There’s been many instances where I simply tell Stories about my experiences and those of others around me. These narratives go a long way to reinforce principles and ethics that stir up the right conversation for needed action.
After all, people don’t buy into our products and services but the unique stories we share about the journey thus far. This is what set brands, government and people apart.
My niece called upon arrival at her National Youth Service Corp posting in the south western part of Nigeria against her desire to serve in Abuja FCT.
She was told when she made enquiries about redeployment that unless she is pregnant or have a pre-existing medical condition she can never be redeployed.
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When she insisted, the lady in charge sent her to the camp director. This was obviously a fool’s errand but being naive she proceeded to further her enquiries on her desire. The man laughed after listening to her request reiterating that he has spent 20 years in service and have seen many redeploy to be in the state. He dismissed her after making her know how futile her desire was.
Heartbroken, she called and narrated her ordeal but having seen that perspective was missing I weighed in. I made her understand that people in public service are hardly appreciated for their work. For the man to mention this, there is a path there to make the best of the situation without taking undue advantage.
I counseled that she must return to the office and admit her ignorance. First of all, youth service is a programe that helps youth trigger national integration from within. It is an opportunity for most to develop that zeal to contribute to society and understand the complexity of the people in Nigeria. So you don’t always get to choose where you serve in public service. You simply get posted.
It is clear that the Director in question wasn’t from that state either and here he was talking about 20 years of meritorious service. 20 years of watching random youth come and go in batches to become all they have ever dreamt afterwards, while he keeps his routine. I mandated her to commend this as inspirational enough to consider staying there to discover the magic the man is already benefitting from.
In her words she told him “Sir, I appreciate your fatherly counsel and I must have been selfish and naive to want my own comfort within an opportunity to serve my nation. I hope you will forgive this. I know a lot is competing for your time but do allow me to appreciate your carefully curated construct on your meritorious service in a state that is not your home. This is a point of inspiration for me and I would very much love to have my own epiphany here just as you have in my one year stint. I will stay and put in my best.”
She turned to walk away when the man called her back, thrilled and astonished by the words he could only wish was from his own daughter. “You are such a bright young lady and I must say that your words moved me to my core. I will have you know that your stay here will be pleasant and we will do all that we can to ensure you have positive stories to tell.”
It was a win-win for all.
Sometimes, we forget that everyone needs love. Showing that we care matters a great deal. Our words are far more powerful than we know and can melt the heart of the most diabolical amongst us. We must always admit that we don’t know enough instead of giving in to cognitive dissonance or prejudices.
It is one thing to know enough to get the job done, earn a salary and pay bills but we must exert ourselves beyond the comfort zone to a point in the realm of the unknown. This is where fulfillment lies. This is where we learn more about a spot within our soul we never knew was there.
Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician and physicist who lived from 1642-1727. The legend is that Newton discovered Gravity when he saw a falling apple while thinking about the forces of nature. Do you know how many years it took before the world finally agreed with Isaac Newton on Gravity?
What are we doing about the evidence related to abduction, incarceration, intimidation, extortion, Armed robbery and kidnapping of our youth across Nigeria by those meant to serve and protect them? What actions are we taking to ensure our youth are safe to live and thrive on our soil just as free as the children of corrupt public officials do on foreign soil?
What exactly are we contributing to ensure that we enlighten the public on political literacy in order to inform them on the choice of leadership? How are we going about raising a critical mass of transformational leaders and enlightened followers who are easy to govern, difficult to rule and impossible to enslave?
Where exactly did you stop learning? When did you conclude you have learnt enough about everything around you? When did you decide to use the Gavel at every point you see anything that seem familiar? Do you know about the innovation in your part of town taking the world by a storm?
Do you know how impressive the new music coming from Nigeria is to the world? There will always be too much to choose from and too little time. But of a truth no one knows it all. We can never know enough and must learn to see the world through the eyes of others.
Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to Love once you’ve heard their story.
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