Parenting Woes Why I hate my daughter's first day at school

Pulse Editor Godfred Akoto Boafo delayed the inevitable for as long as possible. After a surprise haircut, new books and countless excuses on his part, the day has come: dealing with his daughter's first day at school.

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  play Fiercely competitive dad Godfred Akoto Boafo has already told the principal of her new school his daughter Asabea will be school prefect in a year. (Godfred Akoto Boafo/Pulse Ghana)
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I wonder what you are doing now,

 And if everyone is treating you kind.

I hope there is special person,

A nice friend you can find

I wonder if the teacher knows

Just how special you are to me

And if the brightness of your heart

Is something she can see

I wonder if you are thinking about me

And if you need a hug

I already miss the sound of your voice

And how you give my leg a tug

I wonder if you could possibly understand

How hard it is for me to let you grow

On this day know that my heart breaks

For this is the first step in letting you go

- Anonymous

OPINION I picked up on the above quote because it best reflects how I feel as I write this. I have written all kinds of stories and features in a decade of journalism but I am still struggling on how best to describe the emotions I am going through at this moment.

Millions of mothers go through this every year when they have to let their child out for their first day of school and I don’t know how they survive it.

Let me be honest - I have not been looking forward to my daughter Asabea’s first day of school. She has been the centre of my world since she was put into my arms almost two years ago. She always has a mischievous twinkle in her eye and a smile to melt the hardest of hearts. I can still remember dressing her in an over-sized onesie that was a gift from her grandmother. She looked stunning in that pink outfit and I convinced myself my baby was going to defy the laws of physics and never grow older.

But she did, and each step has been a blessing. I recall entering the bedroom one day to realise she had ripped up our family bible. This was a precious bible that has been around for decades and meant a lot to me. I was horrified for but a second. With that smile that melts hearts, she extended her tiny hand out to give me part of a ripped up page as if to say “Here Dad, I left you a bit”.

Asabea is always on my mind, bringing me joy and keeping me going through some of the hardest times of the day - even at work - I go through it all knowing my Asabea is waiting for me.

play After months of deliberation, Godfred Akoto Boafo has found a school close enough for him to hear if his Asabea cries (Godfred Akoto Boafo/Pulse Ghana )



I get it - sending a child to school is inevitable - but it does not mean you have to like it. That is why over the past few months I found all kinds of excuses to avoid it. I have discounted several top creches for all kinds of reasons; too far away, not big enough, poor catering, too expensive, too cheap. Whatever excuse you can find I have used it to postpone having to make a choice. But, inevitably I have made a choice. It's a nice place; close enough for me to hear if she cries.

Asabea is my baby and I don’t like sharing her with anybody. My wife has been annoyingly excited though. She has license to raid all the children’s shops under the guise of “before school shopping” and the worst part? She took Asabea to the salon for a new hair style without telling me. As if I needed another tell tale sign that school was afoot. Asabea and I loved her afro and school has taken that away from us.

In all this did I tell you I am fiercely competitive? I have already told the principal of her new school Asabea will be school prefect in a year. I went and bought her some good books and we have been practicing her ABC’s before her first day at school. We have been stuck at C for cat or in her own words “Niaaowww” but we are making progress.

I don’t know if I will be able to drop her off at school. She hates new places and crowds and I can predict the tears and the fight to go back with me. I do not think I will be able to hold back my tears so I will not be there. Coward? Yes, but let's check you out when it's your turn.

In rural Ghana, bursaries and extra training are helping girls stay in secondary school and shape their futures.

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