THE DIALOGUE: Father and Son (Part 2) By Abai Francis

updated 18 May, 2024

It has been almost a decade since Timadi graduated from school. The state of the economy in the country seems to dash all of his anticipated expectations of being a graduate. There are days he wondered if what his father had told him were the stark reality or they were some gimmick he had pulled to motivate him to attend school. He had heard his father recounted to him on several occasions the honour and pecks that come with the status of being a graduate during his (father's) time as a youth as one of such tales keeps echoing in his ears:

"My son, I was drowning in regret and felt bad that I was not privilege to go to school in my days. Graduates in my time were like demi-gods; people worship them and look up to them for acquiring the white man's knowledge to do wonders. That's one reason I promised myself that my son must be a graduate. Imagine the pride of being the father of a graduate!" his father had stressed.

But after years of studying hard, he had graduated to confront a different world that was the opposite of his father's overtures. In fact, it was to say the least, disappointing to him.

And so, on one of his visits on weekend to the village from the city, he had decided to confront his father with the issue and to seek his wise counsel. Yes, his father has always been his mentor and counselor.

TIMADI: Dada, Koide

DADA: Serimo eni turbor. Dó

TIMADI: Dada you're looking so fresh and younger than your age. Eyin must be doing a superb work taking good care of you.

DADA: [Smiling] Yes my son. And that's why we pray that our sons of nowadays should be careful in choosing their lifetime partner. When you marry the right woman you get to live much longer. [They both laughed]

TIMADI: Well, it's hard these days finding someone like Eyin as a wife. I must confess that in your days you people are really lucky in so many ways. This so-called modern civilised era we claim we are living in has brought a lot of challenges. And talking about challenges, I have to discuss one of such with you Dada.

DADA: What is it eni turbor?

TIMADI: You once told me the importance of education. Even when I was about giving up on education to join militancy as a solution to our challenges, you reminded me that education is a strong institution that has the solid answers to our challenges. But Dada, I am beginning to have doubts again because the advantages of being educated in your time has no place in this present era. For instance nobody respects you any more as a graduate. There is no job for you. I have even seen situations where those who do not attend school are more richer than the acclaimed graduates, even creating jobs for them. It is so frustrating. What makes it worse is that the government is not doing anything about solving the unemployment issue! 

DADA: Hmmm my son, I can understand your pains. But I don't expect you to be reasoning that way as a graduate. Moreover you're drifting away from how we raised you. Well, I don't expect you to understand everything but nonetheless I expected you to look deeper, as there are some lessons that the four walls of a classroom cannot impart on you.

TIMADI: Dada I am at a loss at where you're driving at.

DADA: Yes, I did tell you that graduates in our days were like princes and princesses. When a commodity is scarce in the market, it has value. But when such commodities become abundant, there is the tendency that its value would drop. Please don't misinterpret me. I'm not saying education has lost its value. Rather I'm referring to the competition that too many graduates have brought to the economic market. And that in itself has birthed a new change. And I expect you to develop a broad vision rather than focusing on your shallow thoughts.

TIMADI: I'm sorry Dada, you need to stop speaking in riddles and come out plain.

DADA: Okay. Why did you go to school? Is it because I pleaded with you to, or there was a conviction?

TIMADI: I was hoping to utilise my knowledge to bring a turnaround to our challenges.

DADA: Good! So are you doing that now?

TIMADI: Dada, how can I when I don't have a good job? Where you manage to find a job, the salary is nothing to write home about! Can I bring that change if I'm not empowered with the needed resources?

DADA: Eni turbor, it seems to me your priority is more focused on money than what you carry inside of you. And that, to me, is a big distraction to the reality of what you can truly achieve. Yes, money is a tool that can influence other resources toward solving problems, but what most people fail to realise is that it is not truly money that solves problem, it is the ingenuity in you. Do you know inside of you lie uncountable riches and wealth? The problem for many people is how to reach deep down inside of them to harness those riches and wealth. Your ideas are the seeds you need to sow to harvest fruits of productivity, including money!

TIMADI: [Nodding his head] I see...

DADA: In my time there were few graduates but more opportunities, and so graduates were privileged. Unfortunately, as the economy was growing, our leaders failed to plan for the growth as corruption invaded the system. It is like giving birth to a child but refusing to cater for that child. But that child can decide whether he/she can survive or not. That is the consequence, which unfortunately has eaten away the opportunities of our time. So what do you do in this case?

TIMADI: Now, that is a good question Dada. How I wish I know.

DADA: Create opportunities, don't wait for opportunities to come! That is what you should do. And to do that, you need to take away your focus from the short term reward of money or riches, and focus on the long term reward of wealth creation by digging deep into your talent chest, tapping into your natural gifts, developing and utilising them for the good of yourself and the society at large. Moreover, there is this philosophy that challenges birth opportunities. Education is not meant to make you a liability but an asset. Education should make you to think of solutions, not complain where there are challenges. Sadly, we now have lazy graduates who fail to trigger their thinking faculties.

TIMADI: (Smiling) O Dada! You're such a genius despite not being a graduate. I wonder why you feel less qualified as a non-graduate.

DADA: My son, one advantage of education is that it open doors that we, non-graduates, cannot enter. But that does not stop us from contributing our part. So, my son, it us true that before you lay challenges that look insurmountable, but I assure you that behind those challenges lay a well of wealth. But first, you need to face your fears and overcome them. Not having money is not an excuse. Majority of those who command wealth today were ones poor people. But with vision, they saw what others failed to see in the midst of challenges. You too can also be a winner.

Image Source: Fine Art America

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