I wouldn't say that I was too young when my dad died. If I say so, what would be said by my kid brother and kid sister who I am six and four years older than respectively?
I was in my late teens when it happened. Africans (read this as my family in particular) have a way of seeing teenagers and as kids who are too young to have banters or philosophize with adults. Your opinion at family meetings would likely be pooed on with subtle boes descending as laughter from the lips of elders. They'd presume that you're too young not to be foolish.
Funnily enough, I never saw myself as being too young then. It should interest you to know that it's about a decade since since my dad's departure from the earthly realm, but most of the mantra I hold true today, I learned it while he was here. In some cases, my lifestyle then act as my model now. When my virtues doesn't align with the man I thought then that I'd become, I simply know that I have drifted from my blueprint.
Are teenagers really young, wild and foolish?
I leave that for you to answer.
Prior to my dad's demise I can't vividly remember us speaking in a man-to-man tone. My inability to remember is certainly not due to amnesia, as I can still remember almost if not everything that transpired within that timeframe. That I can't remember suggests that we never had such moment. That would imply that I and Dad never discussed about life, career, marriage and other deep things of life.
Nevertheless, I learned life from him. I knew how to live by simply watching him do. Most of the mantras I hold true today was gleaned from his farm of wisdom. He was quite a wise man, one who can be easily taken for an astute thinker. Memories of how strange faces who came and sought for his counsel disturbed my heavenly morning sleep during school holidays is still dancing in my head.
I would like to believe that I took being thinker after my dad, though my own thinking is on a whole new level. Boy can think. He is in love with self reflection and meditations. If you see his mouth moving when no one is around, just don't worry about him. He is fine. Chances are he is chewing on thoughts, a food he has come to cherish even more than the famous Ibibio delicacy; "afia efede ebod*.
Talking of Dad's mantras, there is one that is still fresh like today's bread in memory.
"Never marry out of pity".
I heard him making that statement while counseling his colleague who had a no little scuffle with a lady he dated for about a decade. Despite the turmoil that arose between them, he wanted to go ahead with marriage out of guilt.
He wanted to do that simply because they were together for a long, and the lady was of massive help to him. He was also scared of how he would viewed by people.
Well; my dad never asked him not to marry the lady, he couldn't have possibly said that anyways, considering the fact that he was a good friend to both the man and the said lady.
He however put sentiments aside and counselled that such decision shouldn't be made solely on the premise of pity.
The man heeded to my dad's counsel. The long but turbulent relationship ended. The ship ceased from sailing to the isle of matrimony, where they would have played to a cheering crowd by reciting a sacred creed against their heart desires.
My dad, the advisor is not alive today, but the man is not only alive but hearty. He is happily married to another lady, and he's doing quite well. The lady he ended the relationship with is also happily married to another man.
I don't want to imagine what would've become of them, had they forged ahead despite many clear bad signals.
It's noble that you compensate those who were there for you and with you, but trust me, marriage is not the best way to do that.
Marriage is a no compensation scheme.
There are girls I will never think of marrying, not because they are bad people, but due to fact that I think we are not compatible in so many ways.
That I can't marry them doesn't in anyway imply that I'm not appreciative of the blessing they were to me (that is if there was anything like that). If I have the opportunity to repay their kindness, I will gladly do so.
Waking up to the same face everyday is no child's play. Some of us who couldn't wait to get out of our family house to experience the other side of life, would be obligated to stay put with a person. That is no small feat for some us to attain.
For marriage to work, I believe that there must be a strong cord binding the couples to together. Pity is a cord that will melt away in a little time. It is not strong enough to withstand the heat that tries couples.
The bond of marriage must be strong enough to make the bondage worth the while.
That you were of help to that man does not mean that he has to marry you.
That you invested so much on that lady shouldn't be a reason you force marriage on her.
Do not help because you are expecting anything in return but simply help because you have the ability to to do.
The compensation for helping someone, should be the satisfaction you get for being able to put a smile on someone's face.
To me, knowing that someone was bettered by my help, do give me such a heavenly feeling. I don't know about you.