How Grandma Turned Discipline Into a Bonding Experience

A young mother’s reflections on a mischievous summer day

Chris Ebongue
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readFeb 7, 2024


Photo by Catherine Kay Greenup on Unsplash

Lately, as a mother, I’ve found myself reflecting more and more on a particular day from my childhood.

I must have been around 6 to 8 years old.

It was on a summer night during our school break. We were spending vacations with our grandparents. Those were always the days filled with fun adventures, and we often got ourselves into a bit of trouble.

One afternoon, we decided to sneak out of the house to swim while our grandmother went to church for an event. We didn’t ask her because we were going to the river where she had warned us not to swim. As the late Queen Mother of our village, she was always wrapped up in some community activity. We thought we would have enough time for a quick swim and get back before her.

As soon as she had left, my sisters quickly put on shoes and put a change of clothes for everyone in a little bag. While they were waiting outside for our brothers and me to put on shoes, they started swinging the bag around. Shoes on, I walked out the door to discover the bag had landed on the roof.

That should’ve been a sign to call it quits right then, but nope, we were determined.

It took us over an hour to rescue our bag from the roof.

The church event was ending by the time we got the bag down.

Should we just give up?”

We debated until we unanimously decided, “No, let’s go!”

We figured the event would probably drag on and we could still beat her back. So off we went. We had so much fun in the water, that we lost track of time. We played with the other kids in the village, until I had a near-drowning experience.

There’s a saying in our village that we are “water people”, and because of that, we’ll not drown, no matter what. Well, I got scared anyway. I told my sisters and brothers that I wanted to go home, willing to risk being labeled a party pooper.

But they understood and we made our way back home.

On our way back, a kid told us they had seen our grandmother head back home half an hour ago…



Chris Ebongue
Human Parts

I'm a mom & parenting coach, merging African values with Montessori philosophy for a holistic approach to raising children. Explore: