I remember some decades ago as a little child who came from one of the country sides in my native homeland. I was always excited about going on holidays. Going to spend a few weeks in a major city in my country was as exciting as being given a surprise monetary package. In those interesting days, going to the city even for one day was a rare opportunity. So, when the privilege comes, the little children in the house jump at it like a magnetic force.
The night before the journey was always full of frenzy; we had sleepless nights, overjoyed that we were going to ride on beautiful coaches. To gather our clothing, we needed no external motivation; luggage was neatly packed and well arranged without any adult assistance. As early as 5.00am, we will be awake to have our bath; a corner in front of the house was our bathroom. In those days and till date, so many people didn’t have places they call proper bathrooms.
On our way to the big city, we would read the contents of all the billboards on the highway. When I look back, I do wonder how we were able to learn and grasp academic understanding, because if the findings of Psychology research were to be put into consideration, we wouldn’t be counted among the living. These days, when I ponder, I do wonder why those who exist in the city of the living make excuses for not getting out of the bottom of life. I have come to realise that the human philosophy create ghettoes out of the city in order to make excuses for dying. Sometimes, people carve a sympathy statue out of the mahogany of existence to promote a stupendous indolence. There are those who are comfortable dwelling in the pit of life because that is where their resources come from. How can a child in the Western world not be able to read and write? Which excuses can be made for a person exposed to all the technologies of education, yet unable to spell Jack? Some people come in the name of experts to explain what their conscience knows, shouldn’t be explained. The worst School in Peckham in terms of facilities is better than most of the best Schools in Africa, yet, the African child will come out fighting but the European or American child who may even be of African descent will step out mourning. In that scenario, parents blame the government, and the government blame the teachers. My belief is that the foundation of character is what determines the construction of life. When the home is weak, the child will be weak; when parents neglect discipline, the outcome of their action disciplines them in a pitiable way. If you don’t whip the mind of a child, the mind of that child will whip him when he grows up.
Back to the journey, arriving at the city was always fun…big big fun. For children who weren’t used to watching television because there was none, beholding that rectangular box was like having a vision of the third heaven. We watched almost everything on television including listening to news that we didn’t understand and watching American movies that we couldn’t pick the accent. In my days as a child, parents were confident of what their children saw on television; there was hardly any parental control. Unlike these days, civilisation has overtaken common sense; you even have to be wary of the commercials that your children watch on the screen. In a bid to win the audience, nudity has become an attractive force in the field of advertising. Don’t even mention the movies because there is a complete loss of sanity. Talking about sanity, the culture of dressing has become the culture of nakedness; the mindset that if you’re not naked you’re not beautiful is evil. We should realise that true beauty is not measured on the scale of nudity; true beauty is the beauty of the heart expressed in godly character.
Weekends in the city were always exciting and full of expectations. One of the things I loved most during weekends was us being taken to some top class supermarkets for window shopping. My interest in those superstores was because of the escalators; I loved escalators because they gave me goose pimples. It was always frightening to go on the escalator since we weren’t used to it. So, before climbing, we needed to do some mental motivation in order to gather the momentum just to go on an escalator. When I compare the children in some parts of Asia and Africa with those in the west, the variance in the standard of living is beyond my mathematical comprehension. Most children in the west don’t appreciate what they have. I reflect on that anytime I force my children to eat breakfast or some healthy fruits. I always wonder why a child should cry because he or she was asked to eat. When I see that happen, the first thought that comes to my mind is, ‘There are children today who are dying of starvation and malnutrition. There are people now as we sit or stand, that are praying to God almighty to have a meal’. I can never forget the message that one of my musician friends posted on Facebook. He said, while walking through one of the streets in an Angolan town eating dried fish, as he threw the bone on the ground, a little child rushed down to pick it up and started eating. He said ‘I started weeping’.
As we take a walk through the streets of life, we should realise that there are people presently eating out of the vomit of others. We must not take the privileges we have for granted. It is so easy to lose focus when you’re in a state of comfort. A times, when I see ignorant people tell the Africans, Asians or other immigrants to go back to their countries, I just say to myself, ‘ they’ve never been there; they may never be there. It takes those who are there to know what it takes to be there’. I say to all who have been there, never forget that you were once there. If you forget the genesis, you can’t get the revelation. If you forget the background, you can’t get the colour right; if you do not get it right, your finishing touches will be dismal.
Hey, I’m not scared of the escalator, which is why I will always stick my head out to stand for what I believe. Don’t be lost in transit, otherwise you won’t get to your desired destination. The destination of life must be the basis of our existence. The destination of life must be our focus as we fly on the jet to the place of purpose. Are you scared of the escalator?