My mum, the most distinguish Mrs. Josephine Amodu drilled it into our heads that gratitude is one of top ten qualities a decent human being must have. Some of the others are hard work, forgiveness, charity, remorse, love of children, a sense of humor, empathy and the ability to love.
This show of gratitude is something that I practice and hold dear long after Mrs Amodu has passed. It is the platform on which most of us grew. Do not tell my mum that someone was good to you and she turns up with tubers of yam to say thank you or insists that in spite of her failing health, we must accompany her to some far flung place to attend a friend’s daughter’s wedding. She would tell you that the person had been kind to her like ten years ago and although she had given a Christmas gift the year of the incident, she felt that her showing at this wedding was her ultimate show of gratitude. Sometimes it is listening ear to someone in trouble. My mum would remind you that you are a burden bearer on the matter to thank God that you are not in that situation. Her levels of gratitude were varied and interesting. So we visited orphanage homes and took stuff because we had a roof over our heads and we were being thankful by visiting. Her relationship with gratitude was life affirming and it was one of the most admirable qualities of her eventful life. My mum was constantly giving out drugs we purchased for her to use for the private hospital she set up in Lokoja and was to be found in the difficult terrains of Lokoja and the suburbs taking free delivery. Gratitude and charity are pretty much in the same lane but today gratitude is our focus. This art, espoused with great aplomb by my mum and handed over to all her children is lacking in today’s fast paced world where everyone is thanklessly using the other to enhance themselves. Deceit and ingratitude continue to rule. If someone introduces something to you as a trade secret, you do not go there and try to obliterate the person or take out that resource completely so the person who introduced you no longer has access. That is the height of ingratitude. I have seen young men and young women spiral into depression because of unrequited love. No, not the one we see in movies where one person is stalking the other but genuine inseparable love and one party dumps the other cruelly. Your ingratitude mile is as long as Eko bridge and always there is the law of karma. Deceit does not take you very far. If you cannot do long haul, tell the guy or lady. Don’t lead them on, eat their food, take their money and run off with another after pretending you were in love with the other person. Don’t be an oaf and not be immediately grateful for small things and big. A friend comes to pick you at the airport, you take it for granted, he is my paddy now. No, that’s not his job and he could have said no. Someone travels for miles to attend your wedding, you do not have the decency to send mass texts and call everyone personally to express your gratitude. They could have been maimed, attacked or even died while making their way. Be grateful for the cup of water your daughter gave you, the handkerchief a sister gave you, the babysitting your Aunty did for you, the daily scrubbing by your house girl, the sacrifices of your driver, the shoulder of a dear friend and the love of your family and friends. Say thank you to your wife for her love and generous spirit, thank your husband for his steadfastness and good leadership. Never miss an opportunity to say Thank you. Sometimes it may be the only opportunity you will ever have.
People are embarrassed when I thank them for innocuous thing but it is the best way to keep friendships and oil communities. No matter how small a deed, ‘thank you’ always warms the giver’s heart and often opens new doors for special blessings from God and our fellow men.
Unfortunately, it would seem millennials do not understand the gift of gratitude for in saying thank you to another you give yourself a heartwarming gift of the joy on that person’s face and his thankfulness in return. That you remembered him for his good deeds maybe just the thing he needs to pull him through another day. It is joy-giving and life-fulfilling both for you and the giver.
The art of gratitude is the gift my mother gave me and I am incredibly thankful for it. Let us all try to bequeath it to our children. The result? A better more wholesome world.