We were standing in front of him in our short clinical coats, stethoscopes hanging from the neck and patella hammers protruding from our pockets. We watched with rapt attention as our host documented findings and instructions into a patient’s case note, as though our very lives depended on those words.
We were understandably nervous – our host was a consultant physician whom we were meeting for the first time on our outside posting. And as was the custom for most consultants, there was always a grilling session designed to test the integrity of the student’s brain cells. I suppose this was exactly why Dayo and I were quiet – we were trying to call to memory all the things we had learnt, or rather had been taught.
The consultant looked up. He was done writing and now had time for us. I could see his name – Dr. Sanya-Olu. I took a deep breath, expecting the grilling to commence any moment. It never came.
“Let me tell you guys something,” He started, pulling out a book – it wasn’t a medical book. It was a something about Singapore’s development, I can’t exactly remember. “You guys are young and still have a lot of life ahead of you.”
I wondered what he was driving at but had no courage to ask. “You see me reading this book,” He continued, “I wish there were some things I knew earlier in life. I won’t be where I am today. I would have gone farther.”
I shifted uncomfortably on my feet. I wondered what was going on in Dayo’s mind.
“You guys need to know that there’s more to life outside of Medicine. You need to acquire some knowledge (and skills) in addition to your medical knowledge. You’ll need it to be successful.”
Now this was getting interesting.
Then without warning, he suddenly changed the direction of the discussion. “And you need to be careful about who you marry. It is very important.” His face assuming an even more serious expression. “Your wife is the first teacher of your child. So it is important that she is someone who is knowledgeable and fit for that task.”
I don’t remember what he said after that but I remember bringing out my phone and typing the last statement in my memo – “Your wife is the first teacher of your child.”
Fast forward five years later and I’m amazed at how guys go about choosing their (female) partners. I was in a discussion with friends at medical school and I remember an overwhelming majority of guys in that discussion saying they would prefer a much younger wife who they can easily control (paraphrase) – emphasis on control. To them, a sure way to secure control was by widening the age gap between them. It goes without saying that they’d also like a woman who wasn’t as intellectually stimulating and thus will not pose a ‘threat’ to them.
If we’re to go by Dr Sanya-Olu’s words of advice, guys like this are willing to expose their children to ‘sub-par’ teachers (their wives) all in the name of control. I believe their decision is a reflection of the kind of values our society holds dear. What’s more, our present state as a society is a consequence of the mindset that seeks to ‘disempower’ women so as to gain absolute control and lordship over the home – the effect being children who are exposed to the teachings of intellectually incapacitated women.
I will refrain from making suggestions on this issue. But for the sake of future offspring, I believe we should discuss this issue of control in marriage. I’d love to hear your take.
P.S. To subscribe and receive subsequent posts by email, click here. And if you love the post, don’t forget to let me know by hitting the ‘Like’ button just below my profile.
I am a Brand Strategist and the Author of Musings of an Analytical Mind. A Medical Doctor by training, I love to challenge conventional thinking and am a firm believer in the coexistence of aesthetics and quality. Connect with me on Twitter – @ifeodedere