It was a pleasure to sit and watch my youngest and his team mates work together during their field day in school to eventually come out tops in their little unit with several points ahead.
The previous night, he had been sniffling with a touch of cold and like a mother hen, I had fretted that it might get worse and that he may not be able to participate in his field day and he kept asking for my assurance that he would be fine, so that he can support his team to do well. Well, thankfully, mummy the magician did her best, and here we are.
Amongst that cell of small human bodies, I saw excitement, I saw camaraderie, I saw joy, I saw teamwork and cooperation, but with my jaundiced eye as an adult I also saw black, white, olive and everything in between.
A lot of shrieks and squeals were associated with each score or loss, tugs of war were won and lost, a tear or two shone in bright eyes, but above all things I saw love.
No dissension of voices did I hear, no untoward discrimination did I perceive nor segregation did I observe amongst these young ones. They all supported each other to achieve common goals. I saw bonding and friendship built possibly to last a life time, who knows?
If only we, the adults will hold our peace and not pollute the minds of these little ones, who in their simple-minded innocence are accepting of each other as equals without differentiation.
I remember back in the days when I was growing up as a young lady in the Eastern region of Nigeria, a community of fiercely traditional but hardworking people, I had dared to deviate from the norm to date a non-black gentleman.
I can still recall the askance attitude of supposedly concerned citizens, the gradual sidelining of some so- called friends who had felt that association with me would automatically taint them, the furore that had been associated with my boldness and the rottenness of my behavior for having the audacity to publicly date a white man and the pretentious support of two-faced friends who helped to stoke the fire of my dare-devil reputation; but in all that, what mattered most to me was how I was treated by whoever I chose to date.
It was more important to me to be cared for and respected by the man I chose to date than to fit into a miserable relationship for political correctness, so as not to rock the boat.
I came to realize that those who sought to mold me into their idea of where I should fit in, did not in any way contribute an iota of positivity to my life, nor was their effort done because they sought my happiness.
I got to understand that most time’s, achieving greatness and living your life to the fullness of its capacity, meant ignoring some naysayers, pushing boundaries and adamantly refusing to fit into the round holes created by the limitations of other people’s expectations and simply remaining a square, but happy peg.
I look back in wry amusement and ask myself if I would I do the same today, assuming the clock was rewound? Oh yes! In a heartbeat! I have not changed much in the broadness of my thinking but have matured enough to cut off any foolishness and distracting noise that drains my energy. I choose to live generously and my generosity starts with me.
Life has taught me that the best people in life are not based on their race or otherwise. They are just humans who seek to give their best, changing the World around them in their own little way positively, one day at a time. They are not occupied in segregating their World in little batches of color for reasons better known by them.
Now for my progeny, I will encourage them to see and treat all men as equals. I will encourage them not to see in absolute colors or to be color blind, but to look for the fine shades of gray and pastels in between because that is the way the creator chose it to be; the beauty is in the variety.
© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha