In this week’s column, radio man, Osei Kwame, unpacks the ideas of love, communication, and forgiveness via a specific set of childhood experiences —and what kind of adults those experiences groom, ultimately.
Our parents went through a lot in order for us to have it good. In fact, all parents were good at Math, Science, English among other subjects taught in school (If they had the opportunity to go to school) —and they were always top of the class —at least they claimed to be. So how dare you not replicate and even exceed? They were —and still are —perfect. Those are the standards we have to live by. Lol – okay!
If you fall within the age bracket of 25-40, I consider you a part of the “200 Generation”. And what does that mean? Well, you form part of the generation that needs to do a bit more than your parents did to survive when they were about the same age as you (this is due to certain macro-economic changes – but that’s a whole different conversation). Going the extra mile isn’t enough nowadays when someone is doing 10 times better within the same time. This is not to undermine all the hard work or effort of our parents – NOT AT ALL! You’re part of the 200 Generation because of where the world is headed today —as well as our position in that matrix. This article deals with the foundation we got and how that will support our current and future realities as folks who need to do better than our forebears. Let’s take a look at how we were brought up, shall we?
Love is a verb —an action word. It was shown.
I remember love quite differently. Love was when I was getting a beating —it was packaged as discipline. “You know I’m doing this because I love you right?” [*rolls eye and receives the lashes*]. Love was the food on the table. Love was shelter. Love was your school fees being paid on time so you don’t have the school accountant come and call debtors out. Love was AwaDay jollof and chicken. All that love was —and still is —valid, except that most of us didn’t often hear the words exclusive of some long advice or “discipline”.
Love today though… I’m not even sure how that can be defined. All I know is, it has gone through a lot of “updates”, with an increasing variety of “operating systems”. Speaking of language, have you ever tried to tell your child “I love you” in your local language? How did that roll off your tongue? Weird, right?
Have you ever thought about how all the kind of love you had growing up has affected your emotional intelligence? Do you even know what emotional intelligence is? The world now thrives on that, to help navigate this big maze of human interaction. You cannot give what you don’t have. This is your 200 on love. Let it marinate and spark a new adventure in you; love.
Once upon a time, my dad sat me down after an argument we had had the day before, and admitted he was wrong. He had come to that realization after giving the issue some thought.
Which storybook did that come from? Our parents were never wrong. Even when they issued exaggerated punishments in the heat of the moment, the words “I’m sorry, please forgive me” were like square wheels climbing a slippery hill. If you were lucky, guilt would make them grant you a wish (terms and conditions applied).
This, of course, has made it difficult for most of us to admit our faults and apologize. We spent so much time explaining ourselves to reduce our “sentence” than admitting, apologizing, and possibly escaping that which we were dreading in the first place.
It has also made it difficult for some of us to forgive. To let things go. We don’t know how liberating that can be for us. We can all admit that, this is one of the most difficult things humans have to deal with. I for one didn’t even know until quite late in my adult years that one can and should forgive him/herself for certain choices that result in hurt.
Sure everyone has skeletons in their closet. But what happens when the closet is full and you’re stuck leaning against it to avoid an overspill. Remember, the closet space varies from person to person. Before you self-destruct, there’s an actual way to deal with this if you’re brave enough. Find your support system and shed some weight. This is your 200 on FORGIVENESS. Let it marinate and spark a new adventure in you; FORGIVE.
I’m not even sure how to approach this one —the irony of trying to communicate my thoughts on communication and struggling to do so. That’s true of me, I must admit —that I find it difficult to describe how I feel. The bigger reason is I’m afraid. I’m afraid you may not understand. I’m afraid it might not be well accepted. I’m afraid you’ll judge and I’ll be left worse of than I begun. I’m afraid you may complicate things by trying to help. And that is very frustrating, so I’d rather not. Unhealthy, I know.
Growing up, we were allowed very few emotions, and these were very simple to communicate. We didn’t have to speak about them. Happiness could be seen, and so was sadness, fear, pain etc.
Navigating these emotional plains have become more complex over the years as we have come to discover, because we didn’t talk about them. The truth is, apart from happiness, all the other emotions are weigh-downs —they literally drain us. It’s like hanging from a cliff with a boulder chained to your leg; one which gets bigger as we pile on these negative emotions.
Crap! This is getting heavy! But heavy is fine. Heavy is fine when we’re assured a safety net. Some cushioning at the bottom of the seemingly bottomless cliff. We were talked at. We were talked to. We were told to stop overreacting; “negative emotions are weak. Grow up!” And so here we are, walking time bombs and stress balls going with the tide till we clock out. Saddest thing you will hear today is that your negative emotions aren’t valid…that which you speak of is all in the mind. It’s UNAFRICAN.
So we continue living with the biggest lie. “I’m fine”. And I’ll be the one to say I’m not fine. I’m choosing a longer happier life.
Love. Forgiveness. Communication.
These are all things I’m struggling with because of the foundation I had. I’m willing to go on this new adventure of not making things difficult for those who come after me. I’m willing to learn and teach. I’m willing to make mistakes. I’m ready to grow. The only way we can do this is to have conversations among ourselves; to review all that we’ve been doing, and find smarter ways to adapt them to where where we’re going.
I’m ready for this new adventure!