During the Yuletide, my family received some gifts ― both cash and kind ― from friends. Last year’s Christmas would remain one of the most memorable in our lives because even though what was gifted us may not cost a fortune, it left us with memories that are worth a fortune. It was a kind gesture that made us know we occupied a special place in the hearts of these friends.
We did not earn the gifts. We did not receive them because of something we did or did not do. Out of the many friends our friends had, they chose us for reasons best known only to them. It was a privilege, not our rights. We could not go back to them demanding for more.
A gift is a possession of ours that we did not work for. It is something we own that is actually not ours. We should feel blessed for having a gift because out of the many people who could have equally had it, we were chosen.
If you are gifted a car by a friend, it is not because you worked for it. It is not even because you deserved it. It may simply be because they identified a need in your life and may want to meet it. What we deserve becomes our rights. What we don’t deserve is our privilege. What we earn is our rights. What we are given is a privilege. That car is a privilege.
As we grow, society expects us to walk down the aisle. After finding one’s missing rib, the next big thing it looks out for is children. People begin to literally count days after the honeymoon. After a year without any bump, the questions begin to trickle in. After two years, more questions are asked. After many more years, they finally place labels on the couple, especially the women.
It is painful to see how much pressure is mounted on couples expecting children. All sorts of cures and solutions are proposed to them. From one herbal doctor (whose medicine can cure arthritis, malaria and barrenness at the same time) to a prophet (whose only aim is to extort money from a desperate couple), the woes of such couples are compounded day by day.
Society is often at the heels of childless couples. Some couples are chased to the extent of running into self-dug pits of death. They subscribe to every solution supposed well-wishers prescribe. Before they know, they have developed incurable diseases after taking immeasurable doses of ill standard drugs.
The world must come to understand that there are many gifts in this world. An example of a gift is the ability to bear children. Like every gift, children are given ― not earned. Just as gifts are not deserved, it only becomes a privilege for couples to have one after exchanging vows on the altar.
Imagine someone gifting you a house and you go around mocking others without shelter. Imagine walking barefooted and someone gifts you a pair of shoes. And then… you quickly run off to spite others who, like you, do not have any shoes. That is exactly how it looks like when we go about spiting people who are childless. This is a perfect illustration of what happens when we give those who are yet to have their own children unprintable names.
Never spite others with what was gifted you. If good sex were all it required to make babies, there would have been no childless couple on earth. If all one needed to have children of theirs was to have sex at the right time, there would have been no such word as childlessness.
Not everyone will have the gift of child bearing, try as much as they can. Just as not everyone will have the gift of singing, not all couples would be blessed with the gift of children. It is unfair, thus, if we push them, especially the women, to make child bearing a responsibility instead of privilege.
It is very common to see many mock others who don’t have any children of their own. Women are often the victims. Quite ironically, they are also often the culprits. When we are blessed with something we formerly did not have, we should be mindful of how we treat those who currently do not have same.
Gifts are not supposed to be for everyone. They are for a selected few. If we understand what gifts are, we will understand that not everyone will be able to have their own children. It is not because life is paying them for their past; neither is it because they are cursed. Life chooses who to gift what at every point in time!
Just because it was easy for you to bear children doesn’t mean it should be same for others. If others were to measure your life’s worth by the privileges they were endowed with, you would have looked worthless in your own eyes. In a similar vein, it is unjust if we write people off because they are deprived of the privileges we are blessed with.
A gift is your possession that is not your possession. A child is a gift and it is a great privilege to have one. We have children not because of something we did or did not do. We have them not because we are good people. Others lack them not because they are bad people. Before you look down on another because they lack this privilege, remember it could be you in their shoes.
We all are endowed with different gifts. Some may be endowed with the gift of wealth while others may have the gift of giving. Some are gifted with children while the gift of others is to create something out of nothing. Whatever your gift may be, don’t despise others. They may lack what we have for us to understand that gifts are given. They are not earned.
In our new play, Emergency Wedding, one of the many themes we explore is how society mounts needless pressure on childless couples, especially in the African setting. Don’t miss out!
By Kobina Ansah
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, an Accra-based writing company (www.scribecommltd.com). His new play, EMERGENCY WEDDING, shows on Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7, 2021 at National Theatre, Accra.