Every state of our being as a human is formed by lessons learnt.
The impact of life’s lessons taught a young mind especially through their parents and primary educators are very profound and these teachings can be compared to the art of weaving a basket, where, if the weaver does a careless job, everything unravels and must be started again.
However, if the weaver pays attention and does a careful job, their end product is a fine basket.
In the case of children, sometimes the shoddy, careless job of upbringing can leave negative indelible marks that takes ages to obliterate, if ever at all.
It is only now as a full grown mother of my own children, that I begin to understand and appreciate the numerous lessons that my parents painstakingly tried to drum home into me and I cannot thank them enough for caring about how I turned out as a human being.
Over the years and so many times in a day, an idiom or parable that my late dad said would simply repeat itself in my head.
Sometimes in such an eerie manner that I would feel as if he was right there with me.
To buttress a point he would say things like:
“When you know how to pound, you pound in the mortar, when you fail to learn how to pound, you end up pounding on the floor.”
“When a word is tossed at a sensible person, he takes it and pockets it for later use, but when a word is tossed at a profligate, he tosses it away and remains ever foolish.”
”You had better start looking for your black sheep before nighttime, otherwise, in the darkness of the night, you will not be able to recognize it.”
“A bad market day is recognized early in the morning.”
”You cannot carry a good head of palm fruit to pound in a leaking mortar.”
“You cannot plant corn and expect to harvest okra.”
On my mother’s part, she would elaborate her lessons with a dramatic flair sometimes:
“Whatsoever you do, to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” (in a sing-song voice).
”For a broom to sweep well, it must be bound with others. A lone broom stick cannot sweep a grain of sand.” (with a bound broom in her hand for demonstration).
“An okra plant can never grow taller than the planter. The planter can always bend it to harvest it’s fruits.” (the bending of a suitable item would be done with flourish).
Many lessons on contentment, generosity, integrity, hard work, love, kindness, belief, responsibility, admitting your mistakes, forgiveness, caring, humility, commitment, boldness, confidence, overcoming difficulties, living within your means, honesty, to seek God, values and so much more were taught. Now as I grow older, I understand it better.
As an adult, my surviving parent remains my best confidant and counselor. Her words are gemstones.
Mum and dad were far from perfect but they tried their very best.
The lessons learnt paved way to who I am today and who I will become tomorrow.
© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha
In response to NaBloPoMo prompt – Thursday, November 5
What is the most important lesson you learned as a child, and who taught it to you?