Many of the “stall holders” on Koinange Street are university students, at least that is what I hear from those “in the know”. How things have changed.
That profession used to be solely for the uneducated girl who needed to make ends meet, one with beauty but no brains, one whose mother never told her that good girls do not “multi-task”.
So, if it is indeed true that they are university students, then there is a problem.
What would make a girl who clearly has a good brain, who is only an interview away from being employed and becoming a power-girl, resort to backstreet ways of making money?
Most university students are teenagers or just past their teenage, a group that does nothing but the opposite of what is expected of them.
It is easy to say that they do not listen to their parents, but do parents say anything to them in the first place?
Many young adults in universities are experiencing freedom for the first time, away from the hawk-eyed watch of their parents.
They are pushing the boundaries just to see how far they can go. Unfortunately, few win against that lifestyle.
They might come out physically unscathed, but because society says loose women are bad people, they subconsciously listen to society and reject themselves, which then makes everybody else do the same.
Is there something we could do to shield our baby girls from this kind of life? Probably not, but we could try; it is all we can do as parents.
But in helping to shield them, we will need to get out of our comfort zones, we will need to forget how WE were brought up because things are a lot different and children are much more exposed, and from an early age.
We will need to forget phrases like “because I say so” or “because I am your parent”. To some people, this might look unorthodox, but it might be one of the few things we could do to save the next generation of mothers.
If you have a teenager daughter and she starts looking even slightly interested in boys, take her out on a coffee date and talk about boys, exhaustively.
She might pretend not to hear you, roll her eyes and be embarrassed, but talk to her bare-knuckle style. Get a trusted male relative to talk about stuff boys do and what they say or think about girls who give in.
Let her go out at night, but never with strange boys, only with older cousins or brothers who will keep an eye on her.
Should she taste alcohol? Yes. You will have to be a parent of a very rare breed of children if they never want to taste alcohol.
You do not have to be a drinker, you do not have to stock drinks in the fridge, you only have to have curious children who will give in to curiosity.
Better they taste it under your supervision — the fact that you seem to “approve” of it will stop it from being that exciting. Reverse psychology.
Then there is the ever contentious issue of money; to give or not to give? My take, give. Girls must always have money in their pockets, but not too much that they do not know what to do with it and, therefore, start experiencing with illegal stuff.
But if you do not give them money, they will surely find a way to get it. Do you really want to go there?
However, the value of money must be taught — they must work for their money, even if it means polishing shoes for everyone in the family. They must not think money grows on trees.
Remember, it is important not to paint sex as a demonic or shameful act because it really is not. Eventually, you want your girls, when they are good and ready, to have healthy sexual relationships with their husbands.
You do not want them to spend the better part of their adult lives visiting shrinks because you told them that only bad girls enjoy sex. This is layman’s advice that does not involve any research or study.
It does not come with any sort of guarantee, but I bet it works better than burying our heads in the sand and pretending that our children will survive the big bad world unscathed without our help.