There are a lot of things our Jamaican parents would do or say that made us grumble in a very low voice – “under our breath” – because let’s face it, that was the only way we could be a little sassy and get away with it. And even so, a lot of the time they hear us, I think in anticipation that we would talk back because that was what they did in their younger days.
So it seems there are certain aspects of parenting that pass down from generation to generation, so as the younger generations become parents themselves, they adopt these traits. Though not always the best, these parenting characteristics, make it very easy to readily identify Jamaican parenting.
1. Water / Light: Constantly having to argue about turning the lights off and conserving the water to prevent high utility bills may be the most adaptive trait of parenting. While you were younger and without responsibilities, you may have seen this as trivial but once you start paying JPS (light) and the National Water Commission, your take on this takes a 180 turn.
2.“ Pass di remote fi me” – most youngsters growing up hated hearing this. Why? Because 9 out of 10 times the remote is within reach of the adult and they may just need to sit up on the sofa or stretch to the tv to get it. Are you already asking your child to pass the remote because you are too lazy to get up?
3. A reminder of who is in charge – while in meting out discipline to your child(ren), do you find yourself reminding them that you are the parent and is in charge? Is “me a di only man/woman in ya’ or “me bring you yah and me wil tek you out” familiar phrase while reprimanding your child?
4. Put up di food and wash up di two likkle plates – putting away food after cooking is a must in a Jamaican household, so to prevent the food from spoiling. What is also a must is that the “few” plates in the sink (usually a whole sink load) needed to be washed before bed time. Is this a practice you take on in your household now?
5. Waiting for another person to get up and go to the kitchen to ask them to bring something for you – a lot of us are guilty of sitting down and wanting something to drink or eat but are too lazy to get up and get it for ourselves, so we wait on another person to get then ask “bring a glass of water for me” or “pass the snack I was eating, on the kitchen counter”.
6. Not wasting food – throwing away or wasting food in a Jamaican household was never acceptable. “Yuh betta clean yuh plate” with a belt idling close by was a very popular fright tactic, followed by a profound lecture of children elsewhere starving and haven’t eaten in days. Does this sound familiar to you?
7. Christmas cleaning – What are your Christmas preparations looking like? Do you have to paint the house, get new curtains and sheet sets? Does it often feel like a spring cleaning in December? That’s because there was always a need to make the house look and feel brand new for Christmas, and of course you got that from your parents!
How many of the above scenarios can you relate to? Please post your comments.
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