When I was 10 years old, I wrote a love letter to a boy. Here’s what happened. I was just there minding my own business. I wasn’t really thinking about boys. Puberty was around the corner but it hadn’t arrived just yet. Then a girl, let’s call her Peace, that my parents were taking care of and was staying at home convinced me that a certain boy, Rogers, who lived in the neighborhood liked me.
With that, she poked puberty with a stick and nudged it toward me. So I decided to write a letter to Rogers. I wrote it at night, under a kerosene lamp, and before going to bed, I hid it in my little brother’s shoe. In the morning I went about my routine; I prepared for school and left with the intention to have the letter delivered in the evening.
When I returned home, my dad called me to his bedroom and asked me to close the door. Strange as it was, I obliged and quickly dived and sat on the bed. He pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket. As soon as he opened it, it dawned on me that it was the letter I had written the previous night. Unbeknownst to me when my brother found the letter, he took it straight to my dad like the proper eight year old snitch that he was. Dad asked me if I had ever seen the letter and at this point I don’t remember if I responded in affirmative or otherwise. My heart was beating so loud and racing so fast that Usain Ubolt wouldn’t have been able to compete. I couldn’t hear myself think.
We read the letter together. This was torturous, and the fact that I had written it in Rukiga made everything feel much worse. I had told Rogers that he should come around and we talk but that he should first ask me whether or not my dad is around. With every word we read, I just felt myself shrink. Dad then explained to me that it was bad to write letters to boys and that he was going to cane me, among other punishments. He folded the letter, calmly put it back in his pocket and asked me to lie down.
Twenty-eight years later, I can confidently say that after the 15th stripe, I stopped feeling my body. I limped out of my parents’ bedroom. My mum was away giving birth to our last born and so my next task after healing was to make sure that she didn’t land on the letter. I managed to steal it from my dad’s closet and spared myself from having pans, sandals, cups flying over my head.
I always tell people that God blessed me with loving parents. They disciplined us but they demonstrated love towards us even more. The word of God in Provers 13:24 says that ‘He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him [e]promptly’. And it’s because of their love that I’m still here today writing this blog.
Growing up with loving parents is Jesus’ way of making sure that I laugh in a Benz.