Warning: please read to the end.
When I moved to UK one of my first discoveries was the zeal of fellow Nigerian’s to ditch principles from home in favour of western ones. I found this a bit unsettling don’t get me wrong I am all for change and improvements, but I also believe tried and tested old methods have their place. Most Nigerians in a haste to prove their new-found lifestyles as “Janded boys and girls” (referring to Nigerians who live abroad) end-up flaunting frivolousness and indecency as the general lifestyle of everyone in the western world. Through the course of time I have discovered how erroneous that image is, not every westerner at least in UK lives like that.It is true that the western culture is more liberal on so many fronts, however, a lot of people still go about their lives decently clothed. What?! Yes, not everyone wears crop tops and skirts/shorts that seem more like scarf’s in public neither do they go clubbing and drinking every other day. And NO they don’t all have sex with random strangers just for fun, or look like fashionistas every single minute of the day neither they do all curse and swear at their parents just because.
This rapidness to discard old principles in favour of the new cuts across life generally. So often we come across a new enlightenment or new level of understanding and our default setting is to rapidly shake off the old like we would rusty shackles that held us down.
We get excited ready to laud this new idea over everyone we perceive to dwell in the realm of the old. Thus, a power tussle ensues with defenders of the old screaming heresy and proponents of the new howling salvation. I find myself worried about the nascent fellow on the street desirous to embrace life without all the scuffles. Is there no middle ground?
The old school defenders shout for fear of the unknown, fear of losing their comfort zones and sometimes arrogance at having some upstart challenge ingrained beliefs. On the other hand, the proponents of salvation come saddled with frustration at being tied to the old, frustration of having a dark cloud thrown over their light and yes sometimes arrogance stemming from lofty heights of revelations. Regardless of which side of the divide, they stand on, both parties have a common desire to guide the less
enlightened. A common ground that demands we follow principles and not opinions. Principles can be updated, re-evaluated and are transferable. One principle does not negate the other, but it might show you its limitations.
I am no physics whiz-kid so pardon me if I jumble this a bit, in physics, the equivalence principle which deals with gravity is by no means negated by the principles of aerodynamics. In reality the first principle probably spurred on the inception of the second. Transfer this to everyday life,
principles from the past or from different parts of the world should serve as starting points for improvements, advocates of the past should not be seen as backward neither should new-age folks be considered as heretics. Both should co-exist as it opens up space and prevents anyone pleading ignorance. There’s a foundation there’s a skyline, a principle for the beginner and for the higher achiever.
And so to all my ‘janded brothers and sisters’ including those who speak with a British accent after visiting Ghana or those who have the accent but forget the words don’t be so quick to adopt a life you don’t fully understand. Don’t be quick to dump the baby and bath water that shaped you. And to those who have seen the light and experienced the divine be gentle with those who haven’t, an accommodating spirit I believe is a mark of true wisdom. Finally, to keepers of the old don’t let prejudice rob you of greater opportunities. To everyone adopt Maya Angelou words “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”