“That’s the point I’m reaching that young sages and willing elders can move from the era of a society invaded by diseased concepts, downtrodden values, attitudes that mock integrity and the stripping of unhealthy policies to an era of absolute freedom from decadence. And although our glass houses have been tainted with the dirt of corruption and threatened to fall into shambles by its yielding increase, there is still a light we find fascinating and beckoning on us at the end of the tunnel, only if we refuse to crawl back the way we came. We need not watch all the drama with distasteful suspense, but rather shake ourselves from the trance that has got us dragging along our past into the approaching future.“
MOST times at a re-union or a gathering of friends, I beam with pride and I am engulfed by the feeling of elation because I know amongst us are the leaders of tomorrow (presidents, ministers, law makers and reformers, secretaries to the federal and state governments et al). It is not a cliché that attempts to give us a sense of importance, rather it is an insightful prediction, and if statistics of the events of the future could be captured, then the saying is a fact that has been foretold.
The almond tree is a huge sight. I remember the colloquial name we called it as children; (at least in the neigbourhood I grew up, we called it that.) “Fruit” was the name by which we knew the produce of the great tree. We would eat them and were fortunate if we got to the ripe ones first (if the birds had not beaten us to it). We were stuck in what I would not call an addiction but a mere loyalty of our taste buds that we sometimes wouldn’t let go of the unripe ones. But the morale of the story isn’t about the fascinating taste of almonds but the fascinating reality of the growth of the almond tree. I would not attempt to rival the botanist and tell you of the detailed steps by which the almond tree culminates but instead I will cut the long story short.
Almond trees emanate from the little seeds, which are nothing when compared with the giant trees. The trees too do not deny this fact, rather they pay tribute to their little beginnings by producing fruits that contain memoirs of their origin. (I like to think of it that way). However, if I spilled the beans of how trees grew from little seeds to the hearing of my toddler cousins, they would think of it as just another magical bedtime story, but to those of us who did not skip biology classes and observation of the life cycle of all things, it is a fact. So in essence little things move on to larger things. I used the almond seed and tree as an example because they should bring a nostalgic feeling to those of us who are familiar with them. But the same is true of the mustard seed, which grows into the amazing mustard tree.
So after my botanical attempt to give credence to the saying “we are the leaders of tomorrow” I do hope we could all sit up and awaken to a sense of responsibility. You or that queer fellow (it depends on your response to this awakening) will be one of the big shots of tomorrow. Fine that’s guaranteed and let me save you the resonance. However, it is not enough to be abreast with this fact. We must come to the drawing board, ponder and plot a plan for the scenes of the future we want.
The mind is another fascinating subject, psychologists and psychiatrists would agree. And the basis of our belief system is as a result of the indelible impressions ingrained by experience over time. Such that what we believe would happen is as a result of what we have come to know. Essentially, we are who we are owing to the attributes we possess or fail to possess. Hence a desert is called so for the absence of water, the volcano is called that for the presence of molten magma, and the ocean is called so because of its streaming and voluminous aqua content. So if for example you approve of bad approaches do not resent them and in fact applaud them. Then you are unfortunately going to manifest such tendencies.
To narrow the above assertion to our national setting, if you endorse corrupt practices and in fact have made corruption a norm then you have acquired for yourself the name “a corrupt person”. Just like seeds only grow into what has been embedded in them in accordance with nature, so is man a product of his mind and notions. I am not a proponent of any scientific or social school but the point I am reaching is that we are who we are in our thinking and mostly likely who we are going to be for all intents and purposes. However, there is an exception to the rule that applies to seeds and that is the fact that man is of a mutable nature, when intercepted with the concept of change. Therefore, a lazy lad of today can become the relentless workaholic chap of tomorrow thanks to the miracle of change. It is the beautiful and bright side one looks forward to after a disheartening experience, that things can gravitate from what they at present seem, that a fatal mindset could dissipate and new ideologies become imbibed.
That’s the point I’m reaching that young sages and willing elders can move from the era of a society invaded by diseased concepts, downtrodden values, attitudes that mock integrity and the stripping of unhealthy policies to an era of absolute freedom from decadence. And although our glass houses have been tainted with the dirt of corruption and threatened to fall into shambles by its yielding increase, there is still a light we find fascinating and beckoning on us at the end of the tunnel, only if we refuse to crawl back the way we came. We need not watch all the drama with distasteful suspense, but rather shake ourselves from the trance that has got us dragging along our past into the approaching future.
One cannot pretend to be oblivious of the facts, ranging from examination malpractices, thriving cultism, the aiding and abetting of electoral malpractices, vandalism, fraud, robbery, moral decadence and other acts that disturb the peace and frustrate harmonious and purposeful existence. These and many more are all evils perpetrated by our young selves, and if we deny participation, maybe some of us are right in that regard having escaped contamination. However, how about our lack of patriotism, this rigid, defensive mechanism of unbelief in our nation, and that indifferent attitude we have built around ourselves like the stony great wall. Most of us (youths especially) argue that society has not given us anything and even if that were true, would it suffice as an excuse when our own offspring ask us tomorrow why we let opportunities to effect change slip away from us; and then complain of the leaders of tomorrow like we complain of the leaders of today? The rancor and arguments are ever on the rise, but I look to almost every nook and cranny and find no action towards the change we crave.
I am not advocating a revolution of wars and protests; rather I speak of a revolution of mindsets, a walk away from the fast becoming norm. We must choose to say no each time we are faced with the supposed fast route to riches (corrupt and fraudulent practices). We must pledge allegiance to integrity, good conscience and self-esteem: and believe me these things have their rewards. I don’t want to become the corrupt leader I once complained of, neither do I want my peers to be. I want to be able to walk into the future, which lies ahead of me and not abscond to greener pastures, which were cultivated and nurtured to their present state. If we fail to create the future of our dreams we would be living the nightmares we failed to ward off. In foreign lands, corruption is a dirty thing to be found with, but here we secretly endorse it and plan to perpetuate same if given the chance.
Please do not suspend the light (hope which is the link between the obtainable and the desirable) and complain of darkness. Like farmers let us go on to sow good seeds so that when tomorrow comes we’d be harvesters of good and great trees and fruits. Let us lay aside the weights; the lies, and diseased ideas that easily beset us and let us run with faith and patience the race that is set before us. Let us be radically different not worse, the very bearers of tomorrow’s greatness who wouldn’t quit for the seeming opportunities of today. Let’s learn the morale from the story of Adam and Eve (for those of us who know and believe in it), and refuse the forbidden fruit, which would only make us lose dominion and cause us a great fall.
Let us walk into the future we desire, but to do that, we must first migrate from the stale mindset we’ve held on to for far too long.
• Temitope.Y. Ola-Sunmonu is a writer and lawyer.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”