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Some days ago, I had a really busy day and by night time, all I wanted was to send the kids off to bed and put my feet up. However, I was running a little late on their bedtime schedule and, since I didn’t want any mealtime drama, I decided on fixing them really fast food for dinner.
Nwando wanted the egg sandwich I offered, while the little boss man wanted some cereal instead.
Soon the sandwich was ready and immediately she took the first bite, she said, “Mummy, everything you cook is delicious. That makes me think you’re special.”

I wasn’t exactly surprised by that declaration, because she says such things a lot of the time. However, because I hadn’t been expecting it, it was an awww moment for me. Grinning from ear to ear, I came to her, hugged and kissed her and was rewarded with a huge smile.
Ikem was not to be outdone. He immediately stopped riding around on a tricycle and said, “Mummy, thank you for making Cerelac for me.”
Since he started talking a lot clearer, it’s always a delight to hold conversations with him, not only because he’s always certain of what he wants; but, because he mimics us a lot.
I hadn’t made his cereal yet. Infact, I was holding a plate with the dry cereal inside at the time. But, I rewarded him with a smile, a hug and a kiss too.

When I went back to the kitchen to fix his food, I still wore a smile on my face. Even though I had been thinking about me when I decided to get dinner over with really quickly, I felt really pleased at their reactions. It struck me then, how such seemingly insignificant incidents could give me immense pleasure.
I hadn’t even made anything special for them. The egg for Nwando’s sandwich was actually extra from the batch I made for the Mister’s dinner. I had only decided to use it, just to save time.
She didn’t know that, though. But, even if she had, I’m certain that I, most likely, would have got a reaction like, “Mummy, you see, it was a great idea giving me the eggs.”
That’s who she is and how she talks a lot of the time.

Suddenly, I was no longer in a hurry as I fixed Ikem’s dinner and soon, I found myself singing one of Barney’s songs in my heart:
He’s talking ‘bout please and thank you
They’re called the magic words.
If you want nice things to happen,
They’re the words that should be heard.
Remember please and thank you
‘Cause they’re the magic words

When Nwando and Ikem were really young, this song came in handy when teaching them the importance of being polite. The fact that Barney echoes what mummy says on the subject makes it a lot easier for them to accept it as law.
However, I understand that it’s also important for me to teach them that speaking to people in a proper manner goes way beyond saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to them.
So many times, we take people for granted, especially when we think they’re doing their jobs. We often forget that, just like us, they are human and would feel the pleasure kind words bring.

The help at home may be earning a salary, but, a kind word here and there might just make her love you and her job. The reason she acts out sometimes, might be that she misses her family; just as you would if you were in her shoes.
Before you yell at her again for being clumsy, while using one of your numerous gadgets, maybe you should remember that she came from a world where none of them existed.
The difference between both worlds might just be overwhelming to her, that’s all.

That colleague, whose work is less than stellar, might just relax enough to do a better job, if you didn’t speak so condescendingly to him.
Maybe, if you praise him the few times he gets it right, he just might be eager to get it right more often.
If you stopped being the one who never praised your subordinates, but is quick to point out their flaws, you’ll stop wondering if they meant all those nice things they signed on your birthday card.

The fact that sarcasm comes naturally to you doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt people.
I know it must be really hard for you to speak in a less insolent manner, but you could give it a try, couldn’t you?
‘Please’ contains only six letters, while ‘Thank you’ is just two words. Come on, they can’t be that hard to say!
Hmmm, you didn’t like how I just sounded, did you?
Did all that sugar-coated insolence offend you?
Oh, well… the boot is merely on the other foot.

The truth is that, we are usually pleased when people praise us or say nice things to us. Even when we try to pretend that their words mean nothing to us, we are secretly chuffed.
However, a lot of the time, we forget that other people would feel the same pleasure if we were to give a little of ourselves to them.
Many times, they do not hear words of encouragement from us. Instead, we insult them overtly and covertly, we point out their errors and we continuously put them down.

Recently, something I found offensive happened and while I was ranting emphatically expressing my displeasure, Ikem frowned at me and said repeatedly, “Mummy, don’t talk in that manner!”
Even though I heard him, at that time, it didn’t really sink in because I was on a roll. But, by the time I was calmer, I was ashamed that a little boy had to remind me to walk the talk. To him, it wasn’t enough, to have me say that to him and his sister, without doing the same thing.
It suddenly didn’t matter that I had been wronged. What mattered was that regardless of how I felt at the time, it was necessary that my words not be offensive too.

He might be only a few months past two-years; but, he already knows that what I say doesn’t count if it doesn’t tally with what I do. No matter how I feel about that, it is what it is.
The knowledge that I fight for myself, when I strive to be a better person, spurs me on. But, the realization that I fight also for my children, scares me a lot because sometimes, those boots are just too big to wear. I am a role model to them, whether I’m up to the task or not.

