Raising three children, 47-year-old Trilby Lingard, might not see
eye-to-eye with some traditional ways, but the taught values of giving God
praise, living good with family, enjoying the outdoors and always being
respectable to elders helps her raise her children today.
“My mother would tell me a good
dose of castor oil would do me good. Today my son tells me he’ll call 911
because I am trying to poison him.
“Looking back I too wonder why we
were given such an awful concoction.
“I recall the stubborn look on my
son’s face the day he smelled that foul mixture. Castor oil also drew an ‘oh
no’ from my son, just like how my sisters and I ran away when we heard it was
coming. I hated it too and wondered why I would even think of giving it to my
children. So I dumped that piece of motherly advice along with the castor oil
“A return to a nostalgic past for
some of the old motherly traditions may not help us raise our children in
today’s society but it goes a far way. Being a mother today at 40 it is more
physically and mentally exhausting than raising children from how my mother did
it years ago.
“It is a different era and the use
of personal computers, interactive videos, cable television, electronic games
and the Internet can be useful learning and play tools, so why is it my son
always says to me, ‘mummy I am bored.’ As a child growing up I was never bored
even when there was not much to do. Sometimes too much of a good thing is a bad
thing,” she said.
“There were no fast food joints.
Lunch boxes were prepared for school each day, which contained an avocado
sandwich or a piece of fried fish her father had caught the night before.
“Give that to my son to take to
school today and he would wonder if I went off the deep end,” Mrs. Lingard
“We knew nothing about store-bought
fruits and fresh lettuce. We made good use of sour tamarinds, green mangoes,
guavas and guineps as snacks on our way to and from school.” She said children
were healthier than they are today because they played and swam a lot.
“Mothers walked their children to
school and chatted and laughed about everyday life as they made the trip back
and forth. We were street-smart and self-reliant from a very early age. Walk on
the left hand side of the road until you reach the school yard, mum told me. I
obeyed! If a neighbour spotted us playing around, our parents knew it before we
left school. We were not always perfect and did do wrong at times but there was
no room for disrespect,” she said.
Chores were not only given at home
but also when they arrived at school, she said.
“There were no cleaners at school.
A group of students would take the broom, some a rake and others would clean
toilets and pick up trash. Morning devotions were kept in the yard because the
school was not large enough to accommodate all the students. This taught us to
take care of our environment”
Mrs. Lingard also recalls being
chastised when she did wrong. “My mother would switch our behinds when caught
doing wrong and not a word of disrespect was uttered. Teachers in the schools
were also allowed to discipline children. Today it is called child abuse.
Mothers of yesteryear would say spare the rod spoil the child.”
Mrs. Lingard believes today’s children have no fear of authority in the classroom
and some mothers will give teachers a good tongue lashing whether children are
right or wrong. “We have taken out our principles by following the rest of the
world,” she said.
“We need to spend quality time with
our children to let them know they are loved, valued, supported, encouraged and
not left alone.” That, thinks Mrs. Lingard, will make a big difference in our
Mrs. Lingard defines her skills by
the advice and bribery her father gave her. “He said if you learned this hymn,
Sweet hour of Prayer, I will give you $10. I dedicated myself to playing that
piece, even though the notes were hard for me, I practised until I got it
Groomed from the tender age of five
by her mother Audrey to become the Bodden Town Church of God pianist Mrs.
Lingard also went on to become a teacher. Today she not only instils her
traditional values in her children but also to the many students she teaches