Good to see you here again. I hope all is well with you
In continuing my ramblings on 'Chasing Success', I will be touching on my third L.L.S.F (Lessons Learnt So Far)
As usual, I will start with a preamble:
When Abby graduated in 1991, her priority was to make sure her younger siblings were well provided for. Her parents were both pensioners and this was the time - in Nigeria - when pensions were often not paid and pensioners really struggled to survive, talk less of taking care of their families.
As soon as she arrived in the UK, she contacted friends to make sure she got a job asap. Through her friends, she got a job as a carer (someone who goes into people’s homes to take care of their needs). Her job involved going into old people’s homes and help them with things they found difficult to do i.e. shopping, paying bills and laundry.
Abby did this job – with two employers - for three years; and was able to send enough money home to ensure her two younger ones could complete their university education. However, this was done at great sacrifice as Abby’s social life was nonexistent. Her living arrangements were also very basic as she chose to rent a room only so she could keep her living costs to a basic minimum. All through this period, whenever Abby called home, there was always one demand or another........... Abby did her best to make sure her family did not lack.
In her fourth year in London, Abby met a special person and they got married the following year in a small ceremony with a few friends. As they began to build a home together, Abby started to question her future as a carer – especially as she felt she was not achieving her full potential. Both her siblings had now graduated and she felt it was time to focus on her future. With the support of her husband, Abby decided to change to a part time job position (meaning a significant drop in income) and return to university - to retrain as a social worker.
When Abby told her siblings and parents about her new position – and that she wouldn’t be able to send money home regularly; she was surprised that her family was very cold. She expected them to warm up to the idea but this didnt happen. It seemed the ‘golden goose’ had stopped laying golden eggs. Saddened, she reminded her younger sister that she had done so much for the family and it was time to focus on herself – to consolidate her own future. Her sister’s reply:
‘Wetin you don do, wey somebody never do before?’ (What have you done that hasn’t been done before)
Broken hearted, she told her mother she was disappointed by her siblings’ behaviour......Her mother’s response: ‘Abeg no vex, you know first born be like dustbin !!!’ (Please don’t be offended, you must know that the first born child is like a bin – always on the receiving end)!!!
I use this story to illustrate my 3rd L.L.S.F : ‘Real Friends and True Family members should NEVER resent your success – Recognise Your Millstone’
(Millstone = One of a pair of cylindrical stones used in a mill for grinding grain - Also refers to A heavy weight or burden)
Dont get me wrong, we are all competitive. However, true friends and real family members should NEVER weigh someone down.
In most African cultures, we are brought up to put family first – always. However, over time, I have come to realise that some friends and family members can be ‘millstones’ that can drag you down.
I have to be honest when I say some friends and family members can resent progress and change. That is when we hear comments like:
- ‘You are not the boy/ girl I used to know’ OR ‘You’ve really changed’
My opinion: How can people expect someone to remain the same forever?
- ‘You think you are better than us now because you are now .........’
My opinion: More often than not, the person asking the question is the one that is feeling inferior
- ‘Are you ashamed of us?’
My opinion: Except the person who is being asked this question has been behaving like a snob, the person asking the question is likely to be trying to make the successful person feel guilty.
So, as harsh as it might sound – If one wants to achieve one’s dreams; one has to be conscious of those millstones in one’s life.
There is a pidgin saying that goes: 'Twenty pickin no fit play together for twenty years' (Twenty children cannot remain friends for twenty years)..........................Too true. One must recognise one's millstones and decide what to do with them.
May God grant us the wisdom to surround ourselves with people who are good for us. Amen.
Stay blessed, I'll be back on the 26th November.