-The Key Palaver

Must Read: The Key Palaver… Part 14

If You Missed The Part 13, Read It Here

John gently raised his head when dad walked into his room. He had been sleeping but was already away minutes before dad entered. To dad, he looked like someone who was tired of life. That wasn’t a welcomed development for dad.

John slowly sat up as da entered, looking at him suspiciously. He couldn’t understand why dad was in his room. But dad wasn’t looking angry and that helped calm him down a bit.

Dad sat down beside him, an awkward moment of silence lingered. Dad couldn’t help but stare at John’s childhood picture on mini drawer beside John’s bed.

He stretched his hand and picked it up, looked at it, smiled slightly and dropped it back.
“You know I attempted smoking when I was quite young.” Dad was gentle, John listened. “I really didn’t want to do it, but then, my friends would think that I was too dull and wouldn’t want me to continue to be their friends again. I wanted them to like me. I was so young and inexperienced and my need to belong misled me into putting up with the wrong friends. But then my grades began to depreciate and luckily for me one of my teachers called me to order. He made me realize that I was following the wrong path and I knew that my dad would be very disappointed in me if I didn’t change.

Do you know that most of those boys were expelled? Some destroyed their bright future just for a few minutes of satisfaction. I even heard one of them became addicted to drugs and is presently in a psychiatric home now.”

John shifted uncomfortably on the bed.

“And if I hadn’t changed from bad ways, I wouldn’t have been able to have a wonderful family and even be able to carter for them.” He stopped and stared directly at John “Why did you do it son?”

John looked up into dad’s face in confusion. He didn’t answer the question.

Then in a very soft tone, “Why did you make the choice to start smoking at a very young age?”

“I… I don’t know dad. My friends were doing it and… just like you, I wouldn’t be their friends if I didn’t join them.” John stammered.

“But didn’t you know it was wrong?”

“I… I knew it was wrong dad but… I didn’t have anybody to talk to. I was afraid of losing my friends and doing it felt right even though I knew it was wrong. I couldn’t talk to you or mum and my teachers are always mean; I couldn’t possibly talk to them without getting my friends into trouble.”

Dad sighed “I am really sorry son for not being there for you. But always remember that there must come a time when you must make decisions on your own even without the presence of a guardian. You must know how to make the right decision for the sake of those you love and those who love you, the fact that you are just 14years old does not mean you should not be wise in making tough choices”

“I am 16 dad,” John injected, but with a smile. He was already overwhelmed with the way dad was talking to him.

“Sixteen? Wow!” dad was really surprised. When did you get to sixteen? My little boy is almost a man,” he said, hitting John lightly on the head. “But seriously, you must learn not to be afraid of your friends leaving you and most importantly, you must learn not to be afraid of making the right decision.”

“But how do I know I am making the right decision dad?” John asked with a childish innocence written all over his face.

Dad saw it and felt worse. How had he allowed this young man wonder off all alone? “We all have conscience son and we always know when we make the right choice. And if you are confused about making any choice, come to talk to me.”

“But you are always at work dad.”

“I promise you that as from today I will always be there for you to talk to. Don’t worry about my work; I will work out something that will be fair to every one of us.”

“Thanks dad,” John said, he was deeply glad.

Dad stood up and stared at him for some time, “You know I can’t believe how big you have grown. Just yesterday you were my little boy and it hurts me to realize that I have missed out thought out your period of transiting into a man.”

John smiled sheepishly.

“I know at this stage in life you are filled with so much energy and excitement about finding out much about you and the world at large. You are filled with so much curiosity and you will want to do everything and feel like an adult. But remember that you must be responsible to make the right decision and be mindful of the information you get, how you get them and what you do with them. Do you have a girlfriend?”

John looked sharply at dad, “No”

Dad regarded him for a while, wondering what he was doing with a sachet of condom.

“Girls don’t like me and I am scared of talking to them” John found himself saying.

“That’s not true; you are a very handsome young man. You see, girls like intelligent and confident men. That’s why you must concentrate on your studies and build your self confidence as you discover your strengths. All these you can’t achieve by missing classes. You must be focused and know what you want. And by the time you know it you will have as many girls as you want. But you must realize that for you to indulge into sexual relationship you must be matured and responsible. You are way too young to even start thinking about that. Right now your only priorities are your studies.

If your friends can’t accept this decision then you leave them. People will respect you more when you make the right choices always; you are only a fool when you always make wrong choices. Thank God you were even thinking of protection, but can you handle the consequences? No. it will only succeed in distracting you from your studies.” Dad preached.

“I am sorry dad,”

“I want to trust to make the right decision and talk to me when you are confused. I want you to promise me that you will concentrate more on your studies and make better grades this term. Will you do that?”

“Yes dad, I promise,”

Dad stood up. “On your own, you must know how to handle your friends. I won’t follow you to school to stop you from being their friend, but you must know what to do to make you a better person from now on. No more smoking, no thinking about sex and always study your books.”

“Yes dad”

“I believe we are all starting afresh. Please do not disappoint me.”

“I won’t dad.”

Dad walked out of the room leaving John feeling more relieved than ever.


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