What happens when charity does not begin at home, but comes to the homestead to die? When the wrong ideas are cemented, the wrong impulses are encouraged and the wrong benchmarks are set? What happens when the parameters by which “success” is defined are those that are detrimental to any within the sphere of influence who do not share the same bloodlines? What happens when individuals are reared like crabs in a bucket, taught to grab and claw at their counterparts and use them as stepping-stones and stairs in the ultimate climb to the top? What happens when a nation is comprised of a populace raised on the aforementioned principles?
What happens when we teach our children to cut corners? To pay extra instead of queuing. To buy on the black market instead of waiting in line. To secure their results through tips and bribes round the back end instead of investing the time and resources into learning the material. To come back to their parents to leverage off their acquaintances and nepotism instead of going through application processes. To value who they know above their requisite knowledge. To consider their self worth a direct measure of how much money is in their family’s coffers. To choose their career path based on the accessible budget of the ministry, department, agency or organization. To consider their spirituality and relationship with God to be determined on how well they dress to their house of worship, how fluently they speak in tongues or whether or not they plant enough seeds to sustain a religious forest all on their own might. What happens then?
Do they somewhere along the line drown out the training and rearing they have received and listen to their conscience that has been violently silenced for almost two decades? Do they from somewhere within determine that the value of an individual is greater than his or her net worth, deeper than their pockets or connections and more meaningful than “getting ahead in life.” Do they begin to seek solutions for those that are not comfortable or confident enough to do it for themselves?
This is hardly the case. More than likely charity has been buried beneath the rubble of their own morality and so they grow up to be policemen who abide by their own rules and set the penalties for “offences” based on their current private needs and whims. They grow up to be politicians who plunder the resources put aside for their people. They grow up to be Presidents who do not spare a thought for the policies and projects that will benefit the masses, but pursue programs that will secure ties with the high and mighty and merit return favors in the near future. They grow up to be employers who are comfortable owing their employees months of back pay while they break their backs with work. They turn out to be lecturers who give the highest grades to the highest bidders. They turn out to be husbands and wives whose fidelity can be bought and sold based on silver and satisfaction and gold.
They do not question why tips are given in foreign currencies while the strength of their own monies wane. They do not ask why people are allowed to reign with terror over their own offices, staff and families exhibiting behavior that would be deemed insane overseas. They do not question why young children weave between expensive vehicles selling them goods in traffic while their own children are safely seated in school. They do not wonder why the cost of goods is so high yet the minimum wage is so low. They do not wonder how the other 99% get by; instead they concern themselves with how to be the top 1% of the 1%. They worry about how to secure a bigger title, which will afford them less work and more opportunities.
They grow up to be people who are oblivious to when a revolution is desperately needed, ones who are never inspired to be the change they want to see in the world. In fact, they grow up lacking the desire for change. They do not want to change the rotting system in which they reside; they simply want to change their status – to upgrade from the oppressed to the oppressor – from the oppressor to the ultimate intimidator. They look to those they know are doing wrong with a misplaced sense of reverence hoping to one day occupy that position that grants access to more possessions. They hope to be able to sew bigger agbadas (sp.) with richer fabrics and deeper pockets that can carry more dollars and euros as they slump in first class seats on yet another undocumented trip overseas.
The extreme majority within this “upper class minority” grow up to be those that suffocate the few good men, stealing their hope, frustrating their efforts to make a difference and gnawing away at their resolve. They grow up to be those that have access to the change agents yet focus their attentions on discussions over trips taken with stolen funds, items purchased on project budgets, lives salaciously lived with little to no loyalty or faithfulness to neither man nor beast. Those who are “not as bad” grow up to be complacent or simply flee to other countries where they can live middle class lives filled with order and morality, far from the inequities of their own nationality.
They grow up to be a third world nation whose champagne consumption rivals and surpasses that of seasoned veterans with reasons to celebrate. A developing country who owns and operates and sells every new fangled device yet refuses to develop simple methods to feed their starving population. They grow up to be the grown ups who rise up and push down, oppressing those below and clawing away at them with hardly a thought or a glance as they seek to amass more wealth and care solely for their own circumstance. They grow up to be greedy, misguided and worst of all – bad parents who pass on these practices and pollute the next generation – raising up another tier who will tear down those around them.
Photo Credit: http://www.scottgustafson.com/Gallery_LEP_A1.html