Taking Responsibility Early: Picking Greens

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When this young man was born, visitors to the hospital room asked whether he was a boy or a girl. When his mother replied that he was a boy, they said two words: “Hmmm. Trouble.”

The woman in the next bed was asked the gender of her baby. When she replied that it was a girl, they also responded in two words: “Thank God.”

They went on to explain that at least the girl child will help to support the family; but that the boy child is inherently selfish. Whatever money he makes is for himself.

The baby boy’s mother then explained to the women in the maternity room the reason for this — that most Liberian women raise their girls by the strictest standards of responsibility, but spoil their boy children. By the time the girl child is twelve years old, she can cook, wash clothes and dishes, and is helping to care for the younger ones. By the same age, the boy child has absolutely NO responsibilities in the home. He can come and go as he pleases. Is it any wonder that he grows up to be selfish?

The young man in this photo was not asked to help pick greens. It was a Saturday, a busy day in the kitchen. He took this responsibility upon himself to jump in and help. He is not yet three years old. He was also not well the day this photo was taken. He is the grandson of Observer Publisher Kenneth Y. Best and his wife Mae Gene.

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