Mind picture a polygamous, sprawling compound dotted with wives, in smoky huts.
The family’s pillar of strength and unity wouldn’t indulge in small talk over the family breakfast. One, there wasn’t a family breakfast – real men ate alone in their solitary huts – middle of the yard.
Two, what would be the discussion?
Kimani, how many rabbits have you caught this week?
Wanjohi, how many fights do you have to lose to Chege to prove to be a man?
No, such talk was reserved for smoky women huts. Real men dabbled in matters of survival, war, life and sustenance.
At some point every year, the man summons a meeting – outside his mystic Thingira. It wouldn’t be a comment in passing, and neither would he make the summon himself. He’d send the senior wife, and space out the meeting for a few days, perhaps even a week.
No brat in the entire household, or their mothers or resident relatives would have an excuse for missing the family AGM. What would’ve been the excuse, anyways?
“Am sorry, Ithe wa Kimani, I was with the midwife…..”
“I was nursing your youngest – 12th – son who’s got the small pox….”
Thou shall not poke a napping lion.
Come D-Day, the king of the household keeps the subjects waiting – protocols, hello.
Or, he’s snoring off a dreadful hangover from a potent herbal beer pot he’d smashed the previous night.
No one dares be late – oh, wait, the youngest (and, favorite) wife still hasn’t got the hang of affairs in this kingdom. She enjoys some enviable length of amnesty. The older wives make faces and exchange knowing smiles.
“Enjoy your youth while it lasts…..”
Presently, the king emerges. He surveys his subjects. Its bad luck to make an actual head count – but, some cursory scan instantly ticks all as present. Even toddlers are quiet – some are getting a glimpse of the great man for their first time!
The meeting is short. He knows affairs of his dynasty are presently grounded: Simmering pots need to be simmering. Mud walls and floors need to be re-walled. Millet farms need be guarded. And, wives need their time to be wives.
The kids are lined up. The oldest is appointed the de facto Prime Minister, and subsequent authority handed down in regard of age and gender. The boys naturally get aligned to livestock, and girls find grounding in the farms and their mother’s kitchens.
The boys are given goats, and young cattle. The animals are their own – to take to pasture, manage, calve, milk and all it pertains. Each nurtures a specific household. If there’s a wife without a son, the household is merged with the strongest.
Or, gets an ‘extra’ son from another house assigned to her.
The ruler of the household (it was a dynasty – not a democracy) didn’t break down the basics of finance, but it was a sustenance plan for each unit in the homestead.
It was a way to save for the future, and teach young ones the mechanics of trade, and exchange.
Fast forward to the present generation of parenting, and childhood. The basics of finance haven’t changed, just the modes of saving and instruction.
Introducing the iconic Jumbo Junior Bank Account.
Co-op Bank has a transitional account that’s teaches the financial discipline kids need to nurture a saving culture to kids. It’s designed for children below the age of 18 years, for the safe keeping of money – and, loaded with unbelievable benefits.
To sign up, or learn more about Jumbo Junior, visit the nearest Co-op Bank branch, or click here.