How 20-yr-old mum of triplets lost 2 ba­bies

Weekly Trust - - SportXtra - BACK-HAND

As al­ways with this Col­umn, it some­times es­chews this mur­der­ous pol­i­tics of ours, and even our eco­nomic and se­cu­rity tra­vails, and tra­verses the up­lift­ing and in­spi­ra­tional paths of oldage and mod­ern-day wis­dom. This week’s of­fer­ing is of a story that is still mak­ing the rounds in cy­berspace - what the so­cial me­dia mi­lieu would call ‘gone vi­ral’. And it is about at­ti­tude, some­thing your Columnist is a stu­dent of, hav­ing worked as At­ti­tu­di­nal and Be­havioural Change Czar for some years past.

The fact that I got this (and many sim­i­lar) sto­ries from more than a hun­dred dif­fer­ent sources says a lot about it; many peo­ple have read it and feel good about it enough to share it with oth­ers. And be­cause the Col­umn has many tra­di­tional fol­low­ers who are not so­cial me­dia-savvy, it would be a so­cial ser­vice to ‘for­ward’ to them. And we can be as­sured that each one of us will learn a les­son or two.

On this and sim­i­lar sto­ries, we some­times don’t even bother in­ves­ti­gat­ing who re­ally are the orig­i­nal au­thors of th­ese ‘think pieces’, the real sages, as the so­cial me­dia (and es­pe­cially the prac­ti­tion­ers) are no­to­ri­ous for ap­pro­pri­at­ing some­one else’s cre­ative out­put. But as we are only af­ter the lessons con­tained therein, we will just wish all of them (orig­i­nal au­thors) divine re­wards.

The story, which we choose to call “From Fa­ther to Son, A Les­son”, will strike a chord in many a fa­ther’s heart and mind, as it will also strike a big­ger one on a con­scious child’s psy­che. Al­most all of us fa­thers have sim­i­lar sons - dis­agree­able, re­bel­lious, stub­born. And that is their na­ture. Be­cause that is their age.

The story has been edited for space and lo­cal­i­sa­tion. En­joy:

The home is typ­i­cal mid­dle-class. The fresh grad­u­ate son (who is just over his teenage years) is tired of ev­ery­thing - the par­ents, the sib­lings, the house, the school. “You are leav­ing the room with­out switch­ing off the fan”, he could hear his fa­ther’s voice nag­ging him again. “The TV is on in the liv­ing room where there is no one seated. Switch it off! And keep the pen in its stand; it has fallen down.”

The son didn’t like his fa­ther nag­ging him for th­ese ‘mi­nor’ things. He was only be­ing tol­er­ant of all th­ese ‘in­sults’ since he still lived in the same house with this both­er­some man, as that’s what he thought of his fa­ther. But to­day, how­ever, he has an in­vi­ta­tion for a job in­ter­view, so he would do as di­rected in or­der to re­main calm and com­posed. “As soon as I get the job,” he thought to him­self, “I would leave this house and th­ese peo­ple. There won’t be any nag­ging again from my fa­ther.”

On the in­ter­view, the fa­ther ad­vised the son: “An­swer the ques­tions put to you with­out any hes­i­ta­tion. Even if you don’t know the an­swer, men­tion that con­fi­dently.” The fa­ther also gave him more money than he ac­tu­ally needed to at­tend the in­ter­view.

The son left and soon reached the in­ter­view venue. There was no se­cu­rity per­son out­side or in­side the gate, even though the door was open. But the door’s metal latch was pro­trud­ing, and could prob­a­bly hit the peo­ple en­ter­ing through the door. With­out prompt­ing, the young man put the latch back in prop­erly, closed the door and en­tered the premises. On both sides of the path­way he could see beau­ti­ful flow­ers be­ing wa­tered, but the gar­dener had kept the water run­ning longer than nec­es­sary as the hose was ooz­ing water which was even over­flow­ing onto the path­way. The gar­dener was nowhere to be found. Again with­out prompt­ing, the young man switched off the tap and ad­justed the hose and went fur­ther on his way.

There was no one in the re­cep­tion area, but there was a no­tice say­ing the in­ter­view was on the first floor. He climbed up, notic­ing the lights were still on - at 10am! He re­mem­bered his fa­ther’s ad­mo­ni­tion, “Why are you leav­ing the room with­out switch­ing off the light?” and thought he could still hear that nag­ging voice now. Even though he felt ir­ri­tated by that thought, he sought the switch and turned off the lights.

Up­stairs in a large hall he could see many as­pi­rants sit­ting, wait­ing for their turn for the in­ter­view. He looked at the num­ber of ap­pli­cants and won­dered if he had any chance of get­ting the job. He en­tered the hall with some trep­i­da­tion and stepped onto the “Wel­come” mat placed near the door. He no­ticed that it was up­side down, so he made it right although with some ir­ri­ta­tion. Habits die hard.

He also no­ticed that all the ap­pli­cants were seated in the front rows, and the back rows were empty. But then a num­ber of ceil­ing fans were run­ning over those rows of empty seats. He heard his fa­ther’s voice again, “Why are the fans run­ning in the room where there is no one?” It had be­come sec­ond na­ture, de­spite him­self, so he sought the switches again and switched off the fans that were not needed. He then sat on one of the empty chairs.

He could see many ap­pli­cants en­ter­ing the in­ter­view room and leav­ing al­most im­me­di­ately from an­other door. There was thus no way any­one could guess what was be­ing asked. Fi­nally, his name was called. He went in and stood be­fore the in­ter­viewer with some trep­i­da­tion and con­cern. He was asked to sit while one of the in­ter­view­ers took his cer­tifi­cates. But with­out even look­ing at the doc­u­ments, some­one who looked like he was chair­man of the panel asked him, “When can you start work?”

He thought, “Is this a trick ques­tion ev­ery­one is be­ing asked at the in­ter­view, for them to gauge your desperation? Or per­haps it is what I think it is - a real of­fer of a job?” He was might­ily con­fused.

“What are you think­ing?” asked the boss. “We didn’t ask any­one any ques­tion here. By ask­ing a few ques­tions we won’t be able to as­sess the skills of any­one. So our test was to as­sess the at­ti­tude of the per­son. We kept cer­tain tests based on the be­hav­iour of all the can­di­dates and we ob­served ev­ery­one through CCTV. No one who came in to­day did any­thing to set right the door latch, the water hose, the Wel­come mat, the un­nec­es­sar­ily run­ning fans and the lights. You were the only one who did that. That’s why we have de­cided to select you for the job”, said the boss.

The young man nearly fainted. He was al­ways used to get­ting ir­ri­tated at his fa­ther’s dis­ci­pline and re­mon­stra­tions. Now he re­alised that it is that same dis­ci­pline that has got­ten him this job. His ir­ri­ta­tion and anger at his fa­ther im­me­di­ately evap­o­rated. He ut­tered a silent prayer for his fa­ther. What a good man his fa­ther was, is, and will ever be, he thought. He left for home a very happy and gain­fully em­ployed young man.

So then, a fa­ther may be a son’s teacher when the child is five; he may be a vil­lain in the mind of some chil­dren when they be­come teenagers; and then he be­comes a guide­post to re­mem­ber when he is no longer alive. Some­times when it’s too late.

All cul­tures are used to see­ing moth­ers go­ing to live in her daugh­ter’s or son’s home when she is old; but the fa­ther doesn’t know how to do that. He is al­ways in­de­pen­dent and alone. So don’t hurt him. Don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt a fa­ther.

And at­ti­tude is ev­ery­thing!

Printed and pub­lished by Me­dia Trust Lim­ited. 20 P.O.W Mafemi Cres­cent, off Solomon Lar Way, Utako District, Abuja. Tel: 09033477994. Acme Road, (Tex­tile Labour House), Agid­ingbi - Ikeja, Tel: 09033103802. Abdussalam Ziza House, A9 Mogadishu City Cen­ter,

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