For everyone growing up, we all got to hear the Kwaku Ananse story. If there were two attributes of Kwaku Ananse we cannot forget, the wit and laziness. Kwaku Ananse will never do any proper work. He will always look for shortcuts to get what he wants. Often, Ananse will feed on the fruits of hard work of his poor and often vulnerable friends or neighbors. These stories didn’t really make sense to us; after all, growing up was all about games and fun; nobody really cared. But then growing up, we begin to realize that the stories made sense; the mere fact that Ananse always hid for shame demonstrated that shortcuts, tricks and mischief would do us no good. However, it is becoming worrying that we are not so interested in working hard these days but want to enjoy the excesses of life. Why? Thats a question we must ask ourselves on the individual level as well as national level.
Are we the youth getting lazy?
Many years ago, a minister asked his congregants in an anointing service, ‘have you heard of the saying that God helps those who helps themselves?’. The answer came in unison, with little hesitation. ‘Yes!’. An ‘alleluia’ and ‘amen’ followed and then came the big surprise,’ this is a statement that was made by one atheist’. What a fallacy! This man of God who should be encouraging people to do their work with joy and happiness is telling people that because a so-called atheist has made a statement about God helping those who helps themselves, the statement is flawed. But that is our problem these days. Anywhere you go, you will find the posters, billboard, television advertisements and radio jingles entreating people to come for a time of fast and miracles. Why must we spend so many days fasting and praying for food, water and shelter when we are not ready to go out there and work hard? The statement will always remain true; ‘God helps those who help themselves’. Bread and butter does not fall from the sky… It is worked for.
The quicker money comes, the same way it goes
People’s love for money is the physical manifestation of our long, lost virtues, especially hard work. Everyone is trying to sign up someone for something; mostly illegitimate; People are interested in money and will spend it irrespective of whichever means used to obtain it. And then social media has come to complicate the whole thing. People spending all their time on social media or spending more time on social media and mostly doing nothing. No wonder we keep learning theories and propositions laid down by people who have long lived, and since died and have now become part of the earth.
Work and happiness, Do you still remember that?
If my memory serves me right, our history has told us of great men and women whom toiled out of their sweat and blood to make this country what it has become. There was the motto, “Work and happiness”. Everyone did their best and the country progressed. If we really claim to respect their hard work, we must not tarnish the image of the country with otherwise values. Just consider the men and women who worked to get freedom for the country, if they were to be thinking about their personal needs only they probably would not have spent their lives fighting a fight of freedom since most of them had more freedom than the average person. I think the whole thing of work boils down to our values. Its good to want results in a quick way but we must know that most quick ways to gaining money are wrong ways of making money.
There are concessions that can be made of course; that there is unemployment, that many people are working hard on the streets and not finding much meaning in life, et cetera. These are called challenges; not barriers. Hard work does not exist alone; it exists within a broader framework of values, skills and talents. These are topics for another day. But no matter the situation, no matter the state of life, no matter how long it takes; you’ll crack the nut; your sweat is an investment, your frustration the mortar of a solid foundation;