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LEARNING FROM THEM

Two days ago, Ikem poured a lot of baby powder all over the floor of the room I share with the Mister. Now, the floor of that room is made of shiny wood so the mess made by that was very visible. When I gave Ikem 'the eye', he gave me the cutest smile. I was having none of that so with those eyes still trained on him, I said, "Ikemsinachi, come here." Meanwhile, what is it with mothers saying a child's full name when he's in trouble? I still shudder at the memory of my mum calling out my full name. Anyway, I digress :)
He ran to where I was sitting on the bed and quickly threw his arms around my waist. Next thing I heard him say was, "I wov you." Even as I was struggling not to crack a smile, Ikem started singing Barney's "I love you". I started laughing and forgave him immediately, just like I'm sure he expected me to.
I was impressed as I thought of how my twenty one-month old son completely turned things around in his favour. Then, I wondered how he knew exactly what to do to 'play' me :) In a group chat with my siblings a few minutes later, I told them what Ikem had done and they were all amused. A brother called him a 'player' while another brother said Ikem knew exactly what women needed. My sister said that he's a charmer. When I told the Mister, his response was that I 'play' him in the same way. Me? How can?!!!


Whenever Ikem runs to me after some time at play and calls me "My wov" and then runs off again to continue playing, it certainly charms the socks off me. So, my sister was right; Ikem is a charmer.
I want to believe that he inherited all that charm from me like the Mister suggested ;)
I really pray hard that this son of mine grows up to really understand what women need because it would make his life a lot easier.
However, I refuse to accept that he will be a 'player'. I have chosen to believe that my little boy simply understands the right order of things.
I strongly believe that goodness exists in all of us when we are born. That can be the only explanation for my son knowing, without being taught, what the word of God says.
A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs anger - Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)
There was no way on earth that I would have been even mildly annoyed after his reaction. A little boy who has neither read the Bible nor had the experience of years to teach him wisdom knows something we all should and actually makes a point of putting that knowledge into use. He dishes out the cutest smiles a whole lot and hardly ever has to be reminded to apologize to someone he's offended before he does so. Those smiles melt my heart anytime and when he says "I toyi" and with a hug for added measure, there's no offence I won't forgive him.
So, I'm thinking, "Why don't I borrow a leaf from my little boy?" I've known that particular passage for ages. I even know how to say it in my native Igbo. So, why have I chosen over the years to pretend that I don't know that things often work out for the best when I play charm my way out of sticky situations?
I think the answer lies in the next story.


Nwando comes from generations of meat-lovers. She's exactly like me in a lot of ways and just like the smell of any kind of meat coming from my mother's kitchen, when I was younger, would tease my nostrils till I went in the search of some, it's no different for her too.
"Mummy, something nice is smelling." usually starts the conversation at such times.
Then, "Mummy, are you done frying some of the meat?" would follow.
If I answer in the affirmative, she would then go, "Mummy, please, can I have some meat?" Usually, I would oblige her as many times as she came to badger ask me.
Last night, she was hanging out with her father in the living room while I fried some goat meat in the kitchen for dinner. Soon enough, she was in the kitchen. She quickly sat on a chair and smiling ever so cutely, said to me, "Pretty please, can I have some meat?" That was really amusing but I told her to wait for her meal. Soon, the kitchen was filled with a litany of "Pretty please" which I tuned off at some point.
She must have noticed that because soon, she pouted and said, "I'm not saying 'pretty please' anymore because I can see it's not working." That cracked me up and I had a wild time laughing in the kitchen. She waited for a little while to see if her declaration had worked and when I kept on laughing, she walked off to join the Mister again.
I don't remember which of the Disney Junior characters my three and a half-year old daughter said she learnt 'Pretty please' from. But, lately, she says that a lot when she wants something from me and the I'm-as-sweet-as-candy look on her face, at such moments, seals the deal for her almost all the time.
Nwando clearly understands the power of artful persuasion. She's cheerfully polite as she calls me 'pretty' and because that makes me feel good, I give her what she wants. Hmm, could this smallie be manipulating me or am I such a sucker for good behaviour? Anyway, whatever the reason is, I'll give it to her... she's one smart girl ;)


So, why did Nwando give up since she knows the same thing that Ikem knows? I'm sure it's because she's older than he is and experience has taught her that sometimes, no matter how much you drip with it, charm just won't work. She clearly knows that when I am a certain way, the best thing for her to do is what I have told her to do. On the other hand, if she had persisted a little longer, I want to believe that she would have left the kitchen happier. Unfortunately, so many times, we're jaded by our previous experiences that we just assume that every similar experience would turn out the same way. Often, it makes us lose out on whatever happiness we could have grabbed.
I don't always borrow that leaf from Ikem's book because some of the time, I don't bother to turn on the charm simply because I just don't see why I should. Even when I do, if the results are not coming quickly, I roll my eyes, count my losses and move on. Often, I rationalize away my need to be 'nicer than necessary'. Sometimes, it's because of a real or perceived wrong which makes me wait for another to extend an olive branch. Other times, it's because I think that my olive branch would just be broken into pieces and shoved back at me.


