A Drummer's Testament
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Chapter III-11: The Benefits of Children   <PDF file>

Why Dagbamba value children; role of children in the family; Dagbamba resistance to family planning; how children help their parents

Paragraph outline and links
Proverbs and sayings
Dagbani words and other search terms

Supplementary material

Image Gallery:  Dagbamba children

Contents outline and links by paragraph  <top of page>


1. talk of children connected to talk of family
2. talk of children connected to householding and eldership
3. the scope of the topic

Having many children benefits the parents

4. more benefit from many children; at least some will help the family
5. children help in farming or buying food
6. family planning kills the family

Raising many children

7. have to care for all of them; don’t know which will be good
8. buying clothes; both husband and wife help

How children help the family

9. as older ones grow up, they will help with farming and feeding the younger ones
10. children can help in the market or trading
11. children who farm or trade can help the father get wives for them
12. example: how Alhassan helped when he married his wife

The character of children

13. a good child respects himself
14. a child’s character is from God

Training children

15. train children with work: farming and trading
16. mothers train daughters to respect husbands and in-laws
17. a child or grandchild will take up custom work, like drumming or butchering

More types of benefits of children

18. respect; someone with many children gets respect like a chief or a wealthy person
19. children help parent perform festivals
20. children can build a house for parents to live in
21. children can dig a well for the family
22. unexpected good works that children do for their parents: car, horse, cows, pilgrimage


23. some girls only help mother and not father; some help both
24. boys do more to help the parents

Other benefits

25. God helps and protects the world because of the innocence of children
26. children bring luck: good luck and bad luck

Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

The sweetness of marriage is a child.

One person does not have a wife. 

God will make a chief well, and a chief will make a commoner well.

It is God Who makes a person useless, and it is God Who makes a person good. 

A useless child becomes a useless old man.

If somebody’s wife cooks food and gives you and you eat, you will not be totally satisfied.

If you are a boy and you are not cool, whatever happens, by the time they get a wife for you, you will become cool. 

Maalams say that if not because of small children and the animals in the bush, God would not have given us, the people on earth, rainwater to drink. 

Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Musical terms
Samban' lunga  (Samban’ luŋa)

Names and people
Alhassan (Ibrahim)
Abdulai (Ibrahim)
Ibrahim (Alhaji Ibrahim)
Alhaji Adam (Mangulanga)
Dr. Busia (Kofi Busia)

Towns and places

Cultural groups

Miscellaneous terms
cedi, cedis
maalam, maalams
pesewa, pesewas