It’s not enough for Barney and me to sing such idealistic songs to them if I have no plans of following through.
It’s definitely not enough for me to always say, “Don’t talk in that manner!” and in such a superior tone, if I fail to live up to that standard.
It’s not enough to feel pleased when someone’s words are kind, if I have no intentions of passing on that kindness.
It’s not enough if friends and acquaintances hear me say the right things and think my words pleasant, if my family does not share that same opinion.
I have realized that I feel pleasure too when I know that I have brought someone pleasure so, why deny myself that?

Every language is made up of both beautiful and ugly words. No matter which you speak, may the words you choose be those which are truly magical in their ability to transform both the speaker and the hearer.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12: 18 (NIV)


  1. Nikyie7:01 pm

    This makes a nice and inspiring read, Thumbs up Olaedo!!!

  2. So on point. A kind word goes a really long way!

    Great post!

    And oh, one has not arrived as a mother is your offspring didnt say "Mummy, everything you cook is delicious!" Proud moment right there!

  3. Anonymous8:19 pm

    This is truly inspiring! God bless u dear for blessing us!

  4. "Please and Thank you"truely magical words

  5. hmm nice one ola,we all should learn to walk the talk.this is a reminder.i enjoyed reading this my friend.

  6. Nwachinaemelu12:06 pm

    Very true.

  7. Nikyie; Thanks a lot :)

    Hazel; Thanks, dear.
    Nne, that was a proud moment, alright ;)

    Anon 20:19; Thank you :) God bless you too!

    Rowzlyn; Yes, there definitely are :)

    Noma; Thanks, dear :)
    It's a reminder for me too.

    Nwachinaemelu; :) :)

  8. As Parents we should always practice what we preach...... Cos they actually look up to us, God help me!!!. Ola nice read as usual.

  9. Sugar; You're so right, dear. God helps us all!

  10. Awesome post. As usual.

    This piece is so real; so much that I feel like I am there with you, thinking all these thoughts and learning all the lessons. Personally, I have found that humility can get you almost anything; and 'please' and 'thank you' are very powerful instruments that come with a humble heart. And of course, the third is 'I am sorry', an expression you have also subtly dealt with in another post.

    I love your family, and your life! Keep churning out amazing pieces!

  11. Samueel; Thanks so much! I appreciate your comment :)

  12. Anonymous3:46 am

    Chai Nwababy, the life of a mother! Sharp breakfast somedays! Lollllzzz. Always enjoy ur write up anyday! I won't put my name let me know if u will catch me. Hahah!

  13. Colettoo (Yeah, I know it's you) :):)
    My sister, i ghota how far, jare. Sometimes, you just have to hit and run sharp sharp ;)
    Thanks, sis.

  14. Anonymous9:08 pm

    Ola dear, I have to admit that I have been a silent reader of your blog since I discovered it. Keep up the good work.

    FGGC Osha in the house :)

  15. FGGCO in da house ;) ;) ; Thanks, a lot, dear. God makes it all come together so to Him be all the glory.

  16. Chinwe1:01 pm

    Olaedo,you're incredibly good!Keep up the good work.God bless you much!.

  17. Chinwe; Thank you so much :)
    God bless you too!

  18. Still smiling to myself after reading all this. The world may not yet understand how great a mother and role model that you are to my beautiful niece and super cute nephew till they turn into young adults with noble virtues which you've consistently molded into them . I bless you my sister and confidante. Keep up the good work, Ada nne m!

  19. Uju; Thanks a lot, sis. I had a goofy smile on my face reading your comment.
    God bless you too, darling.

  20. Very well written. I enjoyed and learnt too. Your children are well brought up, thumbs up to you and jisike.

  21. Che; Thanks, a lot :) Daalu, nne.

  22. From one mother to another.. There is nothing like knowing you’re children love you.

  23. Inthemidstofher; You knowwwwww :)

  24. Brick's MoMma9:40 am

    Beautiful piece Ola. Very important to 'walk the talk'. We bear the the burden of being proper role models for our lil ones. If we get it wrong, a lot of things go wrong and for a long time tOo.
    I try so hard to get it right....God help me!

  25. Brick's Momma; Such a huge burden too! He knows we can't do it on our own so, He helps, really.
    You know naa ;)

  26. Anonymous3:26 pm

    What a Magic word they really are;"Please and Thank you". They go a long way when used.So proud of Ikem with the angel heart calling Mummy back when showing up differently from what it should be! Nonetheless,am so proud of U,my dear sis......any time,any where! Keep the good work goin! *Thumps up*


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