Raising boys can be tough, Power FM and TV presenter, Masechaba Lekalake talks us through raising men with her sons, Lungelo (five) and King Itumeleng (one).
Not inclusive; it’s exclusive because ultimately we are raising these young ones to lead us forward. As parents we have a huge responsibility to raise our kids for the benefit of the future of our country.
What are you doing to make sure your boys grow up and be responsible men?
I am very passionate about this particular side of parenting; for me it’s all about raising kids who are well balanced, loving, respectful and who also know that their possibilities are endless. I want to instil a sense of discipline but also to love them like crazy, I am very affectionate with them. I always hug and kiss my boys in the hope that this will shape them into responsible men.
How important is preserving your children’s mother tongue?
We don’t speak English in my household. It’s strictly Sesotho and isiZulu. My oldest son, Lungelo is Nguni so he speaks Zulu to me, he only learnt English when he went to school. As a family we spent seven years in America before moving back to SA in 1995. My parents did their military training in the former Soviet Union. I can speak seSotho fluently. My father was very strict about language and insisted we speak seSotho in the house. The only way to retain our culture is to retain our language.
What kind of relationship do you want to have with your boys when they are older?
I’d love for my sons to know that they can be comfortable with whoever they want to be. With our generation’s parents and how they raised us, we can’t really be who we are around them as we were taught to act a certain way around them out of respect. And so I am trying to break that generational curse. I want my sons to know that they can be vocal about their feelings around me but obviously in a respectful way. I also want them to tell me if I’m getting the parenting thing wrong or anything on their mind for that matter.
How do you spend quality time with your kids?
Doing absolutely nothing. Sometimes as parents we think that kids want toys when all they want is to spend time with us. I spend quality time with my kid’s by being present, not just being physically there. As busy parents, we tend to be on our phone or laptops when our child is trying to communicate with us. I would rather stay late at work so that I know when I get home, I am free to be with my children.
How do you balance masculinity and expressing emotions with Lungelo and King Itumeleng?
I celebrate men who are open about their feelings, because I believe it takes a real man to be vulnerable. We need to tell men that its okay to talk about their feelings.. They say that men don’t cry tears but they cry bullets, which I believe is not the truth. We need to stop the trend of men retreating when they should be coming out of their shells. So I’m teaching my boys to always communicate their feelings and emotions. I allow them to cry, but not for too long. Cry, but buck up and put your big boy pants on and keep it moving.