Selfhood Begins with Walking Away

“Selfhood begins with a walking away/ And love is proved in the letting go.”

Robert Cecil Day Lewis

This week Einoth Labikie Laizer and her mum Elisifa visited the TFFT office for a consultation with TFFT Staff. Einoth has been with TFFT for 5 years (having joined the programme from Form 1, which she had to repeat when she was adjusting with the transition and responsibilities of academic life at Secondary School level). Einoth has been accepted for a Basic Technician Certificate in Insurance and Social Protection with the Institute of Finance Management in Dar Es Salaam. It is most certainly a proud and exciting moment for her and family, including TFFT who invested in her potentials through the potent power of education to give her a fighting chance on this journey of life armed with a good education.

TFFT staff took time to give Einoth well-formed and informed advice, guidance, and counseling on what to expect as she turns the next page in her academic life filled with long learning opportunities. This was an equally important session for her mum who expressed that the physical separation with her daughter in itself was not the hardest part. Rather, it is the daily reality of living without her child in close proximity. In conversation with Elisifia (who couldn’t also hide her mixed excitement and anxiety) in her daughter’s presence she expressed that her worries are that inevitably as a mother she will come to know less about their life, where they are and what they are doing at any given moment of the day. It is normal to feel this way as a concerned mother, and worrying about your child’s well being can most certainly exacerbate the feelings of anxiety about their daily welfare without your motherly presence to protect, advise, remind or keep them in check when they err.

In this regard, communication is key. Moreover, one needs to give the child space to become independent and enjoy their new life. Staying in touch and finding out how they are coping is healthy as well. Technology has definitely made it easier to cope with the transition of a child leaving home and has precipitated a more enriched way of communication. This phase is both a sad and exciting time in equal measure. It also marks the beginning of a new phase in their relationship as mother and daughter. By leaving home, on the outskirts of Arusha, bound for Dar Es Salaam (a big city 10hrs away by road), Einoth has the chance to become more fully her own person. Achieving independence is an essential part of a child’s journey to adulthood. To make this journey successfully, children need the freedom to try new things. But they still need your guidance and support too.

The Foundation For Tomorrow remains an active pillar of support on Einoth’s journey and, since it is her first time in the big, bustling city of Dar Es Salaam, a member of staff and her mum will accompany her to the city on her first day. It is a proud moment for Einoth, her family and TFFT and like many of our scholars, whether they are successful academically or not, we offer them career guidance and counseling to find meaningful solutions that have a positive impact on their envisioned futures as experts of their lives. TFFT firmly believes all of our scholars have strengths and resources which they can use to find solutions to presenting problems as experts of their life and a good education is one sure way of growing their capacity and skills set in solution finding and building.

How have you handled this transition process as child or parent? Your tips could really come in handy as we strengthen our support to many of our scholars and their families increasingly facing this lived reality as scholars come of age and take the next steps in their academic life. Share with us your views and experiences!