Our Homestay was a good experience. It helped that the African family had kids; it also hurt the experience some too. Well, I wouldn’t say hurt exactly…it was a real look into a family’s life and how they raise their kids differently.
We had fun times, and we had hard times. Some of the fun parts were Bub being able to play with local kids. The family’s son is a year older than Bub, so they played together. They would run up and down the hallway, ‘hit’ their heads on the door, fall down ‘dead’, and do it over again! They would play cars, until the older one would take them all away.
The daughters loved to hold and love on Honey-Bear. Which was a good break for me. The girls also liked to help us with homework and how to say the words correctly! They were sweet.
But there were hard times. The oldest girl seemed ‘too old’ for the parents to tell her what to do. The youngest was ‘still too little’ to know better. And the middle girl seemed to be the Cinderella of the family. The girls would fight, yell, and cry like most sisters would.
In this culture the boy of the family is Prince of The House. He can’t do anything wrong in the parents’ eyes.
We saw this Prince cut up a sister’s homework with scissors and not get in trouble. We saw him hit his mom and dad, and they just laughed it off. We saw him take a permanent marker to walls. We saw him demand by SCREAMING until he was pacified with his wishes.
That…that was hard.
And how to teach a 1.5-year-old little boy, it’s not okay to scream and hit, when he sees it day in and day out by the other kids?
Our answer became, “In our family we don’t hit, scream…fill in the blank.” When the Prince would do his damage we would ask Bub, “Uh oh. Was that good or bad,” to help him filter what he was seeing. We also tried our best to be consistent in disciplining him when he broke a family rule. Bub did a good job, considering the elements he was in.
We look back at our Homestay time with fond memories of fun and fighting!