Wonderful, beautiful morning, I’m at the workstation, and thinking of all the brilliant, beautiful and wonderful things to write about. There is this nugget from days back that is dancing around inside my head. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share it with you.
Why do we do good deeds? Could it be for the blessings? Why do we avoid doing bad things? Could it be for the avoidance of the consequences?
Years back, I was at the office with a nephew, his mum’s office, not mine, mind you, and out of sheer boredom, and because I wanted to get some biscuits to chew, I got up, and stepped out. The nephew began agitating that he wanted to come along as well, so I helped him up, and off we went. The nephew was- and still is- a very active child; the hours he must have spent cooped up in the office were making a mockery of the boundless energy and adrenaline that young kids seem to have in such scary quantities. I knew he wanted to come out, run around and stretch his legs a bit. So, I wanted him to have that feel of freedom.
Mind you, dear reader, his Mum’s office is on one of the few stretches of road that were well maintained and fairly long in the Ugbowo axis of Benin City. So as a result, that road, behind the University of Benin teaching hospital, was like a death trap. Every nincompoop who found himself or herself behind the steering wheel of a car on that road seemed to be attempting to break the land speed record. I knew of someone, an undergraduate from the university, who was actually in front of his hostel, talking with friends, when a car, manned by an idiot driving like a demon escaping hell careened off the road and smashed the young man into the gate and wall of the compound, breaking one leg and dislocating the other. Needless to stay, it delayed the victim’s graduation by over a year, a span of time in which he managed to write exams through a haze of pain, and in which a normally active person had to endure a grueling routine of physical therapy. Thankfully, the speed-demon was the scion of an influential and wealthy professor, and the Prof in question was able to afford the treatments and surgeries it took to get the young man back on his feet again. So, it goes without saying that being on that road by yourself is something to be careful about, not to talk of those who intend to walk the road with children in tow. The worst are the kids who live and/or school in and around the university campus community, who ply that road on their way to and from school, who joke and play like all students are won’t to do, and somehow, by the vigilance of their guardian angels, I have yet to see a child involved in an accident on that road.
But kids will be kids, and vigilant caregivers and child-minders will be just that. So, I held his hand as we walked along the road, looking for the shop that sold the biscuits so we could do some uncle-nephew bonding over confectionary products.
A little distance from the office, and we arrived at the kiosk. The biscuits we wanted were in stock. But you know how they say that the devil and his cohorts do not sleep, do not rest, do not take breaks or go on vacation. And thus, it was that as I left my nephew’s hand to reach for my wallet to pull out the cash, he wandered off… into the road.
People around screamed, shouted, and I paused from what I wanted to pay for, and turned back, only to see my nephew in the middle of the road with a car coming from one end.
Fear not, dear reader. This is the point when it gets dicey. Turquoise blue Audi A6 hurtling down, my nephew in the way. But you see, that boy’s own is special. He is a little darling, but the dominant reason for behaving well is not fear. It is love. Love. A typical child is warned through beating, or beaten, as a consequence of a wrong action, and we learn to associate beating and pain with misdemeanor, until the pain stops mattering so much. Then we say a child is hardened. But I digress.
While women on the road were screaming and yelling, I simply bent down and opened my arms. My nephew recognized the gesture and scampered to the safety of my arms. Just to be cautious, and to wipe the smile off the faces of my village people, I lifted him up and put him on my shoulders. He quickly relaxed and assumed his position on his uncle-chair. I then paid for biscuits, and enjoyed a slow stroll, back to the office, conversing with the young man perched on my neck. The women who were screaming were asking me to beat him, and I told them he had done nothing wrong. I opened my arms, he came. Why then would I beat the dear boy?
I will be talking some more about this in a forthcoming piece, and I’d like you to, as you go about your businesses, ask yourself, is the motivation fear, or love?
I’m expecting your comment.