If you send your child

Some time back, one of our Ghanaian colleagues said to Dayle: “If you send your child, you send yourself.” He was referring to a specific circumstance. But Dayle did not understand what he was saying, so she asked him to explain. He explained that he had sent someone on an errand, but the person he sent couldn’t handle the matter, so eventually he had to go himself and he was able to handle it.

At first, Dayle had thought that he was saying that if you delegate your child to do something, that is as good as going yourself. But he was saying exactly the opposite – that if you send your child (or by extension a subordinate) to do something, you will eventually have to go do it yourself.

We can paraphrase our colleague’s comment like this: “If you send your child to do something (you should do), you’ll eventually have to go do it yourself anyway.” We have a roughly equivalent expression in English – if you want something done well, do it yourself.

Now I don’t know what you think of that, but one thing is clear. We can’t understand our colleague’s statement: “If you send your child you send yourself” by examining the words, no matter how scrupulously we examine them. We can only understand what he meant when we understand his cultural perspective.

One thought on “If you send your child

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