I have learnt again through my little ones that apologizing to someone who I have offended may not change the circumstances but it would, most likely, help them deal with whatever the offense is a lot better. It really doesn't hurt anything, except maybe my pride, to admit that I was wrong about something and render a sincere apology. Since when is pride a good thing, anyway?
I have also been reminded that I should not to let the bias of the past prevent me from stooping to conquer.
Most importantly, it is important to me to preserve their innocence and to teach them that being polite all the time and taking responsibility for their actions is the way to go. So, I make a conscious effort, these days, to accept their apologies for any wrong doing, not with silence, a grunt or even a nod of the head, but by saying loud and clear to them, "It's alright." 
Since I started doing that, I've realized that it really does become alright. The powder would still have to be cleaned off the floor but I would do that without any bitterness, whatsoever.


Seeing very young, untouched-by-the-world children effortlessly live just as God would have each of us be is proof to me that inside each of us is something good that could have been put by only Him. Whether we know Him or not, that thing is there. No matter how far away from Him we've gone, somewhere in the recesses of our spirits, there is a knowledge of exactly how innocent he wants us to be.
And he said, "Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 18:3 (NIV)   





Comments

  1. Nonnie7:27 pm

    D title of this article "Learning From Them" is so perfect for this masterpiece!I sure did enjoy every bit of it.Keep it up Ola!

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  2. somayina7:57 pm

    There certainly is that THING -that GOOD- which God has placed in each one of us. If not, how is it possible that we can identify with the good in a little child?
    It amazes me when my three and a half year old daughter smiles up at her daddy and says stuff like, "I'm so grateful for the swimming pool you went to inflate for me and my brother" or her almost five year old brother saying, "wow mummy, you're a genius!" for helping him find his other shoe. I know I didn't teach her the word, Grateful. But I've learnt from them that some "big" words help to polish and pass our message across better. Cos that her line surely worked wonders on daddy!...and me ;)
    That said, I've started looking for other words (big or small) to "enhance" my conversations, whether it's an apology or a compliment.

    So dear Ola, I'm so "grateful" for this post. You're a "genius!"

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  3. Beautiful, sis! Encore
    I wov you too!!! :*

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  4. nwunye Arinze9:39 pm

    Ur kids are amazing Ola.....We thank God for His gifts....they sure make rich and add no sorrows....nice one

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  5. Brick's Momma4:10 am

    Beautiful write up Ola. I just love †нє way your stories always pass on an important moral/lesson. And yes , your kids are wonderful. They sure reflect †нє hardwork of their father and yourself. Keep it up
    I pray to God to grant us hearts like lil children. I for one, know how many times a past experience prevents me from going ahead, from giving people a 2nd chance. I wanna guard my heart from getting hurt a 2nd time. But †нє sad truth is, everyone deserves a 2nd chance and no matter how much you protect your heart, you must still get hurt. It's all part of life. I wanna be able to say "i toyi" like Ikem or "you haven't been nice to me" like some other kids will say.
    Bless you Olaedo

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  6. coletto5:31 am

    Nwababy at it again. Lovely Ola, pls reserve some goatmeat for me Nwando.

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  7. Simple things we can do to make life more enjoyable for ourselves yet so difficult at times because we let pride get in the way...thanks ola luvly piece and yes the lessons therein.If we all can love,forgive,and apologize like little children,the world would be a better place.not forgetting to thank nwando and Ikem for inspiring mommy to put this together.

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  8. Nonnie; Thanks, dear :)

    Soamyina; Thank you, darling :)My sister, abeg when you learn new words, throw them my way,m nne. I'm also working on 'enhancing' my speech patterns ;)

    Ujuu; Thanks, sis :) I love you to the moon and back, jare.

    Nwunye Arinze; Thanks, love. You know Nwando and Ikem personally so I really appreciate the compliment. to them. Daalu, nne.

    Brick's momma; Thanks, sweetie. Yeah, everyone deserves a second chance, no matter how many times they use up the previous second chance ;)

    Coco; Ne, daalu. Your goat meat dey for freezer ;)

    Noma; Thanks, sis :)I'm still learning all these plenty lessons too o. E dey hard sometimes but 'yes, I can!':)

    Rowzlyn; Thank, dear :)

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  9. Beautiful ! Insightful! As usual. I always look forward to your articles. Jisie ike ezigbo m.

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  10. Oge, thanks, dear. Ndewo, nwanyi oma :)

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  11. Aww Ola, u r blessed wit such beautiful kids, nice one!!

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  12. Ng; Thanks, sis. Yes, I am blessed, that's for sure :)

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  13. Awwwwww. What we wouldn't learn from the little ones, if we just slow down for a minute and observe/listen to them. Jisike, Ola.

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  14. Daalu, nwanne m nwanyi. Yeah, if only we stopped once in a while and observed them...

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  15. emeka ojukwu esq.6:22 am

    We ll keep learning from them. Thanks. I celebrate you.

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  16. Emeka; Thanks so much, dear.

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