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To the boy sending my little girl texts

SUNDAY MAGAZINE
By Josaya Wasonga | November 24th 2019

I have been receiving text and WhatsApp messages from a little gentleman, who is Pudd’ng’s classmate. From the look of the text messages, they seem to have eyes on each other. 

I’m tempted to issue a stern warning to baby girl and the little gentleman. But I’ll try diplomacy. Still, I’ll put my fist in a velvet glove. 

Our daughter is on an unspecified time out. She cannot use my phone or my wife’s. Normally, when she receives WhatsApp messages on my phone, I do not read them. There was a time she had almost 100 pending messages, and I had to hold myself back from reading them. 

But these are unusual times. She breached our no-boy rule and I am forced to breach my unwritten rule about breaching her privacy. Which is ironical because her privacy is literally all up in my business. 

My phone, my rules

Nowadays, many millenials do not know how to relate with older folks; especially while communicating on the phone. They take these things for granted. 

Way back when phones were a big deal, only a select few had a rotary phone in their home. I usually gave the number of my well-to-do friend, whose family were privileged to have a phone. If he told me that I had a phone call, I would be on my best behaviour, you would think I was being knighted. 

And so, little gentleman, if and when you call my phone, be on your best manners. No buts.  

You may think I’m an old fart who is behind the times, but, trust me, these little rules that you think are inconveniences will come in handy later in life. They will come in handy when you have applied for a job or an internship or a scholarship. Trust me, such rules always come back to haunt or help you big time. 

While we are at it, little gentleman, put some respect on my name. Matter of fact, put a whole lot of respect on my name. We are not age-mates or best buddies. We are not on first name or pet name basis. If you have to call me by my name,  prefix it with a Mister. Always call an older male as, “Sir” and an older female as, “Madam”. Depending on circumstances or relationship, you can call them as “Uncle” or “Aunt”, respectively. This applies to whether one is a rich relative or a house help. 

When you call my phone, do not just start speaking like we have known each other for ages. Or the story was cut short and you’re continuing from where you left. Identify yourself first. Identify yourself every single time you call. That’s what parental protocol dictates. 

If you hear the distinct beeping sound, which warns you that you will run out of credit in the next second, excuse yourself and say that you will call later. Do not talk nineteen to the dozen. Just excuse yourself. I will understand. Credit crunches happen to all of us. 

Little gentleman, do not send me “Please Call Me” messages. Kindly. Little gentlemen do not pull such stunts on older gentlemen whose approval and respect they are trying to get. The only time you are allowed to send a “Please Call Me” message to my phone is if it is a matter of life and death. 

If you send a text message to my phone, write in full legible English or Kiswahili. You may be sending the texts to my daughter, but remember that the phone is mine. 

Little gentleman, before you hit the SEND button, read the text again. Is it something you would say if I was within earshot? Remember, it will come to me first before it gets to my daughter. Sometimes we send texts to the wrong recipient and before we say, “Oops!” the damage has already been done. Unfortunately, we do not yet have an UNSEND button on our phones. Is the message meant for my phone/daughter? If so, go ahead and hit the SEND button. 

Do not send any forwards to my phone, even if they are meant for my daughter. I’m not a fan of forwards. I have just loaned my daughter my phone, so do not for one moment think that anything goes.

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