Thursday, 7 January 2016

WHEN AN ADAGE SPEAKS HEALTH AND PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING



I have been analysing the wisdom of putting up this article as it's not specifically concerned with health. Alas, wisdom won... I found a little window connecting the article to health and psychological well-being.
That fateful morning I came downstairs to help my sister with the preparations for breakfast.
"Daddy wants to have a talk with us after breakfast" she said. I looked at her with raised eyebrows and a question in my eyes.
"What's with the scheduled discussion?" I wondered and asked aloud. I mean in my home we always talk. My old man likes to know what's happening in each person's sphere as well as our thoughts on various issues and in the course of such conversations he drops nuggets of wisdom and life counsels.
He was sitted at the makeshift dining in conversation with my brothers so I turned to him and said. "Papa dearie, I heard you want to have a talk with us"  my eyes alight with mischief. He looked at me and laughed. It was a case of cunny man die, cunny man bury am. He knew I was loving up because as usual I was bursting with curiosity and impatience.
"Young lady, the operative word is breakfast. The sooner the worms in my stomach are laid to rest..." "Daddy dearest..." I tried once again but my sister gave me the eye and I gave up.
As soon as breakfast was over and the dishes cleared he called us together.
"A few Sundays ago, I and your mother together with some members of the CMO and CWO were engaged in conversation after mass. We were bemoaning the increased spate of marital separation and divorce amongst the young ones. In the course of our discussion, I pointed out that we as parents were  major contributors to the break down of our children's marriages. They looked at me with disbelief and I went on to clarify them" He said.
At this point his phone beeped, it was an incoming message. I guess he knew our attention had been engaged so he took his time reading the text after which he turned in the direction of my sister and I.
"Young ladies" he continued "There's a popular Igbo dictum which maintains 'Adighi ebu obi a ga ije di' "
Forgive me at this juncture but I looked on in confusion. That doesn't mean my mother's bride price was wasted after all the knowledge I have about the obi includes the pertinent fact that it doesn't move from a family so which woman would be foolish enough to carry it to her husband's home? I wondered.
"Daddy moving an obi is a taboo" my sister said.
"My daughter, the obi represents many things but in this context it stands for the comfort of a father's home. There are times I sit back and watch you offer refreshment to your friends when they come around. You have a lot of things available to you and there's always an array of food and drinks to choose from. I am a man so I will tell you, a lot of men will quietly come in, watch you and ask themselves if they can maintain the lifestyle you seem accustomed to. Some would leave and may never return" He said.
"Twenty seven years ago" he continued " I couldn't offer your mother this life. In fact, there were places I wouldn't dare to enter and drinks I couldn't afford because I had responsibilities and little funds. I am eternally grateful to God who has been my stronghold and has lifted me from below ground zero to this point. I am also grateful to your mother who stood by me through it all and was willing to help me build. A lot of you young people are too impatient. Nobody wants to build anything anymore".
"The truth of the matter is that your father can give you a lot of things your husband may not be able to offer. Not because your husband doesn't love you...No. But because the young man is striving to provide, build up himself and attain a level which your father has already achieved and likely surpassed" he said.
"While discussing with the CMO and CWO members, I told them that we as parents needed to go back and tell our daughters the stories of our rise through life. Most of us didn't have it easy as we started out but we have achieved a lot today. We shouldn't let our daughters think we have always had it this rosy. If we don't tell them they ll keep running in only to run out of their marriages" my father continued.
Haaa... I didn't expect the talk to go this way ooo. I looked at the faces of my siblings and they looked reflective. Me, I kukuma started to reflect too.
At my father's next statement, I felt weak.
"You see those bottles of wine you keep drinking like it's coke, my prayer is that all of you will surpass any height I have attained and beyond but...the reality is that you may/may not have the luxury of opening such bottles of wine as you please in the first few years of marriage that doesn't mean you would not eventually get back to that stage. Wisdom is the principle thing, you must be able to separate your needs from your wants and prioritize"
At this point, the kettle of water started hissing and my sister excused herself to turn it off. When she returned, daddy continued. This time, he turned in the direction of my brothers and they adjusted themselves in their seats.
"The first cardinal rule in my home is...You never raise a hand against a woman. As I don't expect my daughters to ever be beaten in their husband's homes so also do I not expect another man's daughter to ever be beaten in my home. Men who have used violence in their homes have never achieved much. Do you understand me?"
"Yes daddy" they responded.
"In twenty seven years you have never seen me strike your mother so also will you never strike your wives in my family. That includes whether I am alive or dead do you understand? " Yes sir" they replied once again.
"A word is enough for the wise. So who is travelling to the village with me?" He asked.
That was how I gathered myself with my thoughts and went upstairs to ruminate over my old man's words.
At the end, while acknowledging that this site is dedicated to health, I deceided to writeup my father's words and share as another Igbo adage says "Ebe ano adu onye nwere nna odu ka onye n'enweghi na amuta" which means"It is when a child whose father is alive is being advised and reproved that the fatherless child also receives his own.
Hmmm...Did someone just ask about the health benefit of the article? Of course, if read with understanding, the article goes a long way to mitigate the stress and strain of marital friction thereby preventing depression, increased adrenaline discharge(all for nothing) with attendant improved psychological well-being and health generally. So voilĂ ...Till the next article dearies.
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