There’s a funny thing we do in Nigeria (of course I don’t mean every Nigerian), we like to say “the reason why”. We’re an emphatic people, full of colour, vibrancy and cannot imagine just using one word where we can use two or three. After all are we not the people who like to repeat everything? Folllow-follow being the child who likes to go out with anyone leaving the house, Sleep-sleep obviously that person who likes to sleep.
Another interesting thing we like to do is avoid asking questions especially the most important question of all- WHY. Why do we do the things we do, when we do and how we do? Why do we follow certain paths? Why is water wet? Why do we laugh at the man who asks why? Why is our country this underdeveloped with all our resources? Why can’t we elect leaders who have an atom of sense? Why is Adaeze writing this post?
As a person who was bred in Nigeria, I understand our apathy to questioning anything, to asking why. We’d been brought up to believe that parents and adults should not be questioned. Is it any wonder that our politicians can perform incredibly daring stunts of corruption and get away with it, of course not? They know that unless someone has a personal vendetta against them (as we have seen in all the corruption cases in this country) they can get away with anything.
Yesterday my friend Hero sent me a funny list on WhatsApp, it’s a list of reasons children used to be flogged. Whoever composed it was of the opinion that children these days have it good because they could get away with myriad of offenses that were formerly punishable by flogging. It almost broke my heart to see some of the reasons children were flogged, the most notable one was “spending too much time without being beaten”.
How can a child who was raised under an atmosphere of hostility cloaked as “respectfulness” ever hope to be a well-adjusted adult? We beat curiosity out of our children and wonder why we do not have home grown scientific exploits (our power situation isn’t helping matters either). Before I digress and launch into another topic (I probably have to write about child abuse cloaked as African parenting soon, seeing as I feel very strongly about the matter), we should encourage children to ask questions, to get to know more about the world they live in.
There are many things in the world that have changed because someone asked why. Someone asked why she had to sit at the back of a bus when she was tired and she ended up sparking the civil rights movement in one of the biggest countries in the world, someone asked why we could only collect our money during banking hours and that led to the invention of the ATM. I actually think every invention made by man was in answer to a why or why not.
Even in religion we shouldn’t forget to ask why. It’s funny that we think that religion requires us to follow like sheep, faith doesn’t mean stupidity. The religious books have so many answers if we’re willing to search. We should search by ourselves and know these truths for ourselves because anyone can come and slant a part of scripture to suit his purposes, or quote a bible verse, I think it’s necessary to know what prompted a bible verse laden with promised blessings and favour before we start claiming promises, knowing what also comes after the promises (terms and conditions) would be nice too.
Asking why could save a person from unpleasant situations down the road, isn’t it better to be laughed at/ridiculed for asking why than keeping quiet and going down the wrong road? I’m not saying over analyse everything but taking time to map out our lives, to know the reasons we tick will be the difference between the person who moves ahead and the one who’s confused by his slow progress.
This post was inspired by this post by Stephanie Obi, she talks about the whys with such eloquence. Another inspiration for this post was an eleven year old Afghan boy Wazil Akman who was killed by the Taliban while he was shopping for his mum and siblings. His profile made me shudder, he’d been through so much in his young life, he was a staunch enemy of the Taliban and even mobilised forces against them. Why can’t we have relative peace peace in the middle east? Why in this world would anyone forment wars that make eleven year olds experts in chemical weaponry, Ak 47s and high frequency radios? Why? Why? Why?