I missed the last week's Newsletter and couldn't share yesterday's as well.
So, instead of waiting till next Thursday, I decided to share it today. Isn't that a fine way to end the week? 😉
So, here we go:
When you see an elderly with loads and assist them;
when you often greet the elders you meet, known and unknown; and bow while greeting them;
When you respect the feelings of your friends and never quarrel with anyone;
when you avoid argument or combat even when you'd win or you're right;
When you respect the elderly and honour the young ones;
then you are an Ọmọlúàbí: a paragon of excellence in character.
We can translate Ọmọlúàbí to mean gentleman or lady. My guardian once broke it down to mean “Ọmọ àwa labi i,” that is, "a child we all birth." That's because when you're polite and reverent, you're a child of everyone.
Akintunde Akinade, a Professor of Theology at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar wrote in his article titled “Omoluabi: The heart and soul of being human:”
“Baba Adebayo Faleti described an omoluabi as a gentleman. This perspective resonates with what Confucius described as a Chuntzu (ideal man) and Aristole’s notion of a magnanimous man. The principle of omoluabi also enjoins people to deeply think about the consequences of their actions for eni ti ko fe wo akisa, kii ba aja se ere e gele—if you don’t want to end up in tatters, don’t play rough with a dog. This saying underscores the fact that actions have their karmic consequences.”
Being a gentleman doesn't mean you tolerate bunk and nonsense. But it means you're selective in your battle. Because why not? One who doesn't talk, does not commit misstatement.
And there is no wokeness in being rude and irreverent. Natural law is the root of every man-made laws. And morality is the root of natural law. Whoever in the name of civilization jettison morality may find himself tangled in the twigs of tussle.
Taking it further, for the upright, their good personality alone is a sales hack. Please, find me if I'm missing my way. This is what I mean: You don't sound rude to me and expect me to buy from you.
The unfortunate thing here is that the less privileged who should be humble are found wicked. As a lawyer, I've seen and met a number of them in the cause of doing my job. The hoi polloi whom various social activists and NGO's often fight for their well-being are caught in the web of crime and immorality.
Crime aside, it may be argued that it's a butterfly effect of the dysfunctional governance that reeks of ineptitude. But nothing should justify crime. It would sound reasonable until one becomes a victim.
A Yahoo Boy (internet fraudster) apologist on my street was duped last week. When I was told, I asked him: “How does it feel?” Well, that's a discourse for another day. Being Ọmọlúàbí is the discourse, and in fact, does a cyber criminal not defy morality?
Bringing it back to the less privileged, many of those at the base of society's ladder are so impolite in the way they relate with people.
Some weekends back when I visited mum at home, I went out urgently with an old palm slippers I've abandoned. Because a part is weak, to prevent it from loosening off, I stopped by a cobbler to mend it, who billed me ₦50. I persuaded him for ₦30 and his reaction was so absurd.
Him: “You should have priced it at ₦1 na.”
Me: Haa! Oga calm down na. Take that from me.
Him: Leave, leave if you can't pay ₦50
Well, I did 🌚
Yes, the thing pained me o 🙄
No one should be addressed in that manner. But I shouldn't be seen on the social media exchanging words with someone by the roadside 🙄
I left and mend the palm with another cobbler who actually called it ₦30, and I asked him to gum a little open, and he billed me ₦50 for all. But I paid ₦100.
What about dishonesty?
One day, I was about to enter the mosque for Maghrib (evening prayer) and a boy approached me for something to eat. I told him all I had on me was ₦200 and we should share it in two. I gave him the money and asked him to help bring my change, that I was going to pray. I didn't know him from Adam but trusted him.
I didn't see him after the pray.
After Ishai (the night prayer), one of my juniors at the Madrasah handed me a ₦100 note that a boy asked him to give me. That he pointed at me while I was praying.
I was moved. The boy is a great example of Ọmọlúàbí.
What about lies?
The Yoruba have words for them when they said: "bí ìbẹ̀rù ìṣẹ́ ò bá jẹ́ ká s'òdodo, àìsòdodo ò ní jẹ́ ká bọ́ l'ọ́wọ́ ìṣẹ́. That is: If poverty prevents us from saying the truth. The failure to be truthful will make it difficult for us to escape poverty.
And this goes also to those living fake life on the social media. We know them. We see them. But whose problem is that? It is theirs.
See, branding your business is not the same with overhyping yourself, and lying about what you do not worth. Those who do this ain't gentlemen.
We should all be gentlemen and ladies. Honesty should be our garment. Humility should be our crown. Humanity should be our footwear.
So in my poem titled "Ọmọlúàbí" from my chapbook "Tongueless Secrets," I have this line that says it all:
Cast for a hunter who killed four antelopes
and lied to have killed eight antelopes;
Verily when he's done eating the four antelopes,
He'll consume the remaining four lies.
I hope today's message resonates with you? Tell me in the comment section what's on your mind.
I like this one best. Ẹ kú iṣẹ́.