Tales Corner-The Act of Being Careful
Mother planned to prepare Moi Moi that beautiful Saturday. I was excited. I loved the dish and was salivating on how I was going to eat it with pap.
Soon my mother sorted the beans, washed it and poured it in a small plastic bucket. She put all the ingredients and sent me to go and grind it at a place not too far from our house.
I took the bucket of beans, covered it and ran off. One hour later, I did not return. Mother was getting worried so she started looking for me. I met her halfway home with tears dripping down my cheeks. Her eyes asked the question, what happened? I did not know how to respond to her or what to tell her.
I had lost my balance again. She was clearly very angry and I did not blame her. Most times when I’m sent on an errand, I stopped by the road and played with my friends who lived along my street. Warnings from my mother against this act was like pouring water on a stone, because I end up every day doing the same. I was also very careless with things.
I broke the lamp glove twice within a space of one week. I broke the plastic bucket for bathing. I lost my water bottle countless times that mother stopped buying it for me. A ten-year-old destroying all that her hands touched.
My mother was worried. Despite advice from people that I will outgrow it, she needed to teach me lessons. That fateful day was not the first time I lost money due to my carelessness but mother made sure it was my last. She took me home and continued with her cooking. I thought I had escaped. I ran off to continue playing with my friends.
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Soon after the food was done. I was called into the house. As mother dropped each wrap of Moi-moi into the plates, I knew something was wrong. It struck me that the plates were not complete. Soon after she was done, everyone got a share of theirs except me. She looked at me and said, ‘Ehee, there is soup in the pot. Go and boil water for garri. You are not eating this moi-moi’.
I was shocked. Everyone in the house was going to eat the mouth-watering dish except me all because of my carelessness. I cried, I begged but mother would not budge. I ate garri while the rest of my siblings ate Moi-moi.
It may not mean much to you but it meant so much to a ten-year-old. From that day, I tried to be more careful with things not just money. I held my balance tightly in my palms whenever I’m sent on an errand. I washed the plates with care to avoid breaking the ceramic ones. I handled the tumblers with absolute care whenever my father sent me to get one for him. I avoided playing along the road whenever I’m sent on errands. I washed the lamp glove carefully than before. I handled my exercise and textbooks properly to avoid tears. I became reborn.
It is quite annoying when I hear people say ‘ I’m naturally careless, I’m naturally hot-tempered, I’m naturally this or that’. The truth is no one is ‘naturally anything’ especially when it comes to behavior. It’s simple. We learn from what we see, what we read, where we go, who we talk to, even the environment we live in.
One thing is that environment shapes people. Sometimes, the lessons you learn at childhood is what will lead you into adulthood. We didn’t learn everything as soon as we dropped on earth. Not at all. We learned from people around us while growing up; our parents, our guardians, our elderly ones, our teachers, our peers, amongst others. So saying you are naturally careless when you destroy things is a fallacy.
Sometimes we are ‘selectively careful’. We care only about the things that are directly related to us. However, when it comes to things that we involve a general interest – something that is jointly owned or belong to the public, we display all shades of carelessness. That’s why public institutions are the most mismanaged institutions in the country today.
Well, let us not deviate. One thing you should understand however is that being careful is a choice. You have to make that choice and you have to work towards it. It’s not natural.
Carefulness is an act everyone should imbibe in him or her. It’s not inborn. It is practiced and learnt with time. If we all are careful with things that involve not just us but everyone else, things will definitely be better. I’m not a preacher, just saying…
Remember, none of us is leaving here alive!