the boys, now men, having the mindset of being served even in their homes, while their wives slave it out with all the home works, even after arriving from similar office works.

Unfortunately, unlike our mothers who were too afraid to speak out to this unfair treatment, the 21st century women won’t allow this formula to reign in peace anymore, resulting in more conflicts in marriages, and an increase in domestic violence being recorded almost on daily basis, with both gender as victims, in almost equal measure.

Now here’s where awareness comes in.

Since we’ve realized how time has changed, continuing in this regard with our new families will be detrimental in the long haul. Our best bets is in taking a look at these practices and then finding the new way to approach these similar issues as it relates to the modern way of life.

But if we continue with the saying about how our forefathers always had it the other way, and were fine with it, and so we deny that we need to do something about it, then we all should have to live with the results.

Awareness is therefore a great tool of change when applied in the areas where it’s been deemed necessary.

The Nigerian society is already evolving, even though at a snail pace. We cannot, and we should not leave things as they’ve always been.

We may have to make the necessary changes to some old cultural norms we’ve always had and also make these strategic changes at the root of the many things we currently face in order to help us disrupt, rather favourably, the recent effects we are experiencing. This is applicable in almost all areas, including the political governance space: starting with self first, then our family.

I was in an online class quite recently where a friend of mine happened to be the facilitator of a session. His topic was a rather sober one where he talked about a message very touching. He shared on the need for our men to now rise up and mentor our boys. You should have seen the sordid experiences of issues bothering our boys, and it seemed to me, though  unfortunately, that the fathers who are supposed to mentor them have taken an eternal sabbatical leave from their duties. Where are the fathers?

Awareness shouldn’t be left at the observation phase, alone. Awareness should lead to a call for change, for action and for a movement. If you do nothing about the knowledge awareness exposes you to, you risk having more complications around that area, because you can no longer give the excuse of ignorance. This is what’s happening at this point in our society.

We can as a society, change the many ways we’ve always done some things that weren’t beneficial to our ways of life. Maybe not in the general assembly, but first in our lives, and then with our families. The children we raise with our informed knowledge could help us disrupt the norm through the influence they can have on their peers, and those ones in turn on their families, and the branches grow wilder this way until the entire nation is embraced with our new empowering belief system.

The change you are able to make through your practice of self-awareness can eventually impact nations. It starts with taking the responsibility to lead.

In my new book, BECOMING, I discussed in depth about awareness and the many ways we make use of it for our personal transformation. You should get a copy here by clicking on the books tab section, or buy from Amazon.

For further discussion, questions, speaking engagements, or personal coaching experience on this topic, or to book counselling sessions, please send mail to thecounsellor@gmail.com, or info@joyiseki.com.

To your evolving life.

Joy Iseki

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