Thursday, 8 September 2016

Lessons From The Old Girl: A Tribute to My Grandmother

Dadaa, meaning mother, as we affectionately call her, is a woman like no other. I called you mother because you possess deep-rooted virtues of motherhood. You are my mother not only because you gave birth to the woman who gave me life, but also because you nurtured me, taught me, shouted at me when necessary, but most importantly you loved me unconditionally.
At a very young age, when I was just three years old, you took me in and made me the person I am today. It was as though I was your last born child. Not once have I ever felt the absence of my birth mother, to the extent that along the way I thought you were my birth mother. We had that connection, and that's how good a mother you are. You took me along with you everywhere you went. Even when you had to travel out of town, whether far or near, you always had me by your side. I still recall some of those memories, and it feels like just yesterday. You taught me everything I know. You have taught me some invaluable lesson which I think is worth sharing. Your lessons which you have given to me, are lessons I believe anyone from any corner of the earth will give anything to receive. They are simply priceless.

Lessons From The Old Girl

My lessons from the old girl, which you could also termed philosophies, are not in any particular order, but just the way remembered them. Four of these lessons are as follow;

Believe in something
At a very young age, one of the lessons dadaa(mother) taught me which shaped my life was the need to discover something worth believing in. Dadaa was an advocate of good health and she never compromise on the need to live a healthy life. She taught us good nutrition, and she ensured that there was good nutrition for the family, and I was a beneficiary. My Dadaa would prepare some good and healthy food for us and she would as well prepare some local medicine, then she would insist that we drink it. Usually, she would say drink it, you know, if it doesn't kill us, it would save us. The end result was astonishing, absolutely incredible. She never really suffered any major illness and so too was my fate. All this was possible because she believed in something.
Now, this is a priceless lesson or philosophy for life.  You'd realized that, all over the world, the most successful people or the greatest achievers are those people who have discovered something worth believing in and they believed. forget about what people would say and believe in your discovery. Besides, people will always have an opinion, but their opinions should not stop you from believing in yourself and your dream. Believe it to fall through and it will fall through. That is why the greatest book on earth says "what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall receive them."
So it's important what you believe in, that's gonna carry you into the next chapter.

Trust your instinct 
One Friday afternoon, Dadaa and I were on our way to the farm to fetch firewood after I had closed from school,when we met one of our neighbours returning home from his farm. He looked exhausted and there was anger written all over his face. He and Dadaa took a moment to exchange pleasantries. I had to move ahead because we were taught that listening in on a conversation between adults was a sign of disrespect. The conversation lasted for just a short while, and Dadaa came to meet me. And as we continued our journey to the farm, I asked Dadaa if I could ask her a question. "Yes", ask she replied. "Did you noticed that he seemed angry, and do you know why?" I asked. "Apparently, there was a misunderstanding between him and his wife", she said in reply.
"Dadaa, tell me, how can I choose the right woman to marry so I don't encounter any problem like this man in the future?" I asked. " That is a good question my boy," she replied. I'd teach you a valuable lesson today, and I want you to listen very closely, she said.
I'm going to teach you about choice and an important natural disposition which will give you the power to make the right choice. This natural disposition that will empower you to make the right choice, this is what it is called, Instinct, she said. "Instinct, what is it?" I asked. Hold on, don't jump the gun, she said in reply. You need to understand choice first and this understanding will automatically awaken the internal power called instinct for you to know what choice to make.

Choice, she said, is the right or the opportunity to decide on the right thing to select between two different things. It is the decision to choose one thing or the other. There is either a wise choice(good choice) or an unwise choice(bad choice). What you need to know is that, the choices we make determines our destiny. What we are today is as a result of the choices we made in the past.
I want you to know that, "everyday, you'll face questions of right and wrong, and a decision about whether to take an action or stay out of the game. It is when these choices are clear that you will draw on your conscience, to follow up on your instincts and reveal your true character, she said.

Your instinct, she continued, on the other hand, is the inherent voice that tells you what action to take and what action not to take. The human instinct is the most magical or closest thing to a supernatural power possessed by all humans. Trust your instincts. It is nature's way of inspiring you to act in a particular direction. This inherent power, call it supernatural power, gives you the ability to make the right choice.
Throughout the world, people with the most success, whether in their business, in their relationships or any field of endeavour, they are people who trusted their instincts to make the right choices regardless of what the world thinks.
In her conclusion, she said, "my son, all that I want you to know is that, we all have the God given ability to make the right choices in life. It is not good enough to know the right choice to make. The whole key is to make the right choice. This you will do by trusting your instinct.

It is not what happens that determines who you become. It is what you do about what happen.
When I was in junior high school, one critical lesson Dadaa taught me was when she said "my boy, you see, it is not what happens to you that determines what or who you become. Who you become is determine by what you do about what has happened." This came on the backdrop of the fact that I had expressed my interest to join my school's athletics team that would participate in the subsequent inter-schools Athletics competitions. As usual, to become a part of the school team, you have to prove that you deserve to be on the team by first of all competing against other athletes from your school. But for some strange reason, our athletics coach thought that I was too small a boy to participate in the trials. It looked as if my hopes of running the race in the competition came crushing down. Dadaa was a food vendor at a canteen in a nearby school. She sells there because that school had somewhat a bigger population compared to ours. So after school each day, I had to pass by to eat and then help her pack the things home. That day when I got there, she could tell something was wrong with me. After I had finished eating, she asked me what the matter was. When I had finished narrating my ordeal, she held my young shoulders and asked me to sit down and she told me a personal story. Then she said, "I have learnt a valuable lesson a long time a go and today, I want you to also learn this lesson." The lesson she said , is that, "in life, it is not what happen that determines who you become. It is what you do about what happen." Then she said, "tomorrow, when you go to school, find a way to show your coach that our body size has nothing to do with your ability to participate in the competition." The following morning, I went to school with a smile on my face because I had figured out what I was going to do. Soon, it was time for practice. I quickly changed into my sports gear ready to join the 400 meters team with or without the coach's consent, and when it was time for those running the 400 meter race to take on to the field, I joined the group. The race was so competitive. It was in fact the most difficult thing I had ever done at that stage of my life. I came in a comfortable second place, at the end of the race and it was now difficult for the coach to ignore me. That was how I found my way into the school's athletics team.

May years later, I came across the same principle being taught by an extraordinary mentor, one of the most profound thinkers and mind expanding individuals, Jim Rohn. This is how he put it, "in life, like a little sail boat, it is not the blowing of the wind that determines your destination. It's the set of the sail." This is a vital principle or philosophy of life which I was taught when I was just about 12 years old, and this was expanded further after listening to Jim Rohn.
"The same wind blows on all of us. The wind of disaster, the wind of opportunity, the wind of change, the wind of ups and downs, the wind of what's favourable and unfavourable. The social wind, the economic wind, the political wind, the same wind blows on everybody. The difference in arrival, is not in the blowing of the wind but the set of the sail. And that's what life is all about, learning to determine your fate in a particular situation because you have the power, and not letting the situation determine your fate. This is an important philosophy or lesson of life which we need to understand even as kids, and Dadaa made me understood it earlier.
Therefore, it is not what happen, it is what you do about what happen, that's what makes the difference.

Learn to be of good service to people.
One Saturday, morning, an elderly man who happens to be a close neighbour walked into our house. He came to ask permission from Dadaa so that he could send me to a nearby town to collect an item for him. He offered to let me go on his bicycle, but to me, riding his bicycle wasn't an incentive enough for me to go. So I asked him what he would offer me as reward when I get back. But Dadaa intervened and said, you just go, I would have something nice for you when you get back. I was happy because when Dadaa promised you something nice, it definitely gonna be something nice. when I got back, Dadaa had prepared my favourite food in addition to an amount of money the man had left for me. Then she said, "I have something extra for you when you finish eating." I was eager to know what that extra package was but she wouldn't say a word until I finish eating. So I hurriedly went to the kitchen and ate my food. After I had finished eating, Dadaa sat me down and said "I want to talk to you about something very important." Then she asked, "do you want people to respect you, do you want recognition, and do you want to be a person of influence?" "Yes I responded." "In life, you must learn to be of good service to people. Good things come to people who serve. If you want people to respect you, care about you, if you want to have influence and be recognized, then from today, and for the rest of your life, be ready to be of service to people without expecting any reward," she said. I found out many years later that this same principle was first taught in the Bible.
Service to the people was first taught in the Bible because the question was asked, "how can we achieve recognition?" Thus how can we achieve great influence, great recpect, great self-esteem?, the master teacher was asked. And here is his formula for achieving recognition. He said, "find a way to serve people. For service to people leads to recognition and greatness."

Dadda, you are a true mother like no other. You are an ideal woman full of great values and your counsel is impeccable. Having talked about gratitude in my previous post, it is only proper to say that I'm most grateful for everything you have done for me. Thank God you are still here with us, that's why it feels even better to speak of your greatness. You've always being my hero.
Dadaa akpe na wo, mawu ne yra wo ( Thank you mother, may God bless you)

                                                                                                                                  Best Regards

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