In Jewels’ last 2 editions, we asked and tried to discuss the subjects ‘What Did Your Father Teach You and What Did Your Mother Teach You?’ We tried to establish that men as fathers are responsible for providing psychological support to their children; raise them to be proud of who they are so they can be esteemed individuals and more. Mothers, we said to a great extent determine what the individuals character is, what he is known for due to the role mothers are supposed to play in imbibing conduct in their children so they can be seen as good children for the fathers as the old Nigerian proverbs says ‘When a child is good, he/she is the father’s child but when a child is bad, he/she is the mother’s child’.
You will notice from the preceding notes above that the totality of what an individual becomes in live does not depend explicitly on who an individual’s father or mother is, where he/she was born, where he schooled etc. To the greatest extent, one can say that the individual is a major determinant of what he becomes and this is the reason for the subject Jewels chooses to share in this edition ‘What Did You Teach Yourself?’
Out there are several philosophies tagged under some heading like ‘Agents of Socialisation, Man and Society etc’ mostly dealing with the subject of how various agents (family, school, friends, background, society in general) can influence man to become a particular kind of man or woman in life. Most of those philosophies posit that society influences man and a few propose that man influences society or can influence his society. I am hoping that the Story of Thomas may be able to provide the kind of dimension Jewels hopes we adopt from today.
Thomas was born into the family of the Okoli’s in the late 70’s. Growing up amongst his pairs, he was an object of admiration and sometimes envy because his family was regarded highly by members of the community due to the high moral, disciplined life they led. Thomas growing up, did not let this family portrait they were known for diminish which made him more admirable not just among his peers but almost at every setting he found himself. Known for his choice for excellence, high morals, hard work, talents and lots of good virtues you may be thinking about, Thomas advanced through various stages of life quickly and in no time was almost ready to begin life as an adult himself.
Set for adult life having progressed so far in life evidenced by very good education, a fantastic job with several benefits, Thomas went to his father one day and declared his readiness to become a husband and a father like the one who raised him; Mr. Anthony Okoli. With a grateful grin on his face, Mr. Anthony thanked God for his son and said ‘Tom, I really have nothing to say to you regarding your intentions more because I am proud of what you have become, you did not let me down. However, I have to say this and hope you heed my words as you have always done. Anything wrong you have never done in life, please do not start because if you do, you may not be able to stop them and there is a consequence for every action. My piece of advice is to encourage you to always improve the person you are so that you can be better and this can only happen if you continually keep in mind all we taught you raising you and above all uphold fear for GOD. I know you have very good judgement so I would say, everything right you saw me do in marriage, please do and anything wrong you ever saw me do in marriage, please do not do. A man becomes anything he chooses to become. Tom, you have my blessings!’
Few months after the meeting with his father, Tom was married to Andi, the lady he fell in love with during his post graduate study days at Cambridge. Of course, life was sweet you can guess; both couples were successful and they enjoyed their times greatly and more because in no time they were blessed with a lovely son. Soon like every other marriages I guess, conflicts caused by several reasons (I permit you to think about them) began to creep into their lovely home and Thomas began to respond by battering his wife, having extra marital affairs which led to having kids out of wedlock, drinking and smoking all done to sometimes keep him sane. Mr. Anthony and his wife knowing of these reports wondered what had happened to Tom, they tried to think about anything they had done wrong; he had never seen his parents fight, he had always been calm, intelligent, a strong feminist, disciplined and Andi was a wonderful person. The more he tried to contemplate the reasons for Thomas’s action as several reports were brought before him, the more confused he became; everything seemed like an enigma. He usually would say to his wife, in-laws ‘THIS WAS NOT HOW WE RAISED TOM’
I could relate to the story of Thomas when it was told and I am certain that many of us can relate to it as well. Most of what we become are not solely dependent on what our parents have taught us but on what we teach ourselves and thus choose to become. I agree that the story could have been one where Thomas may have found himself in an environment filled with so much violence and hate but this does not make an excuse for anything evil we become otherwise the laws and society would stand strong for them. Despite what we see in practice today; more of an EVIL world, I have not heard of a law that supports the wrongs we do. I have also not seen any law that holds a parent responsible for the actions of an adult. The beauty of living is the opportunity it provides through several agents society has put in place; Church, Mosque, Friends, Hospitals, Schools, Mentors and more. In every wrong done, it is said that a right can be preached and we have been built to know what is right and wrong. Jewels in this edition tasks You and I to remember always that We are the architect of our fate, we choose to become what we want to become and hence forth can determine what ‘WE TEACH OURSELVES’. I would like to put this perspective in every context by reminding us of the words I paraphrased tweeted by Pastor Dexter ‘Steve Jobs was an orphan, raised by adopted parents, dropped out of school yet he changed our world, What excuse do you have to give by whatever you are?’
There is remedy for every situation as you will read soon when I continue the story of Thomas in the next edition of Jewels – ‘What Did You Learn?’
From Me; Chuka Chiezie and the team at Jewel Publishers we wish you a great weekend. Contact us (08033615992, firstname.lastname@example.org) for your graphics design and Printing services and please do not forget to tell others about Jewel Publishers. More Grace!