Author Topic: i just wish we could take a clue from this  (Read 29 times)

sunny mornin

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i just wish we could take a clue from this
« on: November 10, 2017, 09:38:48 AM »
 I whined about the fact that we didn't have a satellite dish. It was the vogue at the time, to have one of those ultra large dishes, planted in your compound." At my impressionable age, I wanted my house to be the house where all my friends came over to watch BET and MTV. I wanted to be cool. I wanted to be known as the in-guy. To be one with the joneses. So I went up to my father and told him that I wanted him to buy us a satellite dish.
He looked up from the Guardian newspaper he was reading. "Why?" "I want to watch foreign channels."
"What programs specifically?" "106 and Park on BET for one and nearly everything they show on MTV."
I nodded "You know those dishes are expensive?" "Yes they are, but you can afford it." "How do you know?" "I just know."
He smiled and closed his newspaper. "Well, I can't afford it." I was ready to fight for what I wanted. "Why?" "Because I have other things to do with my money." "Like?" "Is this an interrogation?" "No, I just want to know why you can't buy it." "Okay, I have your school fees to pay." "People who buy it also have school fees to pay." "Like who?" I mentioned the name of the father of a friend of mine who lived in the neighbourhood.
My father's smile grew wider. "What does he do?" "He is an accountant in the Ministry of Finance." "What grade level?" "I don't know." "Do you see the size of the house they live in? The expensive cars he drives? The number of times he takes his children abroad for holidays? The parties they throw? Even the size of the satellite dish you so much envy?" I nodded.
"How does a civil servant afford all that?" "Daddy, I don't know. All I want is for us to have a satellite dish like they have so that my friends can also come here to hang out too." "You don't trust that you are interesting enough for them to come hang out with?" "It's not about me, it's about the shows they can watch, the music they can listen to." "And when that no longer interests them, what would you do to have them come hang out with you?"
I got tongue-tied. "Tell me, what will you do?" He insisted. "I guess I would think up something then." "Jude, the cost of friendship is not a bribe. People should like you because they genuinely want to be with you. Do not build your friendships on the material things you can give to people because people would always ask for more. And because you want to keep the friendship, you will push your boundaries until you do the unthinkable. You cannot be a hostage to the need to be liked."
He went quiet, expecting me to say something.
I did not.
He continued.
"There will come a time, when this satellite dish, you are clamouring for will be a dime a dozen. Everyone will have it. And the friends you got because you had it, will either be gone to another person who has what they want or will still be your friend because you have sacrificed something else to be able to give them what they want."
"But daddy what am I sacrificing now for you to buy a dish?"
"Your school fees."
"My school fees?"
"Yes. I am not like the father of your friend. What I have is what I earned. Everything I do, I do on a budget. If I buy you the dish, something else has to go unpaid."
"But there are other things we could do without."
I opened my mouth to speak but couldn't really think of an example of what we could do without.
So I bit my tongue.
"You are the one who wants the dish not me, or your mother or your brothers or sisters. So you should be willing to pay the price for it."
I stared at him.
"Your school fees or the satellite dish?"
I was still silent.
In fact, I was angry.
He continued.
"The education you get now will be the money you will use to buy a thousand satellite dishes in future. But the satellite dish I would buy now will be an old model appliance in the future, and even you would not want to be associated with it then. So why sacrifice so dearly for something that will be laughable in future?"
He saw how crestfallen I had become.
And his voice grew warmer.
"Jude, you should instead think of what will make you indispensable to people. Something about you that they can't do without. Something so interesting and engaging that they won't go watch your BET and MTV at your friend's house if you are not there."
My brow creased.
"You are the product people should want Jude, not the clothes you wear, the house you live in, the car you drive or the satellite television you watch. Because they can buy all those things for themselves, but they can't buy you."
It was sinking in.
"You are irreplaceable. Invest in you. Be the one they want."
Those words re-invented me.
And in due course, my friend would call me and ask...
"Hey Jude, when are you coming over? 106 and Park is about to start."
My friends couldn't watch those programmes again without me because I had become a living encyclopedia of music and entertainment.
The go-to guy.
I invested in me.
They are still my friends up to this day.
And they all now have DSTV decoders instead of Satellite dishes.
But they still have me...
I had a father.


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