TODAY ON FRANKLY SPEAKING – UNLEARN THE VICES
Daily I see and experience all kinds of cruelty and injustice; I witness oppression and disrespect, hate, abuse, mistreatment, insensitivity, extortion, exploitation and pure wickedness by ironically a people most obsessed and fanatical with religion and activities of faith.
Many of us today pray for change, advocate change, clamor for change, we truly want to see change but sadly, we ourselves don’t want to change. We want to remain the way we are but long to see change in our society and environment.
If we as a people constitute and make up our communities and societies, it means real good change can only come with us as individuals changing individually. If we change as individuals then inevitably we will experience collective change and transformation.
I’ve wondered also what could be responsible for this very prevalent mean ways of dealing amongst us especially as Nigerians. Everywhere you go the story is not different, many people are mean, aggressive, uncaring, self-centered and unfair to others.
With every new law and policy our first inclination as people is not obedience but on circumventing or beating the new law. We want to jump cues, break traffic rules, disobey law enforcement officials, operate without licensees and particulars, invent novel sharp practices, and evade taxes.
Most of us just want to take advantage, cheat the state, steal from our common wealth and use others. We care less if millions are dying of hunger as long as we and our families are happy and satisfied.
Even as custodians of religion and faith we are more about what we can take from the religious faithful not what we can give to these innocent worshippers. I think many prayers need not be offered to God if many so called men of God would just put their hands in their pockets and church treasury and give to assist their members.
Envy, strife, vain competition and vain glory is what most of us crave after. You need to just observe two strangers get into a heated argument over a matter and the statement you’ll begin to hear goes like ‘do you know who I am?’ ‘Do you know who you’re talking to?’ ‘Am I your mate?’, Puur; Low self-esteem, low self-regard, poor self-concept, self-aggrandizement evident in these kinds of statements.
After careful observation and study, I began to understand the likely reasons for these behaviors, mindsets and attitude particularly with middle age and younger Nigerians.
I cast my mind back to our upbringing; if you’re around fifty years of age and ten years below now, you may be able to identify and share my sentiments in the following submission.
This age bracket today in Nigeria make up our most powerful and best positioned, relevant individuals managing people, institutions, sectors and even the publics and its quite likely their manner and methods of dealing may be the cascaded permeating even the younger generation and as it were, not too educated caliber of this age profile.
You see, the way a boy or girl is raised, the handling by parents, teachers and care givers can either make or break that person or that generation forever.
Many times we wonder and worry about the way we are without really thinking much of how we were raised. Many of us today are just acting and behaving based on how we were raised.
It’s what we were taught and how we were groomed that we are expressing and passing on to the younger generation today.
Casting my mind back to those years in secondary boarding school, I see me, barely eleven years old excited and glad I’m now a bigger boy; primary school all over, now in secondary school; form one. I’m glad, I’m excited as I prepare to leave home and live in school in the hostel with other students in boarding school,
I’m no longer a pupil, I’m now a student. My dad excited his son going to the boarding house, my mum pleased and can’t wait to tell every neighbour and friend her son is off to a boarding secondary school.
Then the spending begins, school uniforms, house wear, Sunday wear, socks, tennis, sandals, all in pairs, books then provisions. Peak milk, carnation milk, Ovaltine, Vitalo, Nasco cornflakes, garri, sugar, Planta and cabin biscuits; the provision, then buckets, hoe and cutlass, bowls, bed-sheets, blankets, cutleries, toiletries, joy soap, cussons imperial leather, pocket money, then your metal box (smart choice for a form one student) with padlocks and you begin to write your name on every item; A good feeling, exciting feeling, off to a boarding secondary school.
Then at last I show up in that boarding secondary school. I see my contemporaries with their parents too, carrying boxes, traveling bags, buckets, brooms and the search begins by the security and hall masters for contrabands and all that.
While you’re at it you can’t but notice older students looking mean, tough, mischievous, rugged; rough and weather beaten. Then your parents leave and you’re released into a different world from the familiar, a hard tough world of gross abuse, intimidation, oppression, bullying, terrorization, extortion, survival of the fittest, and the authorities; teachers, principals and even parents loving it, approving it and interpreting psychological, emotional and moral damage of a young child and teenager good upbringing; they call it discipline.
And for five years; for some, six years you’re exposed to a life of physical, mental and emotional abuse. A fellow student just one year ahead of you called senior something can seize your food, your provision, your uniform, your money, beat you thoroughly and make you serve all kinds of punishment for absolutely nothing or looking at him funny and the authorities call it discipline. A form two student can ask a form one student to use a teaspoon to fetch water and fill up a bucket because he wouldn’t share his provision. A form four student or a prefect; power drunk can use all kinds of wires, belts, sticks, cables and at times the flat side of a cutlass to beat a junior student for not fetching his water or washing his uniform on time and it was called discipline.
Within the system and environment of learning and education called a boarding secondary school; where students ought to be taught how to be civil, how to love, care, respect others, care for others, work together, protect and preserve the esteem, dignity and confidence of one another, the opposite was prevalent and widely approved by all stake holders.
In boarding secondary school your esteem and confidence is replaced with fear and low self-esteem, generosity and selflessness is traded for extortion and greed, team work, team spirit is traded for segregation, discrimination and treachery.
A mindset of common wealth and common good traded for greed and self-centeredness; if you go late to the dining your food is stolen or seized by a senior and you can’t say or do nothing.
Respect for others traded for abuse of power. A form four student would just wake up and decide to punish all form 2 students for hours asking them to pick pin in the sun for hours; offence they are growing wings. Laughs.
Fairness and justice traded for victimization and threats. Oppression, abuse, fear, harassment, cheating, greed and wickedness were the norm, approved, sanctioned and encouraged by the authorities; they called it discipline.
I keep wondering if wickedness and discipline are actually synonyms, when you think of those secondary boarding school days. No justice, no protection, no safety; you learn to survive somehow, someway. And somewhere in your mind you begin to think when you become a senior or a prefect you will as it were do your own. Hmmn (reminds me of many political office holders)
My dear friends, those of us who went through that kind of life and treatment as teenagers have been permanently wired to think that’s the way life is. If you will carefully observe the way most of us today behave, it is very similar to how we were trained and raised as teenagers back in the days in boarding secondary school.
Hence many of us are sincerely mean, wicked, oppressive, selfish and greedy, that’s what we know, that’s how we were raised and developed by those that raised us.
Ladies and gentlemen we left secondary school many decades ago, sorry we had to go through all that, I submit we were taught wrong, please lets forgive and unlearn these vices. We need a better society for our sake and the sake of our children, Lets retrain our minds to do what is right, we live and work in a civil society now where rights should be upheld and respected, where dignity and respect for all should be a watch word; that brutish boarding house training in my opinion damaged most of us seriously; the answer to a better society lies with us becoming better people. Hmmn, right! Laughs Enjoy your day!